About a week and a half ago we transplanted our tomato seedlings to their summertime home, the roof. Tomatoes for us are the keepers of the garden. If it’s a good tomato season, then it’s a good garden season. If there’s tomato issues, then we get sad and cry every single day. The last few years we’ve had incredible success with the tomatoes, where there is a few weeks in July/August where we are throwing 5-10 pounds of tomatoes in a bowl every single day. Last year it got so hectic I would sit on the floor, surrounded by my 100 tomatoes just staring at them in panic (and in awe). With that many tomatoes, I took some time every single day to freeze sauces, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes and tomato juice. I would boil, deseed, simmer and bag. I am proud to say that from the months of July – April we didn’t buy one container of spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, cans of diced or stewed tomatoes. We just recently finished our last bag of frozen tomato sauce out of the freezer and it was a bit sad (although endearing to see my freezer bottom again).
With the transplanting of the tomatoes to their containers, the tomatoes truly mark garden season for us. These guys will hopefully be around until the beginning of Fall, where I will (hopefully) continue to pick them off the vine and throw them straight into my mouth.
Let’s plant some tomatoes!
Here’s how the calendar works with our tomatoes.
March 14 – tomato seeds are planted inside. Then they live under a fluorescent bulb setup until they are strong enough to go outside and the weather permits their arrival.
April 19 – the tomatoes are enormous inside. They are so big they are growing into the light as we can’t make our loft ceiling any taller for them. It’s been a little too risky to move them directly outside due to the weather temperature changing so sporadically so they are moving under the greenhouse instead…outside but inside.
Their roots are expanding every single day.
I walk by them every single day, touch them and then enjoy the fresh tomato smell that all tomato growers love.
April 19 – They move into their temporary home, under the greenhouse, where they enjoy steamy days. Tomatoes love their heat…
Just wanted to note that after taking this picture, I slid on some dirt, fell on the ground, bruising my hip and right leg, while risking my health to save the life of our camera. “Don’t look at me, I’m so embarrassed” I whispered to Matthew as he rushed to my side. Then I cried. “Dont look at me” I mumbled .
April 25 – THE DAY IS HERE.
Can I get a drum roll?
THE TOMATOES WILL MOVE INTO THEIR CONTAINERS.
Then one by one we cut holes in the plastic and put the tomatoes in their container. We plant the tomatoes DEEP. About half of their stem is already under potting mix in this picture. This will root them good.
Would you believe we have to put 2 cages on top of each other by the end of the season because they grow that tall? We start with one then mid season attach another on top. (I squint constantly on the roof, having blue eyes is rough).
And the last step… the tomatoes are planted, they have their cages, but they need a little more protection. The roof gets super windy, I can’t stress how windy it can get (even when there’s not hurricanes named Sandy knocking us down) so we help the tomatoes stay upright and protected by wrapping the entire tomato structure with wind blocker fabric. This is also called row cover fabric. We buy it in a big bolt and it lasts a long time.
May 6 – The tomatoes have transitioned quite nicely to their new home. The first few days are always hard as you see them slightly struggle to get used to the direct sun all day long and the wind.
But then you see the new green growth on every single plant and take a sigh of relief. The tomatoes have moved in and made themselves at home. Grow strong little guys! (Soon to be Mr. Big Guys!)
Are you growing tomatoes this year? Did you already plant them? What kind are you growing?