Thursday, July 17, 2014

Transplanting Tons of Tomatoes

I was quite busy this spring starting seeds under grow lights.  Squash, peppers, tomatoes, you name it, if I have a pot, a package of seeds and a bit of potting soil I'm putting them together.

                                                   Reusing yogurt cups

I love watching (and journaling) the progress.  From the first seedlings sprouting through the soil, through transplanting and lastly,  harvesting the rewards of my work, raising plants from seed is always a wonderful journey.

                                       Tomato plants waiting for an outdoor home

I don't have enough large pots (or potting soil for that matter) so a combination of composting and upcycling are in order.

I started with a couple of old, cracked trashcans.  I didn't want to use up all my potting soil so I used my "Lasagna Gardening" method to compost in the bottom while growing on top (check out my blog on June 09. 2013, Terrific Tomato Pots).  Todays tomato pot ingredients: magnolia pods, sifted compost, shredded paper, kitchen scraps, potting soil and tomato seedlings.
My assembly line

Use a trashcan lid (turned upside down) as a saucer if you are worried about water staining the driveway. 
To take up room while helping with drainage I added a foot of Magnolia pods.

                                                  Magnolia pods and twigs
I alternated browns (leaves and paper) with greens (grass and kitchen scraps) until the trashcan was full.

         I finished by filling the pot with a 1/2 bag of potting soil and planted my tomato plants. 

Planted and ready for take off

To keep the water in the saucers from pooling up and turning smelly (not to mention the worries of mosquitos and West Nile virus) I added potting soil around the base of the tomato pots.  I mixed in some chive seeds, hoping to get a mini crop from my method, but only one or two sprouted.
As the level of potting soil drops (and the compostable material decompose) I can add additional soil.  Tomato plants don't mind extra soil on their stems, in fact, they can actually grow roots out of their stems, making the entire plant stronger.
After a few weeks, the plants were doing so well that I added a 3rd tomato plant and a smaller pot with a melon seedling.

3 tomato plants, 1 melon, 1 rosemary and an
amaranth plant happily soaking up the sun.
I can't wait until these are ripe
"Sungold" cherry tomatoes
Potted plants can dry out quickly so be sure to check the soil moisture daily.
Enjoy your summer tomatoes.
Be well and happy gardening!