Monday, May 21, 2012

Growing Tomatoes

We had the most fantastic weather over the weekend.  It was in the 80's and the sun was shining!  So, of course, Craig and I took advantage of this and spent most of our time on our patio.  We took our little tomato plants outside and transplanted them -

Here's what we did.  We made a stop at Lowe's and picked up four galvanized buckets.  I chose these for a few reasons.  

- They are portable.  If we need to tuck them into the garage for a night to fend off the cold, we can.
- They fit nicely on the patio.  And since we are out here all of the time, it will be easy to remember to water them.  :-)
- There was no other obvious place to plant them.  I had thought about making raised beds, but there really isn't a great location in the yard.  We have a lot of trees - and a lot of shade.  They will get plenty of sun on the patio.
- I loved the look of the buckets.  And the $20 per bucket cost (ouch) is only a one time deal.  Next year, this project will be a lot less expensive.  (On a side note, Craig wiped the outside of the buckets with WD-40 to help prevent rust.  These buckets should look great for years)

We started by adding a layer of gravel to the bottom of the buckets for proper drainage.  I already had the leftover stone from my flower pots.  

Next up, organic soil.  We added a few inches of soil to the buckets  

At this point, we added a small piece of pipe (that we had) so we could test the amount of water at the bottom of the bucket.  A simple dipstick will help us keep the watering consistent.  We don't want these plants to get too much or too little water.  Next up was the organic fertilizer.  We sprinkled some in according to the instructions on the package.

Then, we filled the bucket with more soil.

Next step - clipping the tomato plants.  

See those little off shoots?  They had to go.

Then, into the bucket - 

They are still little, so we tied them up to pieces of bamboo that I picked up at the dollar store.

And, we are on our way to some delicious homegrown tomatoes.  Yay!  I'm super excited about this little garden.  I've wanted to try growing vegetables for years but never made the commitment.  Btw, we also planted some cucumbers but there isn't much to see yet.  I'll share some pictures as soon as they poke through the soil.

So, did anyone else start a garden?  Do you have an tips?  I'm completely new at this - and would love some advice!  

And I have a winner for my Gourmet Gift Basket giveaway - Congratulations to Audrey!  I've already forwarded your information to my rep!

And...Stop back tomorrow - I have another giveaway!  Woohoo!