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Our Vegetable Patch: Growing Tomatoes

by | Apr 25, 2019

 

Our bush peas and beets are going strong! We have added squash to the garden now that it is warming up.

Dwarf tomatoes transplants in 2" soil blocks.

One of the dwarf tomato varieties we are trialing this year. The word is they are going to be prolific producers– fingers crossed!

We have corn, beans, squash, beets and peas all planted and going strong in the garden. Our tomato ( about 200!!) and cucumber transplants are lined up like soldiers in a marching band just waiting to get their planting orders.

Our vegetable patch is turning out to be a whopper this year. It’s going to be a gang buster garden this season. If you missed my introduction of our vegetable garden project this year, you can read about it here.

I am trialing several new tomatoes this year, including 4 dwarfs for containers. I’m hopeful that we will be adding many of these to our line of seeds for next year. I’ll be sharing our growing experiences with these newbies as the season moves on.

Our favorites tomatoes we grow each year and have come to love are: Brandywine, San Marzano, Cherokee, Black Cherry, Green Zebras, and Copia. Plus, I have also been gifted with Big Beefs and Sungolds– always appreciated. This line up gives us slicers, cherries, and paste types so all bases covered. Any tomatoes we don’t eat fresh, we can or freeze. Over the years I have learned how to make paste, sauces, puree, and also process  whole tomatoes. Such good eating! Be sure to listen to the podcast with Ira Wallace, me, and Charlotte from Mother Earth News discussing:  Garden Planning for Food Preservation  .

 We have started over 20 varieties of tomatoes this year! The waiting line to be planted in the garden.

Over 200 tomato transplants for the first planting! The waiting line to be planted.

Time to plant: My The goal is to have our first planting ready for an early May planting. We will start our second and sometimes third round of tomato transplants over the next two months for all to be ready to plant by July 15. This is our last tomato planting date for our area. These later plantings will provide an abundance of great late season tomatoes. This is one of those secrets I learned from my vegetable farmer friend Amy.

Look at the roots on those 2" soil blocks!!

2″ soil blocks ready for the garden. A cucumber on the left and tomato on the right.

Starting tomato seeds: I start our tomato seeds in the small ¾” soil block and bump up to the 2” block once the plant is 2-3” tall. This grows the most amazing transplant and root system. I feed transplants weekly once they have sprouted with Neptune’s Harvest organic liquid fertilizer. I mix it according to directions in the watering can I use to water.

Preparing the bed: To prepare the bed for planting, mix dry organic fertilizer according to directions and add 2-4” of compost and or well-rotted manure. Smooth the bed flat and then make a 2 foot depression to plant the transplant into the center. This depression naturally guides water to the plant.

Planting: I like to plant the tomato transplant in the garden when they are 5-8” tall. I remove the leaves from the bottom ⅔ of the stem and plant it up to the bottom of the remaining leaves.  Be sure to support your tomatoes and do it earlier than later.

Supporting the plants: Learn how I support my tomatoes here.

Here’s to a great tomato season this year!

Lisa Z

Founder of The Gardener’s Workshop and Flower Farming School Online . Author of Vegetables Love Flowers, Cool Flowers, and The Easy Cut-Flower Garden  . Connect with Lisa on Facebook  and Instagram !