My husband Robert and I have been in the Tomato Zone for the past four days. He planted the seeds on March 15, and the three varieties he has nurtured so devotedly were ready to go into the ground.
Our varieties are Super Marzano for saucing, Sungolds for munching, and Tiffens for slicing. (We love the Super Marzanos; the other two are this year's experiments.)
Because Robert is such a fine gardener, I cast myself in the role of willing apprentice, and did whatever he instructed during our plant out. He loved that, obviously, and I learned a bunch.
So here is how it went!
All three of our varieties are "indeterminate", meaning they are vines and the plants will get really big. They need a support system, and Robert came up with a beauty (with help from the internet). The first post is going in here, and of course he is using a level.
Do please note the cut off rubber boots, now garden clogs. A practical man is my husband.
He is also quite exacting. Here he is measuring and marking exactly where the holes for the plants will be dug, down the center line he has stretched with twine.
The humble apprentice is here at work.
The soil is like chocolate cake mix...fluffy, rich, and yummy.
Once the holes are dug, Robert adds a large handful of comfrey leaves to each one. Comfrey will provide potassium to the plants...for a little article from Organic Gardening on why this is such a good idea, read here.
He added a little organic bone meal, too, for stem strength.
Here is a nice Tiffen, ready to go. Note the potato like leaves...of course you know that tomatoes and potatoes are kissin' cousins in the Solanaceae family.
This is actually one of the Marzanos going in...and it is saying, "Ahhhhh......" because its roots are going to be bathed in this....
There on the left, Black Gold itself. Compost from last year's weeding, grass clippings, and also innumerable buckets of kitchen scraps. (Never in 28 years of marriage have I had a disposal.)
It is The Good Stuff.
Oh yes, yes, yes!
A fine and subtle cultural point here: Robert snips off the bottom leaves that might have direct contact with the soil, so that they can't get diseased and threaten our happy plants with illness.
I tell him he thinks like a plant and that that is a high compliment.
The compost is watered in...I don't have a picture of the water supply, but this being Robert's garden, you know it is not just plain water.
He has a stock tank with a piece of glass over the top...so the water is warmed by the sun. He's added some liquid seaweed to it too. This is gravity fed by hose to my waiting 5 gallon bucket down by the beds. (Our garden is on a slope.)
Do please note the bent coffee can which makes a perfect waterer.
Once all the plants are in, this magic weaving of the twine inbetween the plants will support them and keep them upright. More twine is added as the plants gain height.
Presenting The Tomato Plantation of 2009......! 48 plants in all...
Japanese eggplant and two kinds of peppers...and then the basil....corn, beans, squash, and melons....
What a great time of year!!!!!