After 51 days, our water lines have defrosted. A testament to the brutality of this past Michigan February.
But now, the thumb-twiddling, mid-40s, dreary Spring. It make a person antsy. It make a person look for things to do. We’ll start by filling up the space under the grow lights…
And instead of thumb-twiddling, I decided to do what could be done. Starting with aspirin. Last year was the first year I tried spraying the tomato plants with an aspirin-in-water solution. Whether it helped or not I’m not certain, but I do know I had far fewer tomato disease problems than ever. So why not?
Aspirin sprayed on tomato plant leaves is supposed to poke their immune systems, I guess sort of like smallpox vaccines do for humans. The dosage I use is four 83 mg tablets per gallon of water (or in this case, one tablet in a quart). I started spraying a little later on last year, but I wanted to try it on my seedlings. I shouldn’t pretend to recommend this; I’m not a doctor. But I think it’s safe and it worked for me. I crunched the pill with a pestle and dissolved it in a little warm water.
(It needs to sit a little bit. This isn’t fully dissolved.)
After getting rid of tomato headaches, I unburdened myself of the stash of pulverized, dried banana peels that I’ve been hoarding all winter, saving back some for the tomato holes.
And since I was outside, I decided to get my two early tomato holes cooking. First, a deep dig to loosen things up.
- about a tablespoon of banana peels for potassium per hole (sort of a guess) because my soil test recommended more potassium
- a tablespoon or two of Epsom salts (also tried last year) to help absorb the excess phosphorus in my soil. It also contains sulfur, which was something that my Extension agent said would help lower the soil pH
- a couple of cups of worm castings
- a shovel full of compost
- about a cup of used coffee grounds (just wanted to…bad reason)
- and a shovel full of peat mixed into the soil that I removed from the hole. I’ve not read anything about peat in tomato holes, but it worked well for me last year. Our soil is alkaline, peat is acidic. Our soil is sandy, peat soaks up moisture.
It seems reasonable to me to get these potions into the planting hole early so they can start doing their things for a bit before the plants go in.
I don’t know. It’s sort of scientific, but also kind of voodoo. Science is too exact for my pea brain, so I usually end up just swinging. Something to do when there’s nothing else to do.