Well I hope the wall of waters will keep my newly planted tomato plants warm enough with the snow we had today. Not much snow but then tomatoes don’t like snow at all! And I hope it’s not too cold tonight. They do like this rain though…
Phew! What a day. Three of my friends came over this morning and all together we planted 44 tomato plants from 8:30-12:30! What a bunch of busy beavers! Janet started out the morning before the others came and screened all my vermicompost and filled three-5 gallon containers. Then Lava showed up and Janet and her put in all my amendments in each hole (I had previously dug out most of the holes and Bob Z came by yesterday and finished digging them for me-another great friend)! Then today, I could barely keep ahead of the girls, me setting out plants, making sure each plant had a drip to it, name tags, map of all the tomatoes, providing stakes and wall of waters while Lava planted them and Mernie and Janet followed up behind putting the wall of waters on all of them. Then we all had other things to do and off we all went. A wonderful day to plant- not too windy and not too hot-it was overcast! A huge thanks to Lava, Mernie and Janet for helping me today and to Bob for helping me yesterday-would of taken me days to get that far. It takes a village to do this much! Mucho gracias!
Today I had some AmeriCorps students help plant some of my tomatoes. I think we planted about 25 of them. What a great bunch of young adults giving service. In case you didn’t know AmeriCorps is like the Peace Corps (only here in America) where people join and give their time and energy for one year to help communities and farms and learn many skills on their journeys. I explained how I plant tomatoes and gave them some handouts to take home explaining the process. I hope they take back this information to their communities and share their new tomato growing skills! My only regret is I didn’t get a picture of them before they left! A big thanks to all of you who helped today!
15 TOMATOES PLANTED
I started transplanting tomatoes into the new garden section. My friend Tom, and I got 15 of them in the soil-all ready to go. We added to each hole: more compost, yum-yum mix, mycorrhizal fungi (for root growth), worm castings, epsom salts (for many blossoms), and dry milk (adds calcium to avoid blossom rend rot later). And this year to (hopefully) conserve on water usage, I’m trying silicon gel granules and some volcanic ash, both of which will keep water longer around the plant root zone. All this stuff is mixed up with some of the existing soil in the hole. Then we put the tomato plants in (and if they are rootbound, open the roots up a little), made a well around each one and water each hole several times to get the soil wet. Then I go back a third time and water in some Superthrive and seaweed fertilizer (helps with plant transplant shock). Afterwards I put a drip line around each plant and then put a wall-of-water around each of them to keep them warm at night because just when we think we are out of the woods weatherwise, it gets cold again.
To keep the wall-of-waters from collapsing when the wind gets blowing hard, I put some bamboo stakes inside the walls as shown in the second picture. Overkill? Maybe. But I will get some fantastic tomatoes during the season. I still need to put the main drip hose (1/2 inch size) around the perimeter of the patch and connect each individual drip line to it but I can hand water every other day for now till I get to it. Planting is the hands on intensive part-later it will be a breeze watching them grow..
Tomorrow-May 16, Amy Hetager, from Home Grown New Mexico, is coming with her students from Americorp to plant some more tomatoes. No shortage here-still got 55+ tomatoes to put in the ground!
I think I’m going to start planting tomatoes by the weekend. I won’t get all of them in but this will be the EARLIEST I have ever planted here in Santa Fe. I checked the weather for the next 10 days and no freezing weather is projected. Of course it’s always a crap shoot here in NM but I think the odds might be in our favor this year. I will still put them in wall of waters (WOWs) because they grow so much faster in them than without them and if we get a freeze, they offer lots of protection. But I will hold off on the eggplants and peppers for a little while longer cause they want HEAT. I checked the weather for the next 10 days and no freezing weather is projected. I’m not recommending anyone plant before our last freeze date of May 15th, just letting you know what I’m thinking. Unbelievably beautiful weather-so different then last year’s-no wind, no freezing weather-just fabulous! Time to spend lots of time in the vegetable garden!
All of my tomatoes that are in Wall of Waters are kicking ass right now, many of them outgrowing the Wall of Waters (WOW) and needing me to take the WOW off. The 2 tomatoes that didn’t have Wall of Waters (I ran out) are struggling, even under row cover for protection. It is amazing to me how good the tomatoes do inside those wall of waters and how poorly they do without them. The Wall of Waters act like little greenhouses and are worth every dollar they cost. As a result almost all of my tomatoes have a great head start on the season. I know I’ve talked about them before, but they are worth a mention again. If you want to be really successful with tomatoes, I think you must get these and use them when you first transplant.
Each year I grow a lot of tomatoes, and I need a lot of tomatoes, what with being ‘The Tomato Lady’ at the Santa Fe Farmers Market later this summer. This year is no exception. Some friends of mine, Mernie and Lynne and Elodie and myself planted 55 tomatoes yesterday! And we did it in record time. I know some time was saved with the drip system in and the holes pre-dug but still it seemed to go faster this year. We acted like a smooth, oiled machine! Mernie and I went around and put all the amendments in the holes first, then I brought out the tomatoes and Mernie and I planted them while Elodie and Lynne followed behind putting up the wall of waters and then watered the plants with Seaweed and Thrive. Afterwards, I took them all to lunch as a GREAT BIG THANK YOU! I’m going to owe them a lot of tomatoes! I still have about a dozen more tomatoes to plant (front blank bed) but need to provide more drip line for them. What a relief-I almost feel like I’m back on track in the garden! Almost..