I have finally decreed it Warm Enough To Plant Tomatoes. (Although, just having typed that, I checked the weather and there’s a frost advisory again tonight. After covering my plants for the last two nights, I’m feeling a bit skeptical, and therefore risk-takey; but then, the one night I don’t cover them will be the night we DO get frost… So. We’ll see what happens. STAY TUNED!)
Anyway, here’s what goes into the tomato hole along with the (somewhat ugh-looking from too much time under fluorescent lights) tomato seedling:
In the bottom of each hole, I put some organic fertilizer (a pretty balanced one, that comes from fish emulsion, fun and gross!), some blood meal (which provides extra nitrogen) and some worm compost. Then in goes the tomato, deeper than it was in its pot:
Tomatoes have little hairs along their stems, and if you plant them deep, those little hairs will grow into roots. Some people also recommend planting tomatoes sort of diagonally, so they’re at an angle in the hole. The part above the ground will straighten up toward the sun, but this creates a longer, stronger root system underground. I did not do this, because I forgot.
I don’t have any, but other things that are good to put in tomato planting holes are eggshells (dried and crunched up, for the calcium); an aspirin, ground up (the salicylic acid is good for the plants and helps prevent blight, supposedly); and a dead fish, although the article I read suggesting this may have just been trolling me. If I were to try to substitute items I DO have around the house, I would be putting in an Aleve and some canned crab, which probably wouldn’t help, so I’ll stick with the items above.
Then I put these little red collars on them:
This makes them look pretty, and gives the ants something to climb on. (Actually, this is again maybe superstition, but red mulches and collars are supposed to be good for tomatoes. I bet if you mulched the tomatoes with whole cooked lobsters, that would satisfy two of the superstitions addressed here! Plus, all your neighbours would know how fancy you are!)
This tomato is a variety called 42 Days, which is supposed to be ready to eat in — you guessed it – 42 days*. I ordered the seed from Heritage Harvest Seed. I’ll check in on June 29th and evaluate whether it’s living up to its name. (Although, now that I say that, I don’t know if it’s supposed to be 42 days from the initial sowing – probably. It couldn’t be 42 days from transplant, since the tomato scientists have no way of knowing at what point it will be transplanted. But I will still give it 6 weeks, because: why not?)
*Also, conveniently, if you ask the question of life, the universe and everything, and that question is “how long will it take for these tomatoes to be ready” the answer can be 42. As you can tell, I had a lot of good reasons for buying these tomato seeds.
Don’t forget the lobster mulch!