Finally the tomato plants are ready to be planted out into the Potager.
We ‘hardened them off‘ which means exposing them to natural light gradually. (Till now they have been raised under lights.) The first day they were kept in a shady area, then we exposed them to morning sun for two days, while protecting them from the hottest part of the day. Finally they are left in full sun and watched carefully. Not a leaf wilted, so we knew these babies were ready to go.
Habitually,we would pot the plants up; that is, put the seed starting cells, as seen in photos, into a larger pot with rich compost. There was just no time this year.
We had prepared the soil beforehand with copious quantities of compost and rabbit manure.
My husband digs a hole in this rich mix. He removes the lower leaves of the plant with a pinch, and fills the soil around the stem up to the top leaves.
The plant will grow roots all along the stem and make it stronger (DO NOT DO THIS WITH OTHER PLANTS)
He inserts a toothpick on both side of the stem. This prevents the dreaded cutworm from wrapping itself around the stem and cutting the plant down at soil level.
When the soil is firmed around the plant, I like to create a small well or indentation around the root-ball to direct the water.
Finally the plants are MUDDIED-IN, the best description I know for deep and long watering, Then we place the cages around the plants….
We will mulch tomorrow; that is place a 2″ layer of shredded leaves on the exposed soil. These will retain the moisture in the soil and prevent annual weeds from germinating, I hope. We used to do it all in one day…. but we used to be younger.
Great description of how to plant. I will be planting tomorrow so it was so timely. Which varieties of tomato did you plant?
Happy planting! Most of the tomatoes are heirlooms, just 4 hybrids. Our first time with Big Boy. the rest are’ Arkansas Traveler’,’Brandywine’.’ Mortgage Lifter’, Eva’s Purple Ball…….
Thanks for the in-depth instructions! :o)
We used to do it all in one day…. but we used to be younger. Oh, how my hubby and I are having to learn and remember this, too. ;o)
It is such an adjustment!
My daughter gave up on her puny little plants from seed and bought some plants and planted them in one of those upside down contraptions. The puny little plants are still around. Maybe I can give her a push to go ahead and plant as you described. Our soil is not too good and we don’t hold much hope for what’s in it already even though it was “prepared”. (you should see the “corn”). Oy vey
BTW this post is wonderful . Thank you!
Absolutely put them into the ground.. they won’t be puny for long, I promise.
Looking good. Things were going so well here, seeds germinated, seedlings grew, transplants repotted, everybody moved out when it got too hot inside. Plants are huge, blooms abundant, fruit set. Then my bubble burst. All the quarter-sized tomatoes in containers got Blossom End Rot. I think I let them get too dry at some point. We bravely soldier on.
It can be so disappointing when something goes wrong. Blossom end rot is not the end of the world, you can still get a nice harvest. I like to add some TUMS to the soil for calcium, Alternately I grind up my saved eggshells and add them to the soil.
Good luck Nell.
I hope you get some good ones! Mine were complete failures last year. I’m traumatized.
Pull it together & give it another try. I promise its worth it.
such an exciting time of year to be gardening- no? I didn’t know you could plant tomato’s up to their leaves like that -ingenius! I’ll have to keep that in mind.
There is a huge community garden across the street from my new place and I’m hoping to get a small section for myself for next year. Most of the plots are an interesting mix of flowers for cutting (tons of Iris right now) as well as lettuces and other salad fixings. I think thats about how I would do it too!
Stefan, I promise growing your own Veg. will be so rewarding and you won’t believe the difference in taste.. Why wait till fall??? This is a perfect time to get started.
Dying to hear about the new place.