Spring is Here!

Finally, finally, finally!

I love this time of the year! New growth is bursting through the ground, plants are starting to bloom leaving a sweet smell in the air.

Here in Texas we have the Mexican plum with a distinct smell that is really hard to explain, but when you smell it you know what it is. The Agerita with the tiny little yellow blooms leave the sweetest smell in the air, especially at night that you can’t breathe in deep enough. The Mountain laurels have their purple cascading flower clusters that emanate the smell of grape coo-lade. The wildflowers are starting to bloom from Indian Paintbrushes to Buttercups to the state flower the Bluebonnet and much more! The spring in Texas is so beautiful and I can’t help but get so excited every year!

I am excited not only because of all the flowering but because I get to plant my spring garden, which means I get to plant my favorite vegetable/fruit, the tomato. I wish had acres of land, because if I did I would try to plant every variety of tomato there is and see if I can grow it. The thing about tomatoes is that not all varieties grow well in all places. In fact your neighbor may be able to grow a variety that will produce very well, but you try to grow it 50 feet to the west and it get nothing but a green plant.

If you love tomatoes like I do, and you want to get a  lot of tomatoes every year, you will have to learn what tomatoes usually do best in your region and then try out every variety that appeals to you. What you will find is that unfortunately sometimes some of the varieties you really want to do well may not and some that you never expected to do much will thrive and be very prolific. This is why I love gardening, you never know exactly what you will get, except for disappointments and surprises.

Every year I end up buying new tomato seeds because I just can’t help myself. I’m like a tomato junkie! I just get so excited when the seed catalogs come out each year and I get to look through them at the new varieties and ones I haven’t tried yet. I always end up with way more seeds to plant than I have room for but I grow them anyways. Because of this I have way to many plants  which then gives me the joy of being able to give away tomato plants to my friends and spread the joy of gardening.

Tomatoes require a lot of nitrogen at first since they are such a fast growing plant, in fact most garden vegetables like a heavy dose of nitrogen as they are getting established. I like to use organic materials such as fish emoltion and compost or compost tea for nitrogen. Once they have grown large enough to sustain fruit, then it’s time to hit them with potassium and phosphate. I love using liquid seaweed through foliar applications to feed the tomatoes and help the blooms to set at a higher rate and give the plant what it needs to keep fruiting and produce the largest fruits possible. However, if you have a soil that is very rich and healthy you may not have to do any of these things. You should always be trying to create and maintain the healthiest soil you possibly can. The best way to do this is through adding compost. This is something I will talk about in another blog since it is the most important aspect of your garden, especially if you want to maximize your tiny space and get the most production out of it.