Plants – Leggy Tomato Seedlings? No Problem!

A few weeks ago I planted four tomato seeds in each of fourteen Solo party cups. Most sprouted and I’ve already snipped away the extras leaving only two sprouts to continue growing. Snipping makes more sense than pulling the tiny plantlets up. There’s no chance of disturbing the remaining roots if you snip the sprout off near the soil.

Today I will choose the sturdiest plant in each cup and snip off the other. I also will add more soil to the cup, topping off near the rim. Did you know that tomato plants develop more roots along the stem if you plant them deep or add more soil?

Here’s a great article in the Spruce with good tips on growing excellent tomatoes:
Growing Strong Tomatoes

Plants – Straw Bale Gardening Update


The Straw Bale Garden experiment has been a bountiful success. These are just the latest harvest of tomatoes. I’m on my way out after I post to take a few of these beauties to my father. He is a fan of tomato sandwiches for lunch! I love having an overabundance of harvest to share. O Happy Day! What a blessing.

Planting – Belling the Tomatoes


My tomatoes are beginning to set fruit and ripen. This is prime time for squirrels and other wildlife to begin taking a bite here and there, ruining countless tomatoes over the course of the summer. My neighbor, a terrific gardener, told me the squirrels do this to quench their thirst when the weather becomes dry. I have a bird bath in the center of my Square Foot Gardens this year. Hopefully, the squirrels will use this rather than nibble at my beautiful, red tomatoes.


In case this doesn’t satisfy them, I have “belled” the plants with large Christmas bells I set aside in December. I have red ones to mimic the red fruit, a few greens to resemble the unripe tomatoes. If biting into a hard piece of metal doesn’t deter the squirrels perhaps the “ting-a-ling-ling” will scare them away. If none of this works I will cut a few pieces of fresh garlic and push it inside the bell.

I’ve tried this same idea with plain Christmas balls in the past, and had a bit of success mixed with a few half-eaten casualties. I am hoping the addition of what I think might be a “scary” sound to a squirrel will work even better this year.

Planting – The Great Tomato Saga Part III – To Fertilize Or Not To Fertilize?


I have over a dozen tomatoes planted in my Square Foot Garden. I started them from seed in the house this year. The tomatoes are doing okay, but not producing growth to rave about.


The potted tomatoes were sown from the same seed packets, and grown in exactly the same conditions. The only difference is that these tomatoes are planted in pots of Whitney Farms Organic Potting Soil. This is a terrific soil loaded with natural fertilizers. OH MY! Compare the color of the leaves to the first photograph, and take a look at the size of the plants. The tomatoes in the pots are much greener and in some cases more than double the size. The potted plants are already setting blossoms. In hopes of helping them catch them up, I side-dressed the Square Foot Garden plants with organic fertilizer. I think in the case of the tomatoes I need to do a little bit more than the manual recommends. I’ll update in a few weeks.