Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Got My Tomatoes!

Instead of my usual trip to Portland State's Farmers Market to buy my tomatoes from my favorite vendor, I broke down at Portland Nursery on Friday on the way home from work and got them.  I couldn't wait...

My babies.

The pole is from an old Concord grape that I got rid of - Grapes are yucky.
The garden was tilled a few weeks ago, with the addition of a few soil amendments. Other than pulling out some grass clumps that were popping up and some raking, I was ready to go. I was just waiting for a nice sunny day.  I know that I skirt things a little early temperature-wise, but I often plant mid-April, so I'm a little late this year. 
My assistant Yvette.
Grass naps are amazing!
I planted (crammed in) carrots, parsnips, Japanese radishes, mesclun lettuce mix, mustard greens, celery, turnips, patty-pan squash, yellow zucchini, Brussels sprouts, romanesco, and lemon cucumbers. 

Bone meal and veggie/tomato fertilizer.
When planting tomatoes - I like to mix in a little bone meal and a tomato fertilizer into the planting hole. I also plant the plants as deep as possible (or plant sideways, with the top tipped up), this means some of the leaves get covered up.

I dig a circle out around the plant, so that when I water, there is a well around the base of the plant and the water stays put. The hill of dirt around the plant does spread out with the first watering in, but there is still a nice well for the water. Makes it a lot easier when the plants are large and I can't see under them.

Then I set the cages over the top and mulch around them with my grass clippings to help keep the weeds down and keep the moisture in. A sturdy cage is a must! Cannot stress that enough.

This year's tomato list is: 

  • Azoyschka
  • Brandywine Red
  • Brandywine Yellow
  • Japanese Black Trifele
  • Jaune Flame
  • Moskovich
  • Paul Robeson
  • Stupice
  • Yellow Perfection - First time growing this one.

I'm still on the lookout for Caspian Pink, which is my all time favorite.

and bob's your uncle - Here is a picture from 2012.


  1. Holy tomatoes! Matthew, I think you win the tidiest garden award. My goodness. And, great tip on using the grass clippings for moisture retention. Where did you find such sturdy cages? I am struggling to find something lasting. Cheers, Jenni

  2. Yikes...I'm so far behind the game when it comes to my veggies, I'm jealous of your garden.

    BTW, I can never ever be allowed to visit your garden, I think I would probably steal Yvette. I can't believe I forgot about her when I stupidly asked you if you had any pets at the GB plant swap gathering, she is just too stinkin cute.

  3. @Jenni - The cages are from Portland Nursery and Farmington Gardens. They range between $17 and $25 depending where you buy them but they last forever. I am a firm believer in a square cage too - they are less "tippy" and can support the weight of a mature tomato plant after a big summer rain. Also they fold flat for easy storage. I have had too many disasters with the cheap wire hoop ones, those are best used as supports for peonies.

    @danger - You'd bring Yvette back after she broke a bunch of your special expensive plants. She has a habit of doing that.

  4. Beautiful setup! I completely agree with you about Caspian Pink tomatoes. Yvette is adorable!

  5. Caspian Pink is my all time favorite! It really has the best flavor. I love that you can have one slice and it will cover your entire BLT. The red Brandywine is a close second, but just not as good in my mind.

  6. I'd steal them as well , I love French bull dogs ! I have been told that that ' Red pear' is the tastiest meatiest tomato ....can't find it