Planting Tomatoes

This evening, I planted the tomato plants in the vegetable garden. All the gory details to follow, but first:

A few saucy notes about the humble tomato:

  • The tomato is not a vegetable – it’s actually a fruit.
  • A native to South America, it was cultivated as early as 500BC
  • It made its way to Europe in the late 1400s, and from there spread around the world.
  • Thinking tomatoes were poisonous, neither the British nor the American colonists ate them until the mid 1700s.
  • About 130 million tons of tomatoes were produced worldwide in 2008.

Back in March, I planted tomatoes from seed, Celebrity variety.  It’s hard to find good quality bedding plants in our area, so we try to plant what we can from seed.  We thought we would have been able to plant the young plants in the garden in mid-April, but the weather has been too cool. It is finally warm enough now at night (mid 40s) that they will not freeze, so today I finally planted the not so young plants.

As you can see, they’ve spent too much time in their little pots and are quite tall.  (Kitty very kindly offered to sit next to the plant to provide scale. Ok, not really, but I like to dream…) Being too tall would be a problem if it was any other plant, but tomatoes can grow roots the entire length of their stems, so most of this is going underground, with about 4 inches staying above ground. Planting them deep is a good idea anyway because the deeper the roots, the longer they can go without watering. All I did was cut off the leaves from the stem area that will be below ground level,

 pull the root ball out of the pot,

and place the plant in the 18 inch hole Harland dug for me last night ( a wonder with a shovel he is),

fill in around the plant with soil,

and give a generous watering. Next, our secret weapon for warding off the cool nights:

The way it works is that the water gets warm during the day in the sun, and then the warm water keeps the little ‘mater plants warm all night long. I filled it with the water hose in the yard, moved it to the garden, and then carefully set it over the plant. See, there’s our little guy down there safe and sound:

As an added bonus, the water towers keep out the lovely KS wind, and they give our garden a festive look.

We’ll leave the water towers over the plants until the weather warms up, probably a few weeks from now, and then remove them, empty out the water, and store them for use next year.

More tomato posts to come as the little plants grow – stay tuned folks.