Today we dropped 24 tomatoes into our 16′ x 16′ garden where we currently have almost 100 garlic in a 2-3′ x 16′ strip along one side. The tomatoes went in 4 rows of 6 plants each. We have a strip left along one fence to plant something ‘not bushy’ like maybe sunflowers?
We added 2 cherry tomatoes as ‘yard candy’ for when we are working in the yard. Snap peas also fit in the yard candy category, but we have not found snap peas as starter plants. Yard candy is a treat for when we are working in the yard. Grab some cherry tomatoes (chickens love to ‘share’ tomatoes with us), or snap peas, maybe some berries… Yum!
Aside from a red and a yellow (higher sugar, sweeter tomato) cherry tomato, the other 22 plants were the best plants from my seedlings.
Some of the plants were pretty leggy, so I used a post hole digger and sunk them a foot or so underground. I removed some of the lower yellowing leaves to set the plants deeper. Other plants were beautiful and planted at a ‘normal’ depth. This will be a bit of an experiment, but I expect better drought resistance from the deeper plants as long as they can get roots near the surface to gather up superficial water from lighter rains, I expect the deeper plants will do much better.
Lessons learned for next year…
Plan on a warm June planting. Start seedlings in early April, as the maple sap is flowing. This is two weeks later than usual, but it will help to avoid a cold start to the tender tomatoes and/or becoming root bound.
Be sure the lights you start with are 6500k (daylight, blue spectrum). I knew this, but when I bought newer bulbs, it was clear that I started out using a pair of red spectrum bulbs typically used to force fruiting veggies to produce their fruits in aquaponic systems, not for green vegetative growth like seedlings need. Oops.
I may also need a way to cool my nursery since temps were easily high 70’s up into the 80’s on a near constant basis. I will have to think on a good answer for this between November and January when things slow down a little around here.
The next big project around here will be the chicken slaughter in two weekends from now.