How To Plant Tomatoes In Spokane Valley, Complete With Pictures!

It is planting time for Spokane Valley here in Eastern Washington. We planted our tomato and pepper plants about two weeks ago. Some locals wait until June but I think they need to go in at some point, so I watch the weather like a hawk and am prepared to cover.

The process is the same for tomatoes or peppers.  The holes are just smaller for the peppers (I also add some sulfur to the hole). We garden in raised beds, apply shredded leaves, compost and composted manure (if it smells like manure, it’s not ready to be put into the garden)  in the fall, and then till it under in the spring. Feed your soil, it will feed your plants.

Step 1

My husband uses a post hole digger to make holes about 8 – 12 inches deep. Looking good!!

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Step 2

Here I have laid out the plant next to their holes (new homes). Because we cage them and train them up, I squeeze them closer together than conventional wisdom dictates. I put a red next to a yellow next to an orange, next to a cherry etc…..you get the idea. When they are grown so closely together, it can be confusing as to what tomato is what.

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Step 3

Here I am, adding some amendments. That is generally the only time I fertilize unless I see a problem. A handful of crushed eggshells, a couple of tablespoons of epsom salts, A handful of kelp and alfalfa meal, and granulated fish fertilizer in the hole and I am ready to plant. Cover the bottom with a little bit of dirt to avoid direct contact with the roots and you are good to go.Image

 

Step 4

The hole with the amendments.Image

Step 5

We drop it quite unceremoniously into the hole and backfill with dirt. leaving a clutch of leaves at the top. some folks rip off the lower branches, I don’t, I just cover them up. If the plant is short, I may have to put some more dirt in the bottom to keep it’s hed above the soil line. Both tomatoes and peppers will develop roots all along the stem, making a healthier plant. My husband makes a freeform “moat” around the plant to corral water. Water to settle the roots, install the cages and you are good to go!Image

One more thing, I make a map of all my veggies so that when the squirrels steal the tags, I still know what it is.

 

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The Letter of the Day is Z; “Z” is for the Zebra Twins, Black and Green

Black Zebra

A natural and stabilized cross between Green Zebra and a black tomato by Jeff Dawson.

These tomatoes are vigorous, plants that produce 4 oz., 1 1/2”, juicy, round tomatoes with purple/mahogany colored skin and green stripes. 

Great smokey and sweet flavor. 

Indeterminate

Mid-season

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Green Zebra

Customer favorite

This is one of the most unusual variety you’ll ever grow! 

Fully ripened fruits are bright green, with stripes of a still lighter green. 

Round, smallish, 2 to 4 oz. fruits have excellent, tart, “real tomato” flavor. 

Plants are vigorous. 

Determinate

Mid-season

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