What I learned on Saturday…


Camellias at Plant World.

My sister is visiting from Boise, Idaho and just got here today. So I’m just going to post some of my notes from the Leslie Doyle – How to grow tomatoes workshop I attended on Saturday.  If you have questions, please ask or visit her website at: http://www.sweettomatotestgarden.com/

First things first, Leslie HIGHLY suggests following ALL of the directions in  her book:
Growing the Tomato in Las Vegas in Terrible Dirt and Desert Heat” by Leslie Doyle. Its available at Plant World, online or directly from the author.

My Notes:

When choosing your seeds you have two very different options – Determinate or Indeterminate.
Determinate: This type only sets fruit once, so If you want to grow large tomatoes all summer long, you’ll be picking, pulling and re-planting for the fall growing season.
Indeterminate: This type of “vining” tomato (more on that later…) will grow and set fruit all the way until the first frost.  Her suggestion is the Hawaiian Tropic variety. 

Once you’ve chosen your seeds, Leslie suggests purchasing her Seed Starting Mix, it retails for $14.95 at Plant World but since it almost doubles in size with the addition of water it is actually a bargain (I bought some today.)

After you have the soil, pick up a few of the plastic “to-go” style containers (or cookie containers).  Plant 1/6″ deep and keep moist with a spray bottle

Her suggestion is to set them on top of a shop light (pictured) for fastest germination (sometimes as fast as 24 hours).  When the sprouts have grown and have 4 little leaves on top you can transplant!

I bought little peat cups to put them in.

According to Leslie you should plant around the 3rd week in April.  I already messed that up by putting my store bought plants in the ground a few weeks ago.  Oops!

When the 3rd week in April rolls around, you should spread “Sliver Mulch” around the plant like a bed sheet (available here).  It looked to me like a sheet of tinfoil, but its apparently the way to go.  The Silver Mulch reflects heat, not light so it keeps your roots cool, your plants safe from insects on the ground and with the process called “Transference” (more in a minute on that)… the plants stay cool and happy all summer long.

You might have noticed that I didn’t mention Caging or Staking.  What the heck? Right?
Wrong!  Leslie Doyle suggests allowing your tomato plants to grow in a heap.  Yep, a heap!
Thats why its so important to choose one of the “Indeterminate” varieties, because they are “Vining” and will climb all over each other, creating a big pile of tomato plants!

Through the process called “Transference” the roots take the water in from the ground at 75 degrees, and shielded from the summer heat, essentially by their own vines, the inner area of the heap stays 75 degrees from the humidity the vines let off.  Sounds good to me… can’t wait to see it in action!

There is so much more to learn from Leslie I definitely reccomend attending one of her workshops, buying the book, visiting the website or all of the above.  I learned a TON in one hour… and hopefully it will pay off in Tomatoes!!

Tomorrow: I’ll post pics of the Radish seedlings that have sprouted!!