Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tomato Love

I enjoy gardening.

One of my particular favorites is tomatoes. I LOVE them. I even love the smell of the plant.

I've grown my own tomatoes from seed that I collected from my own tomatoes for about ten years now. It's an interesting hobby that I've been tinkering with for some time--different combinations of soils, fertilizers, lighting, planting time, tomato varieties.

This year I've ALMOST got it.

I've settled on a few varieties of heirloom tomatoes that I particularly like--Porter, Eva Purple Ball, and Sweet 100. There are others I like, but these three are my standbys.

The plants are doing very well. They're still inside under lights. I put them out to 'harden off' for the first time today, hoping the weather will hold for me to plant them in a couple of weeks--I live in a zone 4 1/2 or so; we've had killing frosts as late as the first week of June. But did I plant them too early? Or have I not given them quite enough light? Or have I fertilized them too much? I don't know. They're getting very tall and fairly leggy. I had to plant them deeper today to keep them from snapping off in the wind. I used a box lined with plastic and just put the peat pots in the bottom of it, then filled the box to the brim with new soil. That should hold them until I can get them into the ground.

But I just haven't quite figured out how the greenhouses get those short, leafy, thick-stemmed plants. I'm beginning to suspect they grow plants that look like mine, then cut them off at the knees and plant the tops in a growing compound. Cheaters.

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