Friday, April 4, 2008

Tomato plant secrets

My neighbour came over last week and told me a "little secret" that her Italian tomato-growing friend had shared with her. When his tomatoes have their second set of leaves, he replants them up to their "shoulders". He told her it makes for a stronger, hardier plant. I often plant a large portion of the tomato stem horizontally when I put it out in the garden but I had never heard of re-potting them when they are so young. I was looking through another gardening book yesterday and the author mentioned transplanting tomatoes twice; then he still plants the stem horizontally in the garden.

So, since mine were looking pretty spindly anyway, I am giving it a try. I re-potted some yesterday and will see how they do. E planted some watermelon seeds indoors and also some ornamental milkweed. The crocus are blooming in the backyard now and the whole front yard smells of violets.

Some Spring in the garden quotes:

Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~Margaret Atwood

And since I have been collecting mulch to do more Ruth Stout-ing in my garden.

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

And this last one, my sentiments exactly.

I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring. Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature's rebirth? ~Edward Giobbi


Anonymous said...

Hey Heather,

Speaking from a bit of experience here, I grew lots of tomatoes(300 or more!!) from seed when I had my organic market garden, 4 years back. It would not be unusual for me to repot 3 to 4 times before they were planted out. I always had big blocky plants growing in 5 inch pots for the garden.

Just this year, (thanks to you, for inspiring me), I am once again having a garden, (just for us though). I have young seedlings that look like yours and I am planning their first potting up this weekend. Once they outgrow these new pots, I will again pot up. Each time burying the stem more.

Thanks so much for sharing your love of gardening. It is such an inspiration to me and I find I am once again excited about the whole process!!


Heather said...

Hi Sandi
Thanks so much for commenting about the tomatoes. I remember you telling me once (years ago, I think at the BMX track) that you used to have a market garden. I would love that. Now that I've heard it from you too, I will go ahead and do all my tomatoes that way. I was thinking that I might start watering them with some nettle tea sometimes - I've read that this is very good for plant health.

I'm glad to hear that you will be gardening this year too. It really is exciting, isn't it. I will hope to see you at a knitting night sometime soon so that we can talk garden. :-)

Samantha said...

Help! Where is the tomatoes shoulders?
Mine are smaller then yours but I have hope :-)

Heather said...

Samantha - right up to almost where the leaves are. Imagine the leaves as the head and then go down a bit to where you think shoulders would be. Some of mine are even smaller too, yours will be fine by planting time, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to do this too. Did you buy starter plants, or did you start from seed?