Transplant Often, Transplant Deep

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Tomatoes love to be buried deep. If you want strong healthy tomato plants, plant them as deep as you can and transplant them more than once before they go into the garden.

I start my tomato seeds in March and by mid-April they are ready to “prick out“. I transfer my strongest seedlings, making sure they have at least one set of true leaves, to their first individual pot.

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The roots are transplanted right to the bottom of the pot. Ideally I want just the leaves to appear above the soil level. If their cotyledon leaves will be buried, I snip them off beforehand.

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Doing this assures the best chance for strong root formation and avoids the development of those long lanky plants with a weak stem. In a few weeks I’ll transplant them again into a deeper pot, repeating the process.

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Black From Tula Tomato and Other Yummy Things

The Black From Tula Tomato is a heritage tomato that originated in Tula, Russia. We’re it up to me, I might have given it an easier name to remember.

The fruit can grow as large a 5-6″ in diameter and they darken to a purple-black color as they ripen. Apparently they have a smoky taste, but I’ve yet to try one. I’m giving this tomato a few more days on the vine before I devour it.
Tumbler tomatoes are packed with fabulous flavor. The fruit mature quickly on compact plants well suited to containers. I’ve already taken 4 lbs of tomatoes off of this one plant pictured above.
This is a pumpkin, or so I’ve been told. I have no idea whether it will mature before frost, as I’ve never tried to grow them here before.
I’ve decided to grow cucumbers on a trellis this year in hopes of keeping the bugs off the fruit. So far so good 🙂

Tomato Wars

Mamma Mia Tomatoes

Mamma Mia Tomatoes

This year I am pitting three of my Roma tomato plants against each other in a head-to-head competition.

Having read about the benefits of fish heads for tomato plants, I thought I’d give them a small scale (pardon the pun) trial in my garden. I’m also a big fan of worm castings as fertilizer, so I got my hands on some nice fresh worm poop to use as well.

Here’s what I did:

I dug three equally deep holes and planted three of my Mamma Mia tomatoes which I started from seed. In one hole I put two fresh trout heads, four crushed egg shells, six crushed baby aspirin and a small scoop of bone meal. In the second hole I put about a cup of vermicompost. In the last hole I put a small scoop of standard 10-52-10 fertilizer.

Fish heads, egg shells, bone meal and aspirin

Fish heads, egg shells, bone meal and aspirin

Worm castings

Worm castings

 

Standard fertilizer

Standard fertilizer

Let the games begin! I’ll keep you posted.

Early start to the veggie garden for 2013

image This spring has been very unusual here in my zone 3 yard. During the last week of April we were inundated with snow and cold – ok maybe that’s not terribly unusual for Alberta. But on May 6th we set a new record high of 31C (that’s 88F my American friends). I brought out all of my seedlings to acclimate them and its too darn hot! I have to protect them in the shade for crying out loud. That’s just not normal.

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The forecast says that the risk of frost in the next week is minimal, and Edmonton’s average last day of frost is May 12th, so I should be home free, right? Well, as much as I’d like to believe that I think I’ll wait another week before I transfer my seedlings to soil.

But the weather has been perfect for sowing my vegetable garden. Here’s what’s going in the dirt this week:

  • Corn: Fleet Bi-Color Hybrid
  • Squash: Spaghetti
  • Sunflower: Ruby
  • Zucchini: Raven
  • Spinach: Regal
  • Swiss Chard: Lucullus
  • Peas: Progress #9
  • Lettuce: Esmeralda
  • Lettuce: Buttercrunch
  • Carrots: Touchon
  • Carrots: Scarlet Nantes
  • Beet: Chioggia
  • Bean: TendergreenBush
  • Potatoes: Kennebec
  • Onion Set: White
  • Onion Set: Red

As far as seedlings go I’ve sown:

  • Tomato: Black from Tula
  • Tomato: Tumbler
  • Tomato: Mamma Mia
  • Pepper: Serano del Sol
  • Onion: Spanish Candy Hybrid
  • Cucumber: Spacemaster
  • Eggplant: Hansel
Seedlings in waiting

Seedlings in waiting

I have some winter lettuce that will be ready to eat long before the head lettuces. I think I’ll plant a second type of cucumber as well. My chives, lavender, mint and oregano have all returned and I have ample garlic coming up in more than one place. I’ve got parsley and cilantro seedlings started and I’ve bought some basil, thyme, rosemary and sage bedding plants.

Yippee! It’s spring!

Baked Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

At the end of the growing season I had a large container of cherry tomatoes (thanks to my very productive Tumblers) and decided that I needed to find a new recipe. I had simply been popping them in my mouth every time I opened the fridge door. At that rate I wasn’t going to get them all eaten, so I decided to try baking them and having them as a side dish. Here’s the delicious result.

Recipe:

Cherry tomatoes

3 cloves garlic

fresh thyme and chives

fresh ground pepper

1 tbsp olive oil, drizzled

1 tbsp lemon juice, drizzled

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes and enjoy