Follow these simple steps to give your plants a good start this growing season.
1 of 4Illustration by Melanie Magee
Buy seeds or ready-for-the-garden heirloom plants online or at your local farmers’ market or nursery. Some heirlooms are available only as seeds, which you should start indoors in small peat pots or trays. When plants are mature enough, plant them in your kitchen garden, raised beds, or large containers. You can even tuck a few into your flowerbeds.
2 of 4Illustration by Melanie Magee
Plant tomatoes in warm soil after all danger of frost has passed. First, remove the lower leaves of your tomato plants with clippers or sharp scissors. If your plants are in peat pots, you can plant the pots, too, if you like. Before planting, be sure that the pots are moist. You can also slightly crush the pots with your hands to help break them up a bit.
3 of 4Illustration by Melanie Magee
For each plant, dig a deep hole with a trowel or shovel. Mix in a generous amount of leaf mold, mushroom compost, or composted manure, such as Black Kow. This will help enrich your soil and improve drainage. Place your plant in the hole, and bury it up to the first two leaflets on the plant. The plant will develop roots along the entire buried portion of the stem.
4 of 4Illustration by Melanie Magee
Firm the soil around the plant. Top-dress with a fertilizer such as Dynamite Mater Magic 5-5-9. Mulch with a thick layer of pine or wheat straw around the base of the tomato plant, and then water well. Mulching your plants before watering helps prevent soilborne diseases from splashing onto the foliage. Provide a sturdy trellis, stake, or cage for support.