Friday, April 16, 2010

Is it too early to plant tomatoes?

is it a pumpkin, or a tomato?
Have you seen those poor, shivering tomato plants out at the garden centers? Or that robust basil freshly yanked from the greenhouse and propped up for you to buy? Yeah, I have too. And I've even seen some of these in your shopping carts, people. I've been tempted to go up to you and tap you on the shoulder, smile a big smile, and in my sweetest voice, suggest you wait until June to put those bad boys out in your garden. But then I'd be the psycho garden lady and that wouldn't be good. Or would it? Hmmmm....

My column today out on the street includes a wonderful visit I had with my friends at the Gay Guys Garden club, and a little ditty on what to do in the garden. To help you out, here's some great ideas of things to be doing in your Portland area garden now....

Yes, it’s too early to put out tomatoes in your garden. I know you may see them in the stores but it’s all a ploy to get you to buy them, kill them, then have to buy them again. It’s also to put out basil, corn and eggplant. I know you’re excited, but just wait. There’s plenty of other things you can get going on now in mid to late April:
• Plant strawberries and other berries
• Set out transplants of lettuce, spinach, broccoli and leafy greens
• Start seeds indoors for hot weather plants like tomatoes, basil and eggplant
• Have you thought about your watering plans for this summer? Get a jump start now to get in those soaker hoses or drip irrigation, and be thankful for a summer not spent tied to the hose.
• And finally, our wet spring is high time for slugs. Check out WorryFree Slug and Snail bait, a safe bait to get those slimy slugs but keep your dogs and children safe.

9 comments:

A Lewis said...

I do know that it's certainly not too early to EAT them!

danger garden said...

Ah come on...be the psycho garden lady! Somebody has to do it...

bldrnrpdx said...

A week or two ago, I was at Farmer's Market at PSU and saw a sign that said "Where are the tomato plants? It's APRIL for crying out loud! It's still too cold for tomato plants!"

Anonymous said...

Funny here in Dallas Texas if you plants are not in the ground by around March 15 your harvest is going to be pretty slim pickings. The hardcore people have them n the ground around February 11. Our unforgiving summer heat knocks the plants out of commission early. Of course none of the big box stores sell them at the right time, so many people here think they can not grow tomatoes. I really have the same urge to warn when people who r in the stores buying tomato seeds in April when here you should start those indoors no later thain January. Sad how they set so many people up to fail by not selling the right plants at the right time.

LeLo said...

A Lewis-I was hesitant in eating a store bought tomato last night, but I think we've turned the corner. Not so mealy right night!

Danger-Don't tempt me. It comes easily. ;)

Bldrnpdx-How funny! But you know, it's one of the most popular questions I get. People are really, really into growing their tomatoes.

Anonymous-Thank you for weighing in from Dallas. Such a very different growing season for you. You are in that great heat so perfect for tomatoes, I would think. I was just in Austin and they are way ahead of us season-wise. But oh, the wildflowers this year!

Anonymous said...

Lelo the heat here in the summer is the problem. Well more accurately it is the combo of heat and humidity. The humidity keeps the heat too high at night during the summer months sending the tomatos into heat delay. The end result being all those late transplants from Lowes people buy grow lush huge tomato plants only to have all the flowers fall off. The good news is we can plant a second round of tomatoes in mid July that will go through Thanksgiving if we are lucky with the frost. The wild flowers are beautiful this time of year in Austin.

katherynei said...

Oh, but I wish that it were a month from now! My tomato starts in the window are so tall that I have been making little mini cages to support them until the time is right to set them out.

Chris at Lost Arts Kitchen said...

I started my tomatoes indoors in March. I'm about to put them in half-gallon pots and then set them outside under cover. If I hadn't started my own, I might buy small, less expensive plants now, get them growing in a window sill or under lights, and have big lusty plants to put out in May. Last year, we planted ours out under mini-hoop houses in early May and had ripe tomatoes in early July--a month earlier than we have had them without the hoop houses.

the gazelle said...

I had to talk someone down the other day from buying tomatoes and peppers, too! Although I do have most of my garden in, those have to wait.