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?
I hope you have a great garden this year. Our vegetable season is just about over.
Thank you! I hope yours was filled with delicious abundance! 🙂
Good luck with your garden!
Thank you! With any luck we’ll be knee-deep in produce come July 🙂
It looks like you are on your way to a fun gardening season and some good eating. That first tomato sandwich always tastes like a little bit of heaven. And, my favorite is whichever one is ripe. 🙂
You’re right about that first tomato sandwich! 😀 Cheers to homegrown tomatoes!
I love heirloom cultivars for flavor and cherry tomatoes for snacking, but with late blight in our soil, I’ve given up growing them myself. We’re blessed with lots of farms in our valley, many organic, from which we can buy excellent produce. I love supporting them and it leaves more room in my garden for flowers. 🙂
Nothing like a homegrown heirloom (even if it isn’t grown in your own home!) 🙂 We’ve struggled with blight in the soil in the past as well, and have solarized the beds to help mitigate the problem. Wishing you a bounty of buds & flowers this growing season! Cheers, Ben
Thanks, same to you!
Looks like you’ll have a wonderful harvest this year, Ben!
Those tomatoes were from last year, but we’re hoping to repeat! Thanks for stopping by! Cheers, Ben
Planting tomato starts deeply with lots of compost has never steered me wrong! Our summers are brutal hot, and in my no-watering garden, they must do well without me.
Now, if I can get the lactating doe to snack on something other than tomato leaves, I’ll be in business.
Sorry to hear about the deer-snacking problem. With luck, she’ll find tastier treats and leave your tomatoes alone 🙂 Best of luck with your garden!
I just picked my final Sweet 100 (my favorite) my veg garden came down with nematodes and solarization over the summer is on tap. Will watch yours!
I love sweet 100s too! The perfect garden snack. 🙂 Sorry to hear about the nematodes; hopefully, the solarization will do the trick.
Yes, snacking is perfect. I am not sure what could survive summer under clear plastic here.
Love those tomatoes …two of my favs are black Krim and Cherokee! 🙂
Those are 2 of my favorites as well! So delicious! 😀
Looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labour, Benjamin! I hope you’ll post some pictures.