Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 22: Planting Time

Woo hoo! It's finally time ... Guess where I'll be Saturday afternoon?

The little seedlings that I sprouted 22 days ago are now 8-10 inches tall. They've been growing rapidly since I started taking them outside, and they're ready to go into the ground. Fortunately, the weather has cooperated by cooling off, so this weekend should be a great time to plant tomatoes.

(But don't worry if you can't do it this weekend: you can plant tomatoes any time through early January and still get fruit.)

Remember when you're planting tomatoes to strip off a few of the lower leaves and bury the plant fairly deep into the soil. New roots will form along the buried stem and you'll get a stronger vine all around. After you've planted your tomatoes, water every morning to establish them. And don't hit the young plants with a giant dose of fertilizer (especially strong chemical fertilizer). You'll burn their roots. Wait a bit to start feeding them.

If it's seemed like a lot of work until this point (preparing the soil, building cages, etc.), don't worry. The fun part is about to begin.

Up next: My Planting Weekend


  1. I am delighted to have discovered this blog. I've never been very succesful growing tomatoes in South Florida, but I am getting better every year. Last year I had nasty horn worm catepillars and a green insect about 1/2 an inch long with an angular thorax and abdomen. I would be anxious to hear how to prevent (or poison) these pests.

  2. Anon,

    Welcome! I'm expecting to get these myself later in the year. Horn worms are voracious feeders and can do serious damage to a tomato plant quickly. I'm sure I'll write more about this, but I find it helps to pay close attention to the plants and hand pick any worms you find. If the problem progresses, you can use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). It's an organic biological control sold as Dipel dust. It works against all kinds of caterpillars.


  3. So glad to discover this blog, I've been growing tomato's and other veggies in S Fla for about 15 years and on some years, and have learned through MUCH trial and error. I see we've learned a lot of the same things...and I've already learned a thing or two from you reading this blog. My needs are: It's gotta be quick and easy (I work two jobs). It's gotta be maintenance free as possible (I have chronic back issues from a car accident) and it's gotta be cheap... So I use Earthboxes, with the Miracle Gro Potting Soil and they are on a bench (Holds 8 Earthboxes) my husband made me that is tailored to my bending & leaning height, which makes it virtually pain free for me. I use to use giant playtubs from wall-mart with holes drilled in them, but they were huge and not easy to move. Right now I'm growing Roma, Betterboy and Beefsteaks (general Lowe's variety), I planted them last week..the Roma's have been IDEAL in the Earthboxes, I've had bumper crops of these the last two years and I'm sure that's why!! I also try to be organic and green in my pest control and fertilization, despite a little help from Miracle Gro, LOL!! Looking forward to learning more and sharing ideas!! First Question, the Homestead 29 tomato's, do you know if I can get them as plants somewhere in Broward County? I'd like to try those for the heat resistant factor, if I can extend a yeild to late May instead of April-May, that would be AWESOME!! Debby DeWitt

  4. Debby,

    That sounds great. I love Roma and Better Boy tomatoes, and I'm kind of sad I'm not growing them this year. But I've only got so much room, and I wanted to try something different. This weekend, I'm planning on doing an EarthBox of yellow Azoychka tomatoes; they weren't ready when I planted everything else.

    As for the heat-tolerant varieties, I bought the Homestead 24 as seed from Tomato Growers Supply Company ( I've never seen them for sale as transplants, but you might try calling Flamingo Road Nursery. They've got a great vegetable garden there and might have a heat-tolerant variety. Other heat-tolerant varieties include Solar Fire and Florida 91. This is my first year with heat-tolerant varieties, and I've heard from other growers they aren't as flavorful. But we shall see ...

    Good luck with your season and keep me posted!