Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tomato fertilization: crazy talk?

A little early to be talking about this, but when there is a vegetable garden involved, tomatoes invariably come to mind (if you don't like tomatoes, BLASPHEMY! ;)

Anyways, the first year I ever grew tomatoes was embarassing.  I didn't quite understand the concept of pinching off the suckers/off shoots/axis shoots, and ended up with a BARE tomato stem with a mere 3 leaves per tomato plant.  So stupid...

The year after that (and learning to be smarter, I did real research) I planted my tomato seedlings to their first axis and gave them a cute foil ring around the base and just below the surface of the stem to prevent dreaded cut worms (which I have never encounter, yea!)  Prior to planting the tomato seedlings though, I placed a whole uncracked raw egg at the bottom of the hole.

I read in theory, there's sulfur in the egg and nutrients such as calcium in it that will make your tomato grow well.  I admit, the tomatoes went GANGBUSTERS that year (though anything compared to my first year might be considered awesome).

I would like to add that after I pulled up my tomatoes at the end of the season my dog got VERY interested in the hole the tomato was in and as it turned out, at least one egg was still uncracked and chilling just fine where I first placed it so many months ago.

Of course until my dog decided she wanted to eat it.

Then the egg cracked and the smell proved that no, not fresh anymore ;P  Ick.

Anyways, as I continue to read and learn about gardening (because it never stops?!) I keep running into all sorts of random thoughts and ideas as to how best to fertilize or give your tomato plants a good start. 

A recent tip was to add hair to the hole you're planting your tomatoes in, because of the "trace amounts of sulfur" in your hair (your hair does smell sulfur-y when it's burnt).  Unless you've been saving your hair... (which I do... I always figured that it was compostable anyways and it's so easy to save when it's in your  brush or on the shower floor, sorry for that image, I know some of you are squeamish about hair), but I also can only assume my dog's fur/hair would work in the same concept and considering the way she sheds, it's great to find the dog is still finding ways to pay her way in this house!

If only she was a reliable hole digger...

Another tip was to use leftover raw fish parts/bones to bury in with your tomato plant.  You think cats like fish? Well so does my dog.  Actually, she LOVES fish. She ended up having to be quarantined from the yard for some weeks after that. 

Anyone else have any interesting or bizarre "How to fertilize your tomato plants?" ideas/tips that I might be unaware of?  (compost tea, and seaweed excepting)  It's interesting to see what our tomato-phile loving culture does to make the best and most delicious 'maters!