Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Plant WHAT With Tomatoes???

It has been way too long since I posted and I am sorry for that. In the last month, we had company for 5 days, finished homeschool, planted our gardens, had a BIG garage sale for 5 days, celebrated my daughter's birthday, went on a trip... and more.... and I already suffer from adrenal and thyroid issues as well as sleep deprivation and a foot that keeps going out of joint, so blogging didn't happen at all. :(   I hope to be regular with it again.

Anyway,  I thought I would share about how I plant my tomatoes since it really works so well. I have done this for a few years and it really helps. I had found some of these from different books/sites, but I used some of those and added some others.

We have been saving banana peelings and egg shells in the freezer.... just waiting for time to plant tomatoes... We had so many that my husband said he wanted them OUT of there! :)  We usually put them in the compost pile, but at this time of year, I save them to give the tomatoes extra nutrients.

Both items are so good for tomatoes and help them to grow, providing some needed nutrients.
 Here I am adding epsom salts to powdered milk, and other items... which will end up being part of the mixture I will put into the planting hole for my tomatoes.

Epsom salt has magnesium and sulfur and the magnesium helps to keep the rich green color in the plants....
 More of the items.........

Now, some of you have your own cow manure, but I am a city girl and we have to buy it... so here is a bag of composted cow manure..... it provides the base of my "recipe".  :)

 Using a wheel barrow, we start with the bag of composted cow manure.... then add the other items...............

Here I have added the epsom salts and other stuff I mixed up in the kitchen.

After stirring it all up..... it looked like this.......

This mixture is mixed into the dirt in the hole.... it is an additive and I do not fill the entire hole with this rich mix.... it would cost too much to do so and it doesn't need that much of it.

We are planting the tomatoes quite close together, but that works well for us.... We stake them up so they don't sprawl........ The holes are being dug with a post hole digger.... we try to go down about 18" if possible, but at least 12" deep.... I would love to dig 24" deep, but we can't seem to do it with our beds... roots, hard clay, and rocks prevent it.
In the bottom of each hole, we put at least one banana peel and one eggshell - more is great. As you can see, these are still frozen - sometimes I let them thaw first and sometimes not.... it still works great.

  Now, the mixture gets added over the egg shells and banana peels....  The mixture is pretty powerful stuff and gives the tomato plants a great boost from the very beginning and lasts through the growing season.

I always break off all of the lower leaves from the plant and bury it quite deep.... it will grow more roots on the buried stem which makes the plant stronger and better able to absorb nutrients. I think that keeping the lower leaves from touching the ground helps to reduce pests on the tomatoes and allows for good air flow.... and it looks neater too. Since my space is limited, I have found that doing these things helps to increase my quality and yield... even in a small space.

 I do buy plants - this is one that I just bought and planted today... it was on clearance and was about 18" tall - I buried several inches of it.

One reason I buy plants is that the growing season isn't terribly long and I like to start with plants so we can get tomatoes faster. I am so busy that starting my own plants isn't something I have the time/energy to do, so I do it this way.
These are the tomato plants that I planted a few weeks ago - sorry that I didn't take any pictures when I planted them.... they are doing quite well and have easily doubled/tripled in size since they were planted.

My "Recipe" for planting tomatoes.....
Epsom Salt
Powdered Milk
Worm Castings
Composted Manure
Kelp Powder
Bone Meal
Baking Soda
Egg Shells (not cooked)
Banana Peels

Mix all ingredients together except the banana peels and egg shells (put those in the bottom of the planting hole). Scoop the mixture on top of the peels and shells and plant tomatoes, adding more of the mixture with the dirt added to the hole. Remove lower leaves of tomato plants.  I have found that this "recipe" is so rich and helpful and if I am out of some items, I just don't put those in and it still does well. I don't want to spend a lot of money doing this... and I found all those bags of ingredients at a garage sale a year or 2 ago or I probably would not use all of them.

I also use this recipe in the planting holes for my pepper plants.... and I have seen a HUGE difference in the peppers that were planted with this recipe and those that were planted later and didn't have the recipe. This year, I have used the extra recipe mixture as a topping on my potted plants that have some worn out soil.

I am so glad to have the garden growing.... and we are looking forward to tomatoes. :)  Even if you are only able to add 1 item or a few items from the list... it should be a help for your plants.

Thank you for visiting my blog today.......... enjoy your gardening. :)

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