Spring Fever or (Im)patience is a Virtue

Tomato seedling in the ground

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,ย  my fears of frost evaporate.

So we’re planting early.

Pinching tomato leaves

Pinching off the lower leaves and planting deeply for will make for lots of good root structure.

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.

Tomatoe seedling root

Tease the root ball apart a bit before planting so the roots can stretch out.

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 ofย  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?

Heirloom Tomatoes

With luck, we’ll have another batch of these beauties gracing our summer table.

About Benjamin

Gardening, Raising a Family, Hobby Photography, Reading & Philoso-phizing...not necessarily in that order.
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20 Responses to Spring Fever or (Im)patience is a Virtue

  1. I hope you have a great garden this year. Our vegetable season is just about over.

  2. kkessler833 says:

    Good luck with your garden!

  3. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    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. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Benjamin says:

      Nothing like a homegrown heirloom (even if it isn’t grown in your own home!) ๐Ÿ™‚ 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

  5. Amy says:

    Looks like you’ll have a wonderful harvest this year, Ben!

  6. Shannon says:

    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, Iโ€™ll be in business.

    • Benjamin says:

      Sorry to hear about the deer-snacking problem. With luck, she’ll find tastier treats and leave your tomatoes alone ๐Ÿ™‚ Best of luck with your garden!

  7. 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!

  8. Love those tomatoes …two of my favs are black Krim and Cherokee! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labour, Benjamin! I hope you’ll post some pictures.

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