33May 24, 2018
Memorial Day weekend is this weekend. Traditionally, this is the weekend to plant your vegetable garden and to plant your annual flowers in your flower beds, window boxes and other containers. The forecast sounds like we have made it past the lousy weather. Let’s get planting. Here are a few things for you to think about before you begin.
If you are going to be planting tomato plants in pots, you need to have a big-enough pot for the tomato plant. If you read the tag that comes with the tomato plant, the tag will tell you to space the tomato plants 3 feet apart in rows 3 feet apart.
What the tag is telling you is that each tomato plant needs a 3-foot-by-3-foot area to grow. The reason is that the tomato plant is going to get big, and it will need a big area for its root system to grow. The root system supplies water and nutrients for the proper growth of the plant. Ultimately, the root system supplies the food and water to make those tomatoes ripen.
If you are going to grow a tomato plant in a pot, the plant still needs a lot of room to grow. For this reason, you need to be using a pot that, at a minimum, is 14 inches in diameter and just as deep. This will give the plant room to grow, and it will allow enough room for a large volume of potting soil in the pot. This soil is where the roots grow and where the water and nutrients are stored for proper plant growth.
Personally, if I am going to plant a large-growing variety of tomato plant, I will use a 20- to 24-inch pot. By using a larger pot, with only one plant in the pot, you will get more tomatoes from that one plant. I will repeat that if you are going to plant tomatoes in containers, use a large pot filled with potting soil, and put only one plant in each container.
When your plants are grown in containers, it can be difficult to get enough water to those plants on the hot summer days. There is a product called Soil Moist that you can add to the soil at the time you are putting your plants into your containers. Soil Moist is a polymer that holds water. It comes in containers of various sizes, and it is in a granular form. The granules look a little bit like grains of sugar. I usually add Soil Moist to a bucket of water and allow it to absorb the water. I will then mix it with the potting soil as I pot up my plants.
Once the plants are in their containers, you will need to water the soil to keep the plants growing. As you water the plants, Soil Moist will absorb any excess water. As the soil begins to dry over time, Soil Moist releases water back into the soil. This helps keep the soil moist during those times when it is hard to keep up with watering your plants.
I will add Soil Moist to the soil when I am potting up my tomato plants. If you allow your tomato plants to dry out, the plants can develop that black patch on the bottom of the tomato. This is called blossom end rot. You can help prevent it by keeping the soil evenly moist all the time. By adding Soil Moist, you can prevent the fluctuation in moisture in the soil that causes blossom end rot.
It is important to remember that along with water, your plants need nutrients all season long. If you get a flowering hanging basket, it looks beautiful in the beginning and then the plant begins to have fewer and fewer flowers. The reason is that the flowering hanging baskets need a steady supply of nutrients to keep those flowers coming.
The same applies for window boxes and any other container-grown plant. You also should be fertilizing your vegetable garden on a regular schedule. Your perennials and rosebushes will benefit from regular applications of fertilizer, too. Keep in mind that when you see a beautiful garden in someone’s yard that one of the reasons that those plants look so good is because those plants get fertilizer on a regular schedule.
Well, that’s all for this week. I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. I’ll talk to you again next week.