By Michael Nolan
Mother Nature just doesn’t seem to want to agree with my timetable for planting tomatoes this year.
Severe thunderstorms and sporadic tornado warnings notwithstanding, the temperatures will go from a balmy and beautiful 75 for several days and then plummet rather suddenly to the 30s overnight.
As any true tomato gardener knows, these conditions are just not helping me start this year’s crop.
It was just last week that I finally started the first of my tomato seeds indoors. Yes, I realize I’m late, but you seriously wouldn’t believe the weather.
Thus far this year I hope to enjoy:
- Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato (that I wrote about recently)
- a new strain (to me) of the Red Brandywine tomato from Landis Valley
- Abraham Lincoln original tomato (look for a post about this variety coming later this week)
- African Beefsteak
- Grandpa’s Cock’s Plume
- German Queen
If you’re following my heirloom tomato inheritance saga, you realize that I still have ten heirloom varieties that I haven’t started yet. I’m not sure if I am going to take on any more new varieties this year but with God as my witness, I will never go without a tomato on my plate again!
I’m taking a bit of a risk this time around the sun and only starting with two plants of each variety. I’ve chosen to do this mainly because of the sheer number of heirloom varieties that I want to experiment with this year.
Because so much of my time is taken up with writing I want to be able to spend an adequate amount of time with each heirloom tomato plant so that we can get to know each other.
So now you know the hidden truth; Michael is a plant whisperer.
I talk to every plant I own, even the cacti that keep my cat out of my living room picture window. In reality I have seen a notable difference in the overall health and yield of my tomato plants when I spend time touching and talking to them.
In closing, I want to leave the newbies with a few tomato whispering tips:
1. Your friends and family will think you are crazy when they see you talking to your tomato plants. Go with it. Get a big wide-brim hat and paint some bright red tomatoes on your gardening clogs.
2. Name your plants. When you go outside, tell your family that it is time to go take care of the kids.
3. If you play music for your tomato plants, they don’t like REO Speedwagon. Go with classical or even country. Trust me on this.