Dateline: 7 November 2013
Those of you reading this who have a copy of The Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners know all about my "low-rider" tire beds and how useful they are in the garden. One of the uses for these handy little beds is for experimenting on a small scale with new gardening ideas. That's what this blog post is about—a new gardening idea. At least it's new to me.
The usual way to start tomato plants in the spring is to seed them into flats inside and transplant the seedlings outdoors when the weather warms. I wrote about how we start tomato seedlings without grow lights and heat mats and all of that earlier this year (Click Here to read).
But I was recently listening to This Resilient Life Podcast with Jere Gettle from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and he briefly mentioned a tomato-starting idea that never occurred to me. It makes a lot of sense.
Is it possible to completely eliminate the fuss of starting tomato seeds indoors every spring by simply "planting" some tomatoes off the vine into the garden in the fall?
Jere mentioned doing this with an heirloom cherry tomato. Well, I'm particularly fond of the Tommy Toe tomato…
|Tommy Toe tomatoes in my garden.|
(click to see a larger view)
My garden idea book fully explains how I grow Tommy Toe tomatoes on a string trellis. Three plants, properly trained on a T-post trellis, will produce an abundance of tomatoes. You can get some insights into my technique from the Planet Whizbag T-Post Trellis Instructional Web Site.
So, as the picture at the top of this page shows, I have planted tomatoes in my fall garden. I simply picked some old Tommy Toes off the frost-killed plants, mooshed and chopped them to get the seeds spread out, and covered them with a little soil. I also spread a light straw mulch over the "nursery bed."
In the spring, six weeks or so before planting, when I would typically be starting the Tommy Toe plants indoors, I will remove the straw mulch and put a Planet Whizbang solar pyramid over the bed. You can see one of these pyramids at the seed starting link I gave above, and you can learn how to make them in The Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners.
We will see if the seeds in those old tomatoes grow in the spring. All I need is three hardy transplants out of the nursery bed to make my string trellis for next year's garden. I'll report on the success (or not) of this idea next spring.
Has anyone else intentionally planted tomatoes like this? If so, please tell us how it worked for you in the comments section below.