With the moon waning and the days warming, it’s a great time to get those little Tomato seedlings in the ground. I’ve seen a few plants lately that are already well and truly up and starting to flower, micro climate does play a big part in planting early summer vegetables, if they find the right little protected corner they are up and away.
Choose a place that wasn’t growing tomatoes or other members of the solanum family (potato, eggplant, capsicum) last season and add plenty of well rotted organic material. Plant your tomatoes nice and deep (with the first true leaves just above soil level), this will stimulate root formation on the buried stems and make the plants stronger.
Pick a few good varieties (if you haven’t grown them from seed get some “digger’s” or other heritage seedlings) and plant one of each, that’s all you need because the rest you’ll plant from these. The side shoots, that appear between the main stem and the leaf stalk can be pinched out (they are leaf not fruit producers) and these bits will be your new plants……just pop them in the ground and keep them moist.
I used to be a great believer in rambling tomatoes but I’ve come around to staking them, more fruit, less pests, so just tie them gently to a stake and pinch out the shoots as they grow up. Leave one, two or more main stems, it’s really up to you so be bold and experiment!
Keep your little tomatoes well mulched, well watered and well fed, but like so many veggie crops, not too heavy on the nitrogen or you’ll end up with massive leaf production and not so much fruit. A fertilizer with high potash is good for flowering, comfrey tea is ideal (make your own comfrey tea…..coming soon)).
Good companion plants….basil is the best, but try nasturtiums, garlic marigold and asparagus.