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Planting tomatoes


I started planting tomatoes on Sunday the 13th of May, which is right on time for our area but perhaps a month or so late in the wake of the Weird Weather of a non-existent winter, we shall see. Traditionally the city of Buffalo gets their last frost at the end of April; the lake, being so close, acts as a buffer. Read all about it here  on the National Weather Service’s climate information page for Buffalo:

So on Sunday the 13th I planted four cherry tomatoes, two Black Cherry from Johnny’s Seeds and two Italian Ice from Burpee and J&N. (Thanks, chicas!) The Italian Ice are new for me this year; I’m trying to transition to mostly heirloom plants so I can save seed myself, but some hybrids just sound too amazing to pass up. The Black Cherry are also a hybrid that I wasn’t going to plant again this year, but since they were specially requested by mom and one of her friends I caved, and I’m actually really excited to be growing them again, since they were so good last year. I still have some in the freezer, in fact, since I was a little insane and had 8 black cherry plants growing last year; this year I cut waaaay back on my tomatoes and am only growing 5 cherry tomato plants total, 2 black cherry and 3 Italian Ice. Which are still a lot, but that just means I’ll have plenty to share.

Since those four survived, I planted a few more on Monday the 14th and then the rest on Tuesday the 15th. This year I’ll have fifteen total tomato plants, if all goes well, of five varieties – which, yes, is still a lot! Nearly half of what I grew last year, however. The three varieties that aren’t cherry toms are all heirlooms, one of which is new to me this year: Moskvich from Johnny’s Seeds, which is an early tomato. The other two I’m really excited about because I saved the seed from tomatoes I grew last year, Japanese Black Trifele originally from Johnny’s and Brandywine originally from Burpee’s, so these plants have one July drought under their belt already. Each year I save seed from my plants they grow that much more accustomed to the specific climate of my garden, which is only one of the many reasons why I save seed.

Back to the tomatoes, though: for each plant, I started by digging a hole considerably larger than the plant and filling the bottom with a compost/manure mix, a handful of bone meal, and a small pinch of epsom salts for magnesium. This is a new technique for me that I read about in this great Rodale book I have called How to Grow Fruits and Vegetables by the Organic Method, which is a compilation of organic gardening articles published in 1970.

After mixing the amendments together I carefully placed the plant in the hole.

Tomatoes (and peppers, in fact) want to be buried deeper than they were sitting in their pots; their stems will root underground and the plant will ultimately be stronger.

Now, I wait! They’re all staked, although they’ll require more throughout the summer most likely, and I’ve caged the cherries. Although the cages never really work well for me, I feel obligated to use them since I have them. They’ve really enjoyed our unusually high temperatures the last two days so now I’m hoping it rains tonight because then I think they’ll really take off….

And now, they have a new fence as their far background – compare photos!


From → tomato

One Comment
  1. Deborah permalink

    I LOVE the new fence! you may want to think about planting climbing vines along it for more color, flowers and greens. 🙂 Love you! Mom


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