I was going to hold off on mentioning a word about it until after closing, but given my current garden situation I have no choice. My husband and I are officially buying a house and expecting to close within the next few weeks! As absolutely excited as I am, it has also been very stressful. Aside from the typical stress associated with buying a 200+ year old home, it is planting season! I had to accept (no matter how hard it was) the fact that I wouldn't be able to swing my massive garden this year. But my beautiful, textbook perfect heirlooms that I started from seed and have been nurturing and doting on hand and foot have to be planted. That's one thing that I can't budge on. I can't plant them where I live now (because I'm moving obviously) and the new house is getting a brand new septic system and leach bed whose location is up in the air at the moment. Although I got permission to plant at the new house before closing, I couldn't safely plant them anywhere for fear they would get dug up or plowed over with heavy equipment.
My only option was to find a way to temporarily plant them for now and risk transplant later once we are moved in and the septic is squared away. I can't say for sure this will work, and I have my fears that they won't do well if transplanted again when they're bigger. But, I am also afraid that if they stay in the containers then they will get root bound and die. I definitely am taking a bit of a gamble, but I have them started and I have to at least give it a shot. I will be keeping my fingers crossed on this one, and keep you posted!
Just a note, that if you are planting tomatoes in your garden, these are the same steps you would take! You just don't need to find containers to put them in or a good loom/compost mix!
I had 26 tomato plants (after I gave away a bakers dozen when I knew we were moving) and I needed containers to keep them in temporarily. I knew that I would need to basically destroy the containers by drilling a few one inch holes in the bottoms to drain, so buying something new wasn't an option. I also needed a container that would be big enough to contain them if the septic takes a few more weeks until completed, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money because again it is temporary and they will be essentially ruined. Home Depot carries 5 gallon buckets for $3 a piece, which doesn't sound too bad, but when you multiply that by 26 plants, $78 seems a bit ridiculous. So off to Craigslist I went! I ended up finding a guy 15 minutes away that had 19 buckets he let me have for $15. I had a few already, so in total I had 22 buckets and gave my friend four more plants and called it a day.
Proper Planting Soil
Now that I had my containers, I needed quality soil to put in them. The "soil" at my current house is basically garbage. We determined that it is fill, so it's a gravely/sandy consistency that's nutrient deprived and just isn't good for growing vegetables. I found a local company that sells a loom and compost (chicken manure, various organic matter) 50/50 mix for $20 a truckload which I jumped on. Even though this is a temporary situation, if they don't have quality soil, they won't grow well! Now that I had my containers and soil squared away I could finally plant!
Prepare Your Containers
5. Make sure your plants and the soil are thoroughly moistened so the entire root and associated soil comes with it so you don't cause any damage when removing them from the planter. I used biodegradable pea pots so that I didn't have to stress the plants out when transplanting them. I think that even though they're biodegradable, they can slow the growth of the plant if you let the roots fully break through. So when transplanting from these pots, I rip the bottom portion off just to give the roots a helping hand.
6. Stick the plants in the prepared hole, and cover with soil. Mound soil up to the first set of true leaves if the hole wasn't dug deep enough (or just remove the plant and re-dig it!). Be sure to press soil down to pack it and secure the plant. This will provide support to the stem and base of the plant.
7. Repeat until all of your buckets are full! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the septic design will be approved next week, and they will break ground very shortly afterwards so I can put these puppies in the ground!
I am going to have to experiment with how much sun these can handle. I want them to get as much sun as possible (because tomatoes love sun) but, I am concerned about the soil getting too hot contained in the bucket and frying the roots. This week is going to be hot, so I will have to keep a close eye on them. Luckily, they are portable! So I can move them in the shade if appear to be getting too much sun.
If you are not temporarily transplanting tomatoes and are putting them in their permanent spot (which for your sake I hope you are) then these same steps apply! Thoroughly wet your soil, dig a deep hole, add your soil additives if you have them, and cover up to the first set of true leaves! HAPPY PLANTING!
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