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Planting Tips

(click on photo to see enlargement)

This was not new to Troy, but might be new to some of you. The photo enlargements speak for themselves.

If you purchase a tomato plant, don't just stick it into the ground at the root level of the pot.

See the directions in the photos at left, and rip down (don't cut) either the lower main branch, of if they're close together, the two main bottom branches of your tomato plant just before planting. This will create new roots to grow here.

When you plant it, do so at the planting level shown. Of course you want the biggest plants possible, but you'll get them later down the line. In the meanwhile, you are creating two "root balls" — the larger the roots, the better fed, the stronger your plants and hopefully, larger tomatoes.

Allow about two feet between plants on all sides.

If you haven't prepared a "bed" for your tomatoes, dig a hole about 12-24 inches deep and 18 inches wide for each plant. Fill the hole with a combination of steer manure or other organic compost, and planting soil. Before you plant, test how fast your hole drains. If it's empty in five minutes, you have fairly good drainage and can water more often. If it takes 10 minutes to drain, try hard to not over water your plants.

Other tips: If you find some critter digging around your plants, spread a generous amount of hot Chile pepper flakes over the ground. If you have skunks skulking around, we've heard that fox urine (found at OSH and other garden supply stores) sprinkled around your garden will dissuade them.

Palo Alto, California

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