Re: [tomato] Doing everything wrong/right!

William McKay (
Mon, 08 Mar 1999 08:59:40 PST

Maybe your subject should be changed to  "Doing things that work for me 
in my area with what I have"  There are lots of ways to do things wrong, 
just like there are lots of ways to do things right.

For example, plastic mulch.  Yes any mulch will work to (1) preserve 
moisture (2) deter weeds (3) keep soil borne bacteria from tomato 
leaves.  Have used everything from chopped leaves to grass clippings to 
newspaper etc.  I am using plastic.  Why.  In New England it is still 
fairly cool when tomatoes go out around Memorial Day.  In my experience, 
plastic mulch results in an earlier crop and that is something I want.  

For water, again have used them all:  overhead sprinklers, soaker hoses, 
drip.  This year I am going to drip.  Why.  The metropolitan Boston area 
has some of the highest water rates in the country, my bills are out of 
sight, and the water table is too low for me to do a point type well.

You want to talk about doing things wrong.  I never use sterile 
soil/strting mixture to start seeds.  Use a mix of compost, peat, 
perlite and some blood meal.  To make things worse, I never use sterile 
containers.  Get out my old 72 plug trays from last year, hose them down 
to get rid of the leaves and spider webs and go for it.  Never loose 
seedlings to damping off, even though I start them in a cold basement 
(as in 58 degrees).  (Don't even need a fan for air movement since I 
live in an old farmhouse that leaks like a seive through the foundation.  

It works for me in my area of the country and my particular 
microenvironment.  It probably would not work in San Antonio (I assume 
if you used black plastic mulch you would have baked roots).

Good growing

Bill McKay in E. Massachusetts (where this weekend's snow cover will 
prevent the ground from refreezing.  Still think we will have an early 
>We don't necessarily add any fertilizer.....occasionally we may water
>with Miracle Grow..but that is only one or two times a growing season
>(which is now through Christmas) ..I do start my plants with it....but
>after they are established I generally rely on what mother nature gives
>My point is this: For those who want to bake soil, use additives, line
>the rows with red mulch, and play concert music to their plants...go 
>it..... I am in it for the end result that mother nature allows me to
>have for the year given the soil and conditions she has so graciously
>given me.....and have had minimal problems....and beautiful productive
>Any other 'cheap' tricks out there?
>Clorox????? (yep *grin*)...
>Jan Taylor
>San Antonio, Texas
>(fajita's on the grill today...guacomole on the side and fresh

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