Fixing my tomato mistakes

There are few things I like better about summer than sweet, ripe tomatoes from the garden. In fact, I’ve cultivated quite the obsession over the last six years, trying but often failing to get the bumper crop of my dreams.

My problems? In no particular order…

  • Growing in partial shade (for years)
  • Inconsistent watering (damn you, drought)
  • Lax pest control (white flies be damned)
  • Too small pots (uselessness)
  • Overcrowding (just. one. more. plant!)
  • Waiting to address disease (wishful thinking won’t cure fungus)
  • Weak tomato cages (fall over once, shame on you. fall over every year, shame on me.)
  • Failure to feed (what, you need to eat, again??)
Now, you’d think I’d be all over these issues having written about most of them during Green Thumbs Season Five “Tips, tricks, and warnings for growing tomatoes. ” But no, I’m apparently a slow learner.
The good news? Season Seven is off to an auspicious start.
2014’s potted tomato garden and 2015’s new-and-improved in-ground awesomeness. So much more space which will translate into better air flow and more tomato production.

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve addressed the biggest problems from the last two year’s of front-yard gardening: watering-related troubles (blossom-end rot and sun scorch), disease issues from over-crowding, and garden ugliness.

The first step was to take out a giant photinia (see here) to make room and with Mr. T’s rototilling skills, prepare an in-ground bed. (For the record, I’m still a staunch supporter of raised bed gardening. Just short on carpentry time this season.) This will help the tomatoes not to dry out so much between watering. The second step? Controlling myself and not over-planting. And finally, prettying up the space with flowers. Cardinal rule of front yard gardening? Don’t annoy the neighbors (or your husband) with ugliness.

Kitchen sink gardening. I follow most of Love Apple Farm’s advice related to tomato amendments: egg shells, bone meal, aspirin, worm castings, fish fertilizer. (They recommend fish heads. Can’t do it. CANNOT DO IT.)  This year, I’m also using epsom salt and some organic fertilizer. My tomatoes will never go hungry again.

Fingers crossed for that bumper crop!

In the garden: One bell pepper, three Early Girls, three Ace 55s, one Cherry Tomato, and three heirlooms (German Johnson, Violet, and Cour di Bue). Still need to fix the drip irrigation and add mulch.

xoxo,
shawna

NaBloPoMo May 2015
May 1– To selfie or not to selfie
May 2- Helping things grow
May 3- All the feels
May 4- When your imagination wears you out
May 5- ‘How Porcupines Make Love’: Because, why not?
May 6- A man who makes me laugh
May 7- That elusive quality of nature
May 8- Sky Ops Surprise: That one time I was an under-cover agent
May 9- Family, love and light
May 10- A Mother’s Day trio
May 11- Spring in full burst

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