A total of twelve tomatoes have survived and thrived in containers and it is well past time to get them into the garden where they will be able to stretch out their roots and their tops. About half of the plants already have tomatoes set on and hopefully they will not get too upset about this move which could cause the plants to drop the fruit rather than growing to the ripe stage.
The leggy tomato starts are loving the opportunity to be moved outside each day. Even though the nights are still cold and dipping into the high 20’s, the bright sun warms the side of the house above 50 degrees during the day.
Each day the plants are moved out once the temperature nears 50 and each evening moved back into the garage so they don’t freeze. These plants are very willowy from their extended house-bound stint. It’s important to move them back and forth each day to give them the opportunity to strengthen in the breeze and soak in the sunshine.
Several of the plants have blooms beginning to open and it is encouraging to see pollinators flying by to stop at the seedlings. I can imagine the taste of fresh tomatoes each time I move the plants back and forth.
Fifty is the magic number when I like to take my tender tomato starts out off the sunny window ledge inside the house and temporarily set them outside to get some real world sun and breeze. Twice this year we have had temps that made it to the 50 degree mark and slightly above, I missed both of them. One of the days we were transplanting trees up on the hill and the other day I was away from the farm. Continue reading
The second set of leaves have formed on the tomato seedlings so it was time to upgrade the size of the homes for these cuties.
The 4 inch pots are just barely able to fit into my single width trays. But the twelve plants still fit onto the ledge of the sunniest window of the house so all they need to survive at this point is water every other day and a good story from me (yes I talk to my seedlings, trees, cows, cats, dogs and the eagles as they soar overhead).
The next upgrade will mean moving the plants out of the house proper and out into the garage where they will be moved inside and outside as weather dictates. My little garden cart that I like to use has become the kindling cart for the last two months after retiring from the garden in the fall. I may need to get another cart…
I could go to the local plant nursery to get tomato plants for the garden, but these little beauties are a labor of love. I swear that the sweet cherry tomatoes that these plants will eventually produce are well worth all the wintertime coaxing and pampering along the southwest windowsills.
If I want to see any delicious tomatoes this summer, it is now time to start thinking about getting the seeds germinated. I go goofy over those cherry tomatoes, fresh from the plant, dried in the dehydrator, frozen on cookie sheets, mixed into pasta dishes and winter stews, I just can’t seem to get enough of them. Except for last year, I was over-exuberant with the number of plants. I had seeds germinating in several trays, kept giving away plants in 4 inch and later, gallon pots and still planted two rows of tomatoes in tires totaling more than two dozen plants. Continue reading
It is hard to imagine it from the blistering weeks we experienced through August that any day we could have the first frost nip back the garden, but here on the farm we have had frost as early as the first week of September.
Watching the calendar and the thermometer as the days come and go help keep me on track to harvest, dry and freeze all the summer goodness that comes from the garden. We have made it past halfway in the month and have had no close calls with frost yet and the garden is still busy producing squash, beans and loads of tomatoes.
Since the weather has cooled a bit, I have also been sneaking out to the blackberry row on cool mornings and evenings to get my share of the crop that I couldn’t get close to while the bees took over the sweet berries during the warm weather.