Tempting Fate

Well, if we get a freeze you can blame it on me.  I decided to tempt fate and plant our tomatoes early.  More patient gardeners than I may have waited until March 15, when chances of a frost are minimal, but I just couldn’t resist trying to get a jump on the growing seatomato-1son.

Our daughter, Becky, seeded this group of tomatoes into tiny cells on January 15, then I repotted them into 4″ pots early this month. See post.   I took the pots from under the grow light and set them outside for the last few days to let the tomatoes get used to the weather.  This is called ‘hardening off.’

To plant tomatoes, add a bunch of organic matter to your soil.  Most Pflugerville soil is black clay and doesn’t drain very well.  Adding compost and sand, as well as planting in a raised bed or row will help your tomatoes get a good start.  Dig a hole deeper than is necessary for your tomato.  Tomatoes are one of the few plants that can be planted deeper than the soil line.

Carefully remove the pot from your plant.  You can see how well this tomato has rooted out in the pot.  That is a sign that this plant is ready to be planted into a bigger container or in the ground.

tomato root system.jpg

Fill in the hole and gently tamp down the dirt.  Give your plants a good long soak.  Planting on a cloudy day or early in the day can help prevent your tomatoes from wilting.  Plant tomatoes 2-3 feet apart.  Normally I would go ahead and put my tomato cages around my plants at this time because it’s easy to do while the plants are small, but since I’m planting early I’m leaving them cage-free in case I need to put a pot or other cover over them to protect them from the cold.

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