This year I did some research before I put my tomatoes in the ground. The tomatoes that I started indoors completely flopped. They got some kind of blight while they were still in the laundry room grow op and all died within a matter of weeks. It was sad… but very much not the first time. So I went and spent the money on plants and figured I may as well ‘do it right’. I bought 4 Organic Heirloom Brandywine, and 2 Heirloom Romas, and 2 Organic Sungold plants. Each of the plants were between 18” to 24” tall. I put 4 in each 6 ft long bed. I started by digging a trench like this:
On either side of the tomatoes I planted the companions of onions, spinach, and carrots. I was careful as I dug the trench not to destroy and of their root systems. Today (a day after the tomatoes were planted) all of those plants look undisturbed.
The trench was about 18 inches deep. Into the trench I added quite a few amendments to the bottom of the hole: Organic bone meal, Organic Blood Meal, Organic Veggie Fertilizer and some egg shells from my chickens. I loosely used this site mixed with this site as my planting guides. I was guessing the most important things were the nutrients that needed to be added and the way they were planted (with as much of a strong root base as possible).
As I back filled the holes I used a stick support to keep up the top 7” of the plant straight and kept this portion out of the soil. I cut all the leaves from the rest of the stem starting just below the first flowering suckers (another guide here) and then planted the entire rest of the stalk.
In the end, this is what they looked like:
I left a significant bowl shaped divet around each plant so the first waterings would be deep. The idea is that the pool will water deep enough around the plant to help create the new roots from the stalk.
I plan on using this process from Growing Wisdom.com and this process from Fine Gardening as a guide for pruning. I am not sure how I am going to do cages yet, but the trellis method from Growing Wisdom seems easy enough. I have also been thinking about hog fencing cages. Any tried and true ideas there?
For now this is my tomato, onion, spinach, carrot bed and I am excited to see what it will do this season!
I will keep you all updated on my process!