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5 Must Know Tips for Transplanting Tomato Plants

Homegrown tomatoes are the best!! And it’s not that hard to grow them, but you can do a few things that make a big difference in growing successful tomatoes from the very beginning. To get your tomato seedlings off to the best possible start, you must know these five tips for transplanting tomatoes! It all starts with the transplanting.Must know tips for planting tomato seedlings

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Welcome back to Tuesdays in the Garden! Today, you’re in for a treat. Not only do we have lots of great gardening tips to help you get your spring planting right, but we also have a few homemade gifts you can quickly put together, just in time for Mother’s Day! Make sure to read to the end of the post and check out all the great ideas from my dear gardening friends.

5 Must Know Tips for Transplanting Tomato Plants

Have you planted your tomatoes yet? It’s generally safe to plant them around your frost free date.  Our official frost free date (May 15) is right around the corner, but I always check the long range weather forecast before deciding when to tansplant my tomato plants. Fro the last three years, we have had a killing frost after May 15, so quite often, transplanting tomato plants has to wait. If you’re looking forward to transplanting tomato plants, too, make sure you read these must know tips!

pinch off bottom leaves
1 .Dig a deep hole and pinch off the tomato plants’ lower leaves.

I like to plant my tomatoes deep for a couple reasons. First, it’s super windy out here in the Iowa Prairie and planting them deeply gives them better support from the wind. It  allows roots to develop all along the tomato stem which helps make the plant stronger. So, dig a hole deep enough that only the top leaves will be showing on the ground. Pinching off the lower leaves also encourages roots to develop too, so carefully pinch off the leaves before you put the seedling in the hole.

Make sure to support the stem as you cover it with dirt. Be careful when you’re covering the plant with dirt so you don’t accidentally harm the little seedling. I like to support the stem with one had and fill the hole with dirt with the other hand. You don’t want to break the stem as you cover it – I’ve done it and it makes me very sad. Make sure you cover the seedling up to the top leaves.

2. Wondering how far apart to plant tomatoes?

Make sure you give your tomatoes enough space to grow.

  1. Dwarf tomato varieties only need to be about 1′ apart, with 2′ – 3′ between rows.
  2. If you’re staking your tomato plants, they’ll need about 2′ of separation to grow, with 2′ – 3′ between rows.
  3. Using large cages? They’ll need to be about 3′ apart, and probably 4′-5′ between rows.
  4. Want to let your tomatoes grow without support? You’ll need a lot of room! About 3-4′ between plants, and 4′-5′ between rows.

water the tomatoes after planting

3. Water tomato plants generously after planting.

Newly planted seedlings need a nice drink of water immediately after planting so make sure you water right away. I like to make an indent in the dirt around the plant so the water stays near the seedling instead of running away. You’ll want to continue watering for a few days if you don’t get a rain pretty quickly after planting.

mulch tomatoes

4. Mulch right away.

Since you’ve gone through the effort of planting tomatoes, just go ahead and mulch them right away. I’m often tempting to skip this step and get to it later, but I’ve found later sometimes never comes. Mulching right away is a great way to keep down the weeds and it also helps keep them moist. I used old hay we got for free in this picture, but a better mulch is straw because it’s weed free. My hay is very, very old, so I hope nothing will sprout from it. I could be wrong though, and end up seriously regretting the use of this old hay. I’ll let you know if that’s the case!

support tomatoes with homemade tomato cages

5. Add a support trellis or basket immediately.

Another key to tomato success,  is to add support right away. Tomatoes like to be supported and I know from experience that if I don’t support them right after planting, I won’t ever get back to it. Pretty soon I end up with a huge tomato jungle – and while I don’t think that’s a terrible thing, it does make picking the beautiful fruits more difficult and a lot of them end of smashed by my big feet. In years past, I used these homemade tomato baskets last year. They are easy to make and easy to use, but they take up a lot of space so you need a large growing area if you want to use homemade tomato baskets.

tomato trellis from moss mountain farm

This year I am hoping to use these homemade support systems I saw a Moss Mountain Farms. I love that this tomato system takes up less room than my huge cages and I think it’s awfully pretty too! Also, it’s a way to grow more tomatoes in less space since you don’t have to set the tomatoes so far apart. Do you have a favorite tomato trellis you like to use?

And that’s the start to a successful tomato season! Have you planted your tomatoes yet? I’d love to hear your ideas for success too. 

tuesdays in the garden

Tuesdays in the Garden

Want more garden tips from my friends from around the web. Make sure you click over to everyone’s posts and check out what’s going on in different parts of the country! We’ve got a couple homemade gift ideas that might be perfect for Mother’s Day this weekend, as well as growing tips too!

frugal family home

Shelly from Frugal Family Home is sharing a mini green house idea for small spaces!

hearth and vine

Patti from Hearth and Vine is sharing a cute DIY Gazing Ball – what a great gift is this?

an oregon cottageJami at An Oregon Cottage is sharing her homemade Salad Dressing Gift Basket

homemade food junkie

Diane from Homemade Food Junkie is sharing tips for growing strawberries in DIY towers

angie freckled rose

Angie the Freckled Rose is sharing tips for adding visual interest in your garden!

If you liked this post with tips for transplanting tomatoes, you might like these post too.

