Plant your garden after Mother’s Day is the conventional wisdom in our part of the Ohio River Valley. After the second weekend of May, any chance of a hard frost or a Blackberry Winter is past and the soil has warmed up enough to be receptive to most seeds and seedlings.
But the unusually warm weather makes me itch to get my hands in the dirt. Visions of ripening tomatoes haunt my brain, making me a bit foolhardy. And when the weather forecaster makes no mention of colder temperatures in the long range weather predictions, my fears of frost evaporate.
So we’re planting early.
My daughter and I dug a little compost into the beds and tucked in some tomato plants, nice and cozy. We always pinch off the lower leaves and bury them deeply, since any stem section below ground will sprout roots, making for a more vigorous plant down the road.
We also break up the roots a bit to ensure they reach out into the surrounding soil instead of remaining in a tight little root ball. And we water in well with a healthy dose of compost tea. (For more hints on growing tomatoes, check out my tomato-tip post.)
We grew a few of our own seedlings for transplant this year and picked up a few from Thistlehair Farm, who grows over 100 varieties of heirloom tomato seedlings. It’s always fun to see what new seeds they’ve found on their travels and try something novel. We never know when we might discover our new favorite variety!
Some of the tomato varieties we’ve planted this year include: Lucid Gem, Galena’s Golden Girls, Large Barred Boar, Orange Wellington, Black Krim and Cherokee Purple but there are so many more to try. We just need to identify the square feet in our suburban back yard and convert it to tomato-plot. As far as I’m concerned, there could hardly be any better use for it.
What are your favorite tomato varieties? Have you made any recent discoveries that made it onto your list of favorites?