One Tomato, Two Tomato…

…three tomato, four! I know that’s not the way the rhyme goes, but that’s the way I have felt in this Week Of Planting Tomatoes.

The tomato planting frenzy started Wednesday, when I planted 200 or so tomatoes in our Master Gardener food pantry garden. We also planted cantaloupes and watermelons that day, which means we pretty much have everything in the ground there except peppers. Fellow MG and project leader Grant got this photo of me with our historic cabin garden in the background. It was HOT that day, with afternoon temps around 85F. That’s definitely shorts weather! We worked about 2.5 hours getting all the plants in the ground.

planting tomatoes at the MG veggie garden

Yesterday I got the rest of our tomatoes in the ground at Happy Acres. I planted 7 paste tomatoes, which joined the 28 plants already planted. I also got the summer and winter squash planted. There was a chance of rain last night, and I wanted to get things in while the soil was reasonably dry. Thankfully the rain did not materialize. We’ve had enough for awhile.

Behind the greenhouse, the cherry tomatoes Sweet Baby Girl and Sun Gold have just started blooming, which should mean a few tomatoes in June. The first tomatoes of the season are always a welcome sight, even if they are small! I planted 6 varieties there on April 14th to take advantage of the warm microclimate, and they are loving it.

Sun Gold tomato blooming

And this morning, we planted about 100 tomatoes in our church food pantry garden. It’s still looking for an “official” name, so for now that description will have to do. We also planted about 35 pepper plants and 100 yellow squash and zucchinis. We are still trying to get our potatoes in the ground for this project. We’ve cut 150 pounds of seed potatoes, and we are anxious to get them going. We had to delay (again) because the Ohio river is flooding and the field is under water. We are lucky we didn’t get them planted earlier, because they would be floating down the river by now!

After the cold front went through last night, temps this morning were MUCH cooler – around 50F with north winds about 20MPH. That called for sweatshirts and jackets. I skipped my usual wide brim garden hat and opted for a ball cap. It wasn’t exactly shorts weather either! I’d much rather work in those conditions than in the heat we had earlier in the week. My wife got this photo of our lovely planting crew. We’ll have another planting session soon for the green beans and cucumbers. And once the flooded ground dries out we’ll plant lots of sweet corn there with a tractor. Southern Indiana is corn country, after all, and everyone loves sweet corn!

planting crew at the church veggie garden

Out of the almost 1000 tomatoes, peppers and eggplants I started from seed, only about 150 or so remain. I still have a few tomatoes to give to friends and neighbors, and a few I need to keep for spares in case we lose some of those already planted. I also need to get my own peppers and eggplants planted, which I hope to get done in the next couple of days. This is usually the time of year I breathe a big sigh of relief. There’s plenty of more work to be done in the various gardens, but for the rest of today I am going to take it easy!

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9 Responses to One Tomato, Two Tomato…

  1. Ali says:

    Wow, 1K seedlings! That is HUGE! Did you start them all in your greenhouse? That looks like a very large food pantry garden. How many MGs volunteer there? I am still trying to figure out what my project will be. I will be going in out of country which makes it more complicated. I am certain I will learn a lot whatever I do.
    Love that Indiana sweet corn, and strawberries! My best friend is from Kokomo, and I loved visiting her family at strawberry time, as her mom had a large patch — heaven!

    • Villager says:

      Ali, I started the seedlings in the basement under fluorescent lights, then moved them to the greenhouse when they were 3-4 weeks old and the temps stayed above freezing in the GH.

      There are about 5-6 MGs who usually help with the growing, planting, weeding and mulching of the food pantry garden, and a dedicated group of about a dozen who do the harvesting from June-October. The garden is about 1/3 acre in size.

      It’s strawberry time here in So. Indiana. We should have a few soon!

  2. That is a whole lot of tomatoes! How fun! We reserved a few plants this year, just in case…especially with our persistent deer (who broke through our deer fence last night). Some of the heirlooms I know we can’t just run out and buy replacements for, and they take so long to raise from seed…always easier to keep a few extra. Our Sungold and Salisaw Cafe are just now blooming, and I can’t wait for tomato season to really get rolling. I hope once all the tomatoes are producing in your MG garden that you’ll have plenty of help for harvesting!

    • Villager says:

      I had to go look up Salisaw Cafe – that was a new one to me. I have too many varieties as it is. I think I need a Tomato Intervention!

  3. Kimberly says:

    Gee, I was so proud of myself for growing about 40 (eleven different kinds) heirloom tomatoes. My first from seed. They are going in the garden on Thursday. 1000 is amazing. How cool.
    Do you have a favorite?

    • Villager says:

      Congratulations on growing your own tomatoes. 40 is a very impressive number!

      A favorite tomato? That’s a tough call. If I could only grow one, it would be Juliet. It is great for drying, very prolific, a nice tomato for salads, plus it can be roasted or grilled. It’s the only variety I am growing more than one of!

  4. Shawn Ann says:

    that is a great Idea for your church to have a food pantry garden. Maybe if our church ever has a building and land of it’s own, I’ll have to think about starting one!That’s a pretty good group you have.

    • Villager says:

      The two garden spots we are using are a few miles from the church. The land actually belongs to one of our member’s family. Several of our local churches have started community gardens, but as far as I know they aren’t growing food for the food banks.

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