A Tomato is a Fruit!

Tiered raised garden

(Re-posted from my original blog on Blogger). It has been a while since my last post, but I have a lot of great news for my fellow gardening friends! For my birthday last month, Nate got me a raised tiered garden and we put it together on the deck. The picture to the left shows the raised garden filled with soil.

We filled it with Mel’s Mix (1:1:1 of black cow; vermiculite; sphagnum moss) and mixed it throughout each level. The raised garden uses a LOT of soil. The bottom tier goes all the way to the back, so we were not just filling each “third.” I think we used something like 10 bags of black kow, 10 bags of vermiculite, and the same proportion of sphagnum moss that we bought in a larger size. The garden was pretty easy to put together, but we did buy a 4ft x 4ft slab of plywood so that the garden had a bottom. This allowed us to fill the garden with the mix.

The next thing to do was decide what type of plants to put into the garden. This spot gets a lot of sun, probably between 8 and 10 hours, and has a fair amount of space. ¬†Recently, Nate and I have been going to the Farmer’s Market just down the street from our house. There are several vendors there that sell tiny seedlings that look pretty well take care of. Between the two squarefoot gardens we only had one tomato plant and one pepper plant and since we like both we decided to buy additional plants. We ended up getting eight tomato plants and I planted 4 cherry tomato plants on the first level and 4 big beef tomato plants on the second level.

First two levels with tomato plants
Here I am planting the tomatoes!

The deck is the perfect spot for the tomato plants because they get plenty of sun. I read somewhere that they should get at least 8 hours of sun daily. These tomato plants have really taken off. So much so that within two weeks I had to purchase tomato trellises for each plant! The most exciting news is that the Early Girl cherry tomatoes have flowered and each one is fruiting. I am hoping that within the next week or so we will have a few ripe tomatoes.

Early girl tomatoes
Soaker hose set-up; tomato cages

Watering the tomatoes takes some careful planning. It can be bad to water on the leaves as this promotes fungal growth. I was watering from a hose with a nozzle attachment. Recently, with Nate’s help, we installed soaking hoses where the water drips downward. This way I can be sure that the roots of the plants will be directly watered. In addition, this hose is hooked up to a timer so I have it set to water once a day for 20 minutes. This may change depending on how soaked the beds get with each watering.

Now, the pepper plants have been hit or miss. I bought three from the Farmer’s Market, but one of them went kaput pretty early on. I also bought a bell pepper plant from Ace hardware that had two baby peppers and one fell off. The other pepper plants seem to be growing well, despite earlier mishaps. Hopefully, a little bit later on I will have better news regarding the pepper plants!

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