Living in the Coast Range of the Pacific Northwest provides us with a lot of opportunities. Growing tomatoes is not one of them.
We are a little cooler up here than the Willamette Valley. Sitting between two hills makes for slightly shorter days with the sun a few minutes later to rise and a few minutes earlier to set each day. Positioned close to the Nehalem River creates more moisture during those long summer days giving the fruit a greater chance to mold or rot. We are about 2 weeks later to have crops ripen and sometimes months ahead of getting the first frost of the season.
For many years I did not even attempt to plant tomatoes as I heard from many in the area about unsuccessful seasons. I think this is why I attempt to defy nature each year with my very own vine ripened tomatoes. Some years are exactly as I had been told and the harvest is a bust, but every year I try my hand and my luck again in an effort to produce the best crop ever.
The depressing winter got me to start my tomato adventure for this year by planting seeds in a little window tray. 24 little squares filled with potting soil seems like a lot of plants but I was not worried, I usually lose several seedlings due to dampening off where the stem withers before the plant gets the second set of leaves. I also tend to kill the tender 2 inch seedlings when I transplant them first to a 4 inch pot then laterto a gallon size pot.
To my surprise, I had not lost one plant so far this year and to date they are the best looking plants that I have produced. As the plants begin to form blooms, I am transplanting them into my latest idea of pod tomatoes.
In an effort to keep this first batch of plants from succumbing to frost which is still a possibility for the next 4 weeks, I have them planted inside tires that warm during the day and help hold in the heat at night.
Near sunset each day the protective plastic bag that sits around the outside is pulled up and secured which also holds precious warmth for the plants.
In this first pod, I planted the plants very deep inside bottomless buckets inside the tires since the roots will grow from the whole stem that is buried. I only have a few of these buckets so this is just a trial to see how it works.
I’m sure that you will be hearing more about tomato pods as the summer…