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Gardening

Summer Garden Tomato Edition

Mystery Tomato (not the Green Sausage )

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I have a confession, last year’s tomato crop was horrible. It was terrible. The combination of putting underdeveloped seedlings out too early, not providing them the right nutrients, and erratic weather patterns resulted in a pathetic amount of tomatoes.

This year I vowed it would be different. I have been doing the following and it seems to be working.

1. Better Fertilization and Quality Soil
To start off with I am using Fox Farms organic soils and fertilizers. It’s has all the good stuff like bat guano and earth castings.
Black Krim
2. Timing and Patience
I started the seedlings under lights just like last year. But this year, I gradually put them into larger containers until they were in 3.0 gallon containers. I would pull them at night when the temperatures would drop and then bring them back into the sunshine in the morning.
San Marazano

3. Adding Dolomite or hydrated lime to my containers. Lime regulates the PH in the soil and it also helps control blossom end rot. It was actually extremely difficult to find in the stores. I ended up finding it in a Tractor supply store.

4. Earth Trainer
The Earth Trainer is homemade self watering container for two tomato plants. At first I was skeptical so I just made one for my San Marzano and Tiger Like, Black Krim and Green Sausage were in extra large containers and Constoluto Genovese was put directly into the garden bed.

The Earth trainer allows you to self water without getting the tomatoes leaves wet (a big no-no), it also keeps weeds and hopefully predators at bay. It’s also a more efficient way to keep the water the plants with limited waste. After a couple rounds at the hardware store and some battles with a power tool we had our own Earth Trainer. The self watering system is extremely easy. The plants have grown tremendously and they are producing more fruit the other plants combined.
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Discussion

7 Responses to “Summer Garden Tomato Edition”

  1. I’d love to see a season-end video on the Earth tainers! Great job with the tomatoes this year. I for one am very jealous.

    Posted by Katie | July 16, 2009, 6:14 pm
  2. They are looking great! I hope mine do as well. They are growing like weeds now, finally.

    Posted by michelle | July 16, 2009, 6:14 pm
  3. WOW…these are some big mamas!!! Impressive, to say the least! Thanks for telling your tips…I will send your blog over to my Mom who never tires of growing tomatoes…she will be very happy to read this! Have a great rest of the week!
    Julie

    Posted by Julie | July 16, 2009, 6:40 pm
  4. Larger containers are very key for tomatoes. Smaller containers can heat up so much in the sun that the roots bake. With a constant source of water – lime might not even be necessary, but it does help to have more rather than less. I tend to collect my eggshells and use the (cooled) water from boiling eggs to water my tomatoes in containers.

    Posted by AnnF | July 16, 2009, 7:11 pm
  5. Katie: That’s a good idea. I made a mistake and didn’t buy additional galvanized tomato cages and they are massive at the moment.

    Michelle: That’s great, I think it’s this year tomatoes are growing a little later due to wonky weather.

    Julie- Thanks for the forward!

    AnnF: That’s good advice, the water hear is high in alkaloids and as a result I do lots of PH testing. I find the Lime makes a big difference. But it all depends on your soil and water situation. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by nkristis | July 24, 2009, 11:11 am
  6. Our tomatoes in Iowa are green, green, way behind schedule for ripening. Hope they start turning soon, great photos.

    Posted by Iowa Gardening Woman | July 29, 2009, 2:24 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] we constructed the Earth Trainer for our tomatoes, I was left with half of a storage container. I thought it was best not to waste […]

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