There ARE tomatoes in October!

I’ve cut it fine, but it is still technically October and I have just planted my tomatoes in the garden.  This is so much more than the usual tomato planting session that happens every spring.  This one is special and holds such significance for me.

tomato seedling

Ahhwah… bless.  It looks so small and vulnerable

Last season I had to walk away from my lovingly nurtured tomato plants before the fruit had even thought about turning red.  It was a sad moment as there were varieties I’d not tried before and then there were old faithful favourites that I wouldn’t be without.  There were some with an emotional connection like the Linda’s Lemony Tomatoes that were passed down to me in a dried-up tissue from a family member who had saved them one season, only to have lost a rapid battle with cancer before she could sow them again.  I will always grow these in memory of her.   I knew the new folk who bought our house would appreciate my efforts, but it was bitter sweet as I wasn’t able to appreciate my efforts.

Empty bed

With all the goodies mixed in, this is an empty bed filled with potential.

When we first arrived here in the middle of January, I saw where the garden was to be and could immediately see past the rough state of the land and could actually see in my head the finished garden.  I couldn’t even begin work until after Easter and in the enormity of it all I kept telling myself ‘There will be tomatoes in October.’   At times the work seemed insurmountable and I would scarcely believe it and other times it seemed like a given.

Tomato support structure

Weaving the washing line wire through all the holes is a tedious job, but it is worth it in the end.

The effort was beginning to wear me down and my MSsy fatigue was making its presence felt and things were beginning to feel hopeless.  Along with the fact my tomatoes were so much smaller than normal even though I started them at the usual time.  It was a funny old spring.  But Hubby the Un-Gardener has come to my rescue and is mixing in the compost, blood and bone, well-rotted sheep manure and the Yates Dynamic Lifter.  His man strength can do it so much quicker than my weary body.  I have challenged him to two beds a day – give or take and he is mostly keeping up.  I can then follow behind and do the fun part.  The planting.

Tomato support structure

All strung up and waiting for the plants. I do need to add more string to the top layers or rebar but it doesn’t need to be as strong as the wire, it is just to keep the plant tips under control.

He started off with the more pressing beds – brassicas (which I still haven’t planted) the salad, the odds and sods as the popcorn seedlings really needed to get in there so it wouldn’t cross with the sweetcorn, whose bed he also dug over so I could sow the seeds so they wouldn’t cross with the painted mountain corn I intend so sow in a month and plant out once I harvest the garlic.  I think I’ll get him to do the flowers next, the cosmos is trying to bloom in their pots!  But the last bed he did was the tomato one and checking with the plants, I decided the time was right.

Irrigation

Setting up the irrigation first is easier so the plants don’t get disturbed and the spacing is perfect for the positioning of the plants.

I had to go out and purchase my structure materials as my original set was left at the old place supporting the plants.  I have tried all manner of method to keep the plants upright over the years and have found making a bit of a fence out of T shaped warratah stakes and washing line wire works best.  Especially as I aim for single stem plants every season but it never happens but there is plenty of room on the wires to tie in a medusa headed tomato.  I also cable tie some 2 metre rebar to the warratahs so I can string further supports across the length of the bed for that wild whippy growth up tall.  It is hard to imagine at this point the tiny plants will need it, but when they get there it will be hard to imagine they were ever this small.

Tomato seedlings and seaweed tonicTTomato seedlings and seaweed tonic

Once I selected the ‘chosen ones’ it seems like there was quite the excess of seedlings in the dome. After soaking them in some seaweed tonic to help avoid transplant shock and help the roots to establish, they took their place in the garden.

I like to plant my tomatoes in alphabetical order so if anything happens to the labels then I can have a good guess at who is who.  I’m growing them from A to Z starting with a delightful Artisan Blush and ending with a Zapotec.  I grew the Zapotec for the first time last year but never got to try it and then forgot all about it.  So, it is the only one I haven’t planted yet as I started it off late, but it is getting there and there is a place for it at the end of the bed.  I also have spares and backups, more than I need thanks to my impatient and unnecessary resowing earlier in spring so once I know my plants in the garden will be ok then I will gift my extras to deserving people.

Garden sign

The last act I do with each bed as they are completed I take great pleasure in popping in the sign.

The tomatoes are in, it feels like the garden is coming together.  It won’t be long until I enjoy that taste of fresh tomato, still warm from the sun.   Very soon the garden will match the vision I have long held in my head.

Come again soon – with Hubby the Un-Gardener’s help the garden will be planted in no time.

Sarah the Gardener : o)

2 Comments on “There ARE tomatoes in October!

  1. Well, that is like tomatoes in our April. That is about the time we do it. We have a very mild climate too. Tomatoes from last season are finishing now.

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