thermometer_reached_our_goal_400_wht_6650OK, so what’s our goal…well initially we want the soil temperature to be above 50° F, but the ideal temperature for growing those big prize winning tomatoes is 70° F. Tomatoes just like humans have a range they’re comfortable in. Fortunately for us they aren’t as picky as we are.
But temperature is just one of the things that tomatoes need….they need nutrients too. So every year about 2 to 3 weeks before planting I spread “Stuff” on the ground….about a week before turning the soil over and breaking it up for the new plantings. I can hear the muffled objections now, “What the hell is Jack talking about with this spreading “STUFF” on the ground!” Fair question….I’ll tell you. The first thing I spread is some sugar…then I add a generous dose of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate)….then I finish up with another hearty dose of Dolomite Lime. You can get the Dolomite from a farm store, it’s a lot cheaper that way. How much you ask? I walk up and down throwing big handfuls down in a broadcast fashion….I usually go up once and back broadcasting the whole way. What you’re trying to do is get some carbon and lime and magnesium and sulfur and calcium into the garden soil….just do what I’ve outlined and you’ll be fine.

Here’s a little tip that will help with the soil temperature….lay down some black plastic on the ground. We all know the sun loves to beat down on black surfaces and heat them up…this works fine to elevate soil temperature too….and when the temperatures get warmer as the planting season progresses you can throw some mulch over the black plastic and it will act as a weed barrier….pretty cool huh? Most folks use a calendar versus a thermometer to decide when to plant, now you have a choice…it’s up to you. I usually plant around Memorial Day here in Michigan, that generally is a pretty safe time frost wise and temperature wise. OK, that’s it for May….June will be a surprise for content so stay tuned.



Posted Saturday, May 4th, 2013 by by admin, under Planting Tomatoes.

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