Friday, May 8, 2009

Gardening Junk...

It's been exactly 3 weeks since I planted my seeds. Here's what I got so far:

Okay - those big plants there are tomato plants I bought this past week. Those little things on the bottom that look like weeds are grape tomatoes. The middle things in the white containers are cucumbers. The long things to the left are yellow squash and the long things to the right are zucchini. I think they are in desperate need of going into the ground but I think it might still be too soon here. I don't know. Off to Google it after this post.

I was just chatting to my friend Celeste from Itty Bitty Bistro yesterday. She bought 2 tomato plants. She gave me some good tips for good growing (these might be basic knowledge to real gardeners - but I didn't know them!).

1. Tomato plants like egg shells. When you plant, throw some crushed up egg shells near the roots to help them grow strong.
2. Plant deep.
3. Snip off smaller stems off the main stem. This will help the plant channel all of it's energy into the main stems. Less tomatoes, but better tomatoes.

As in all things in life, I like to be cheap. I could spend money on fancy tomato cages but I won't. Here's an image I took from The plant on the right has a cage, the plants on the left are tied to stakes. I'm going to try what I like to call "A poor person's version of the stakes."

Here's what I am doing:

I took an old, stained crib sheet and ripped it up into strips.

We've been doing lots of home improvements. Plus, the old owners of our home left a ton of scrap wood in the basement. I'm going to cut this wood into stakes and use my crib sheet strips to tie the plant up. Cost to me: $0. Will is work? I hope so.

If you have any great, cheap (or free!) gardening tips, I'd love to hear them! Also - I was thinking of my apartment living friends when I was at Lambert's the other day. They had great big patio tomato plants for only $9.98! I have to admit too - I'm secretly obsessed with the Topsy Turvy! I want one. Like bad. No real reason then it looks cool. Mother's Day is coming up...maybe I can drop some hints to the husband (although, at the rate I'm going, we're going to have tomatoes growing out of our ears!).

***Update! I found a great blog that talks about gardening in "normal" talk! Green Peony! He has a great post HERE about when to plant and explains plant terms in simple ways (the only way I can comprehend stuff). By the way - us Massachusettians should plant closer to Memorial Day- so about 2 1/2 more weeks! I hope I can keep my little plants alive that long! Thanks Green Peony!***


homeschool mamma said...

Hi Becky,
I'm in Rhode Island and have always planted on Mother's Day. No problem. Set the plants outside today to harden them off and you should be fine. Plant Marigolds around the tomatoes it will deter the bugs and you can plant the tomatos very deep-they like it.
Also try joining in your area. It's a posting of all free stuff. I got some metal tomato stakes this way as well as tons of stuff for house. And cleaned a few closets by giving stuff away. It also saves our landfills from garbage by repurposing things you no longer need.

BECKY! said...

Thanks Bev! Maybe I will try at least the tomatoes and squash next week.

I do like Freecycle! I got a practically new bathroom vanity off it! Def. a good resource! I need to clean out my closets big time!

Thanks again!

Jen B said...

Hi Becky,
I recently found your blog and have been enjoying reading about your adventures : ) Here in eastern MA (which I think you're in, I am), we're in Zone 6 and the last expected frost date is around May 10th, as Bev indicated. You can google USDA Plant Hardiness map to check it out. At least you've started your seeds, mine are still in packets, waiting for a new fence to go up around our garden.
Good luck!

Jane Ellis said...

The best way to support your tomato plants is with The Tomato Stake.

Easier to use than metal cages or upside down planters, stronger than bamboo and won't rot like wood stakes. The built-in twist-tie supports make tying your tomato plants easy!