A rolling green house was needed as the big day finally arrived! The last frost date had passed at our summer cottage in Maine. The heirloom tomatoes that I started from seed in March had grown big and strong. Now the time had come for the plants to leave the comfort of their heated and well lit potting shed at our New Hampshire home and make the two hour trip north and be planted in the garden in Maine.
I had planned for the tomato plants to go in the back of our touring wagon along with herbs and vegetable seedlings. No problem with the seedlings but the tomatoes were too tall. They ended up buckled in the backseat where there was more headroom. (Remember when purchasing a car to always check the headroom…it is very important to the comfort of the passengers in back).
So off we went to Maine, looking like a rolling green house. The car was packed with fifteen tomato plants that were over 3 feet tall, a dozen pepper plants, a half dozen each of rainbow chard, green beans, red leaf lettuce, basil, oregano, cilantro, two rosemary, and one lemongrass plant. As cars went whizzing by on the Maine Turnpike, we did get a few double takes.
Now it was time to get most of them in the ground. Four of the tomato plants were going to have to go into large buckets as I couldn’t bear to leave any of them behind (I had already given eleven tomato plants to friends).
I like to add additional nutrients when I plant tomatoes. They are heavy feeders so a little fertilizer made especially for tomatoes will give them a good start.
Holes were dug a foot deep and wider than the six inch pots the tomato plants were in.
After removing the tomatoes from their pots and planting them, tomato cages were put around them. A large metal fence post was placed through the cages and hammered deep into the ground. We get a lot of wind that comes off the distant mountains and down our lake…the posts will help secure the plants when they get to six feet tall or more.
The tomato plants going into the large tubs were planted in a similar way. Drain holes were drilled in the bottom of the tubs, filled with a layer of small stone for good drainage, potting soil and fertilizer added. The tomatoes were planted and cages put around them. Stakes were placed through the tub handles and hammered into the ground so that they won’t blow over in high winds.
The raised box was planted with the last two tomato plants. They have to share the space with the peppers and some of the herbs. All the plants were then well watered.
It was eight weeks from the time the seeds were planted until they were transplanted for the last time. The plants were babied in the potting shed and thrived. Now they will face the real world of living in the outdoors and all that nature has in store for them. As I said in the first post about my heirloom tomatoes…now the battle begins.