A while ago my mother had started all these tomato seedlings and didn’t know what to do with them. I told her that we wanted to start some sort of vegetable garden and she gave me this tomato plant. Because I am not one that possesses “green fingers” as they say, I thought this was one plant. I sent my mom this photo and she said, nope, you’ve got six. Yikes. If you are familiar with tomato plants you will know that they can get kind of wild. As in bushy and all over the place. Some people use rotten tomatoes to start their plants, others take cherry tomatoes and just bury them. I find that using a seedling is much easier to work with.
Planting in a planter
Luckily, the boyfriend is a man of many talents, so he said he would build a planter for the tomatoes. We got some bricks from his dad and he stacked them into a box form to make a planter. He didn’t use any cement. When we eventually move to an actual house, we can just move the bricks and turn them into something permanent.
A week ago, the boyfriend was cleaning the roof and I was helping by taking buckets full of leaves and other debris and dumping them outside. Afterwards, he built our tomato planter. It came out really great (see photos below).
I wanted to build the planter with a raised bottom so that we wouldn’t need as much potting soil, but we didn’t have enough bricks. As I mentioned earlier, the boyfriend a genius. so he said what about we use all of the roof debris (which is basically rotten leaves, aka compost). He added all of that to the bottom of the planter and then we only had to add about a bag and a half of potting soil before I could plant the tomatoes. I will probably add more potting soil later as the tomatoes start to get bigger, but for now, they are looking quite content.
Caring for our tomatoes
I feed the tomatoes (and all our other plants) about once a week with SeaGro which is organic plant food and a general fertiliser that you can use on any plant. Also, because it is organic (it’s a fish emulsion – yeah it stinks), it doesn’t burn the plants as some other fertilisers do, and you really can’t overfeed your plants, which is great for me because I don’t like measuring things. Another great organic option you can try is any fertilizer made from worm castings (yes, worm poop, aka worm tea).
You can buy worm castings fertilizer here.
We ordered a vertical hydroponics system that should be here next week, so I will need to find out if I can use SeaGro in that system as well. Hydroponics is a bit more complicated than soil. All the nutrients not absorbed by the plants stay in the system, so there is a lot of testing and monitoring going on.
What to do with all the tomatoes?
Back to my tomatoes! So it seems we will be able to harvest the tomatoes during April. This is good because I’m 100% sure the frost will kill them in winter. I don’t know frost at all where I come from, so the little I do know about plants is now even less.
Since we have SIX tomato plants, I’m sure that somewhere along the line we will have a ton of tomatoes. The boyfriend is obsessed with Ina Paarman’s Sundried Tomatoes. I’m pretty sure he will leave me for her if I don’t get these tomatoes going. I will probably also make tomato jam as well as salsa. All of which you can bottle until you use it. I think the boyfriend will need to build a new cabinet in which to store all the bottles. Then when the end times come, we will at least be able to feast on salsa and chips