For Week 3 we had to hurry, hurry hurry to beat out the rain so we hopped to it right quick! First we checked up on our potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower! Then we got to plant our ‘Tycoon’ Tomato transplant and 4 ‘Red Salsa’ Salvia transplants!
The ‘Tycoon’ Tomato is another Texas Superstar plant! Click here to learn more about it and how it resists certain plant diseases.
Just two weeks later, the potatoes have already started to sprout foliage out of the ground as you can see on the left above! SO EXCITING! We also checked all of the plants to make sure there were not any pests laying eggs on our plants. The leaf on the right shows circular holes that indicate pests are lurking on the underside of the leaf. We checked all our plants and squished any unwanted insects.
First, we made sure to fertilize the plot under each tomato cage with 1 cup of Lady Bug Organic Fertilizer and that all of the tomato cages in each plot were lined up with eachother. Once we had placed an indicator bamboo stake in the middle of the tomato cage, we then removed the cage to start digging our hole.
Each hole was dug so that it was deep and slightly wider than the container of the tomato plant so that the root system was even with the soil line of the hole. We tested this out by placing the ‘Tycoon’ Tomato transplant in the hole while it was still in the transplant bucket.Then we dusted each hole with a 1/2 cup of soft rock phosphate.
We had to be very careful after removing the tomato from the bucket, since it has a delicate root system and a long stem. We filled in any soil between the transplant and the hole, making sure not to pile too much soil on the base of the main stem while ensuring that none of the plant roots were visible. As you can see above, the kids shaped the soil to develop a berm, a ring-like mound circling the plant about 12 inches from the base of the stem. This is meant to keep water and plant nutrition localized around the plant.
We then watered the plant and used 2-3 stakes to stabilize our tomato cages back into the ground over the tomato plant. For protection againt wind and cold and hail, we use N-Sulate wraps. The opening was oriented south for wind protection and then closed by 3 plastic clips. Each cloth covers the entire height of the tomato cage and is open on the top. .
Want to stay up on your tomato plant? Make sure to check here to read A&M Agrilife’s discussion of why your tomato plant might become unhealthy or show twisting and twirling leaves!
ON TO THE ‘RED SALSA’ SALVIA PLANTS. We wanted to get our salvia plants the best start possible so we applied compost to the very end of the bed where we wanted to plant. With two plants on either side of our irrigation spigot, we measured 4 inches in from the end of the bed. We then measured 8 inches from the side of the bed and another 8 inches between the first and second Salvia plant. We copied this spacing with the third and fourth plants on the other side of the spigot. REMEMBER: the salvia plants are outside the zone where they can be watered by the irrigation system so we need to be EXTRA CAREFUL about remembering to hand water!
We then mixed 1 oz of Hasta gro with 1 gallon of water (about half a bucket) and let each child apply 1/2 gallon to their plot. This meant 1 gallon of mixed Hasta Gro (per bucket) was able to work 2 plots. We used this on the tomato, the broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and the salvia, making sure not to get any fertilizer on the leaves of the plants so as to avoid burning the plant.