May 25, 2012

Transplanting Tomatoes

Is there a happier chore in the garden than setting out transplants? especially tomatoes? The thought of that tasty, juicy summer treat, with the special satisfaction that only a home grown fruit can bring, makes me thrill with anticipation. Memorial Day weekend is the traditional planting weekend around here, as it is in many places, and the weather was perfect this morning––gray and damp and mild––though not so good for the laundry that I hung outside. Earlier in the week I had laid out the rows with a special black plastic, IRT mulch, that I get from Fedco Seeds. It makes a big difference for growing warm weather crops in this short season area.

I have several favorite tomato varieties that I grow each year: Sungold, Cosmonaut Volkov, Pruden's Purple, Rose de Berne, and a new plum tomato favorite, Juliet. I'm giving Cherokee Purple a try this year for the first time on a strong recommendation from someone, but I can't remember who.

Tomato plants are stronger with a large root system, so I plant them sideways in the hole, covering up much of the stem, which will sprout roots. The plants end up looking like tiny little things with a fluff of green hair.

Unless the weather is hot, I then place plastic milk jugs, whose bottoms I've cut out, on top of the plants, which act as a mini greenhouse.

The plants will grow there happily for a few days or more, depending on the weather.

Lastly, I put up metal U posts. I will string wire through them as the tomato plants grow, tying the plants to the wire to hold them up. I tried this system last year instead of the 4 pole teepees I used to use because there is more air circulation for the leaves. This didn't prevent the usual onslaught of early blight, but I think it made things a little better. Today I also set out the winter squashes, zucchini, and cucumbers. In the next couple of days I'll plant the peppers, eggplants, and melons. The corn seeds went in a few days ago. Summer here we come!


  1. As someone who only grows a few herbs, this is always so impressive to read about and see via your photos. I love the names of the tomatoes; so much history and romance.

    1. yes, Ms. Wis., aren't the names marvelous. Some of the ones I don't grow have great names: Mortgage Lifter, Garden Peach, Black Krim, Green Zebra.
      and I've already lost two plants, one to a cutworm and one to a marauding creature, which must be a woodchuck. I grow three plants in the just-used compost pile and they've never been bothered before. I'm definitely not happy about it.