tomato holes and water lines

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…

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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.

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(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.

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And since I was outside, I decided to get my two early tomato holes cooking. First, a deep dig to loosen things up.

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peat moss to mix in with the soil from the hole

Supplies gathered:

  • 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.

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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.

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9 thoughts on “tomato holes and water lines

  1. That sounds like a great mix, which your tomatoes will live, Dan. But most importantly, welcome back water! I’m sure I’m not your only follower who’s been waiting for you to make that happy announcement 🙂

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    • Thanks for your comments! I was starting to believe the pipes weren’t really frozen, that it must be something else after all this time. Pretty incredible. And my wife’s very happy!

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  2. That is great news about the water – you have certainly been through it this winter. Let’s hope spring comes in without a hitch. Tomatoes are great because although they are simple to grow they seem to like or at least tolerate all the funny ideas we have to make them grow! I always add calcified seaweed to the soil for them (or at least I did when you could get it – now it is a mix of seaweed meal and lime). And I give them a weekly foliar feed of seaweed too. I am not sure if it really helps them but it makes me feel like I am doing the best for them and it makes them smell like they are on holiday. I don’t think I would worry about high pH though – tomatoes need calcium and without it they get blossom end rot – but that is less of a worry when they are in the soil than in containers. Interesting to see you using peat moss (or moss peat here). In the UK you would be strung up for using that! But in Ireland it is not so much of an issue and it is sold in blocks for burning!

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  3. Great post Dan. Aspirin .. now that’s interesting if I do toms next year I might give that a go. Although I’m thinking of growing them in a tunnel house – can’t stand the thought of another summer with blight. Wow, you soil is alkaline – ours is acidic because we are on Waitakeri clay. Love all the various amendments you are adding and so will your soil. I would add the coffee grounds too and spray with seaweed fertiliser. Hope you give them a damn good pep talk too! LOL

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