7 Methods of Natural Weed Control for a Weed-Free Garden

Companion plants you must have in your vegetable garden

How to grow a three sisters garden

How to kill cucumber beetles organically

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

If you’re trying to eat local, in-season food, make sure to include these top ten plants for early spring harvest. They will yield the first food in the spring so you can have farm fresh produce as soon as possible.

top 10 plants for early spring harvest

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission from your purchase.*

One of my long term life dreams is to eat only locally grown and produced food, like Barbara Kingsolver did in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle {one of my most favorite books of all times}. At first thought, it sounds kind of doable, right? I mean, I have a big garden, and I have egg and meat chickens. I’ve also found a source for local pastured pork and organic, local, grassfed beef. But the logistics are really a lot more complicated than my pea-brain can handle. And it would take a REALLY REALLY REALLY big garden to produce enough food to feed my family of six. Maybe some day.

For now, I will be content to do what I can, and that means maximizing every growing season, and this post starts with spring! Enjoy my list of the top 10 plants to consider if you want to get the earliest possible harvest out of your garden.

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

bowl of strawberries and asparagus in the grass

Early Spring Perennials

I love perennials because I can plant them once, and reap the rewards for years! It’s also a bonus that a few garden perennials produce some of the earliest food in the spring, so make sure to include them in your garden.

Rhubarb – it seems a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with rhubarb, but I love it. It’s also ready for picking sooner than most other fruits and is delicious in crisps, scones, and made into syrup too!

Strawberries – strawberries are the first berries to ripen, usually late May or early June in my area. Nothing beats a fresh strawberry right out of the garden! And since conventionally grown strawberries are some of the most pesticide laden fruits grown, we prefer to grow our own.

asparagus on a sheet pan for roasting

Asparagus – asparagus is ready for a full harvest the third year after it’s planted. It’s one of the earliest crops of spring – so delicious!! We look forward to fresh asparagus every year.

Spring Veggies to Plant before the Last Frost

Spring Onions / Potatoes – can be directly sown from seed six weeks before the last frost if the ground is workable. Onions grow quickly and the greens can be cut pretty soon after they start growing. If you leave the bulb in the ground and just cut the greens, they will even grow new greens for you!

Potatoes are generally ready for harvest a little later, but you can carefully collect new potatoes without disturbing the plant ten weeks after the potatoes were planted. We use the no-dig planting method to grow potatoes. Learn more here.

Spinach / Kohlrabi / Kale – can be directly sown from seed five weeks before the last frost date. It’s especially important to plant spinach early as it needs six cool weeks to reach maturity and bolts quickly in hot weather.

Peas / Radish / Carrots – can be directly sown from seed four weeks before last frost date. Peas also don’t do well in hot weather, so make sure to plant them as quickly as possible. Every year I have volunteer radish crops in my garden because I let some go to seed in the summer. They are some of the first fresh veggies we eat!

Forellensuss Lettuce

Lettuce / Swiss Chard – can be directly sown from seed two weeks before last frost date. I also have volunteer lettuce in my garden from time to time and love it! Fresh lettuce is just delicious.

Check your seed packets to see which varieties mature the quickest. Some radishes are ready within 25 days! And lettuce is very quick growing too.

A collage of  pictures including strawberries in a bowl, forelenschuss lettuce, and a basket of eggs and lettuce harvest.

What plants do you look forward to most in spring?

These 5 Easy Tips will Help You Keep Fall Mums Alive All Season

Fall mums are an awesome addition to your fall decor! If you’d like to keep your mums alive and beautiful all season, you need to know how to care for mums in the fall. These five tips are all you need to know for beautiful, long lasting mums this fall.
fall mums and pumpkins

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site.*

I love decorating with fall mums – available in many colors and varieties, mums are a great addition to your outdoor fall decorating scheme. The have long lasting blooms and look great in pots and landscape as well! Check out all of these pretty ways to decorate with mums from Midwest Family Living! Like most things in life, a little effort will keep your mums looking their best all season long!

How to Care for Mums in the Fall

Re-pot fall mums after you get home

repot fall mums after buying if they are root bound in the pot

It’s important to give your mums room to grow.  Most mums you buy at the store are totally root-bound so make sure to check your mums and put them in a pot at least twice their current size if you want them to keep growing all season.

Place your fall mums in an good location

how to keep your fall mums alive

Mums need at least six hours of sunlight a day, so skip shady locations and make sure to place mums in spots that get plenty of sun! Remember that as the days become shorter the position of the sun changes. A spot that was sunny in the summer may no longer be sunny. Just be mindful of the changing sun position during the fall. If you get your fall mums early in the season, you may need to move them to a new location as fall progresses.

Make sure your fall mums get enough water

make sure to water your fall mums enough to keep them alive all season - Copy

It’s very important not to let your mums dry out or they might just die on you like the one above. Then again, it’s also important not to over water them either. How much water is enough but not too much? That’s the million dollar question. Just make sure the dirt stays moist, but not drenched. 😉

Don’t forget to deadhead to keep fall mums alive

deadhead mums to keep them alive longer - Copy

I know deadheading is no fun, but if you want your mum to re-flower – you have to get rid of the dead ones first. Grab a trusty pair of snips and cut away while listening to your favorite music or chatting with a dear friend. Or just use your fingers. Honestly, I think the easiest way to deahead mums is just to pinch off the dead flowers with my fingers. You have to be careful or you will kill the baby buds that might be lurking under the dead flowers, waiting for their chance to shine!

Cover or bring them inside if it’s going to freeze overnight.

Continued cold weather will kill your mums so watch the forecast. If a freak frost is in the forecast, either cover your mums or bring them inside over night. This practice doesn’t work long term, but it can help your mums last a few more weeks if you want to prolong their lives!

tips for keeping your fall mums beautiful


More posts on fall gardening & plant care you may like:

Tips for decorating for fall

How to start a fall vegetable garden now

How to cover a raised garden bed to extend your growing season

15 Fall