We had several local plant sales over the weekend, an excellent time to stock up on tomato plants. Not that I need too many, my favorite cherry tomatoes tend to volunteer in nearby plant pots so all I need to do is look for their tell tale leaves.
This year I decided to treat myself to three other tomato plants; a Better Boy, an all time large tomato favorite; a Brandywine which I have never grown before and an heirloom variety.
I grow my tomatoes in large pots along my retaining wall steps so I can easily manage and maintain them. After filling the planting pots with new potting soil around buried holy plastic bottles so I can water roots, I added crushed up egg shells to the bottom of the planting hole. The dried egg shells will provide the plants with the calcium they need. Half a shell per plant will do nicely.
Each pot was also given a scoop of compost from one of my composters. This compost cooked over winter and turned a lovely dark brown, a sure sign that it is ready to be used. I mixed it up so the compost is spread through the soil. The compost will provide extra nutrients to soil microorganisms that help keep the tomato plants healthy.
Why yes, I do have gardening gloves but it’s hard to take a picture with them on. You will have to believe me that I used the gardening gloves as I made the planting holes, mixed compost and added egg shells.
Finally, a step I forgot to take last year. Add a tomato cage now, when the plants are small and you can easily get the cage over them.
Last year, I waited until late June to cage them and I had to literally wrestle the plants into the metal frames, loosing some branches in the process. It’s much easier to do it now.
As a natural bug deterrent, I added basil plants to each of the tomato pots, two per plant. I will keep them pinched so they bush as they grow, giving me not only fresh basil but repelling bugs.
Now the fun part, watching them grow. I love going out into my garden every morning to see what is growing, blooming and changing. Tomato plants usually grow fast so their changes are interesting to watch.
By the way, honeybees don’t pollinate tomato plants, bumblebees do. Luckily I have seen quite a few in my garden already this spring so the tomato plants will have good company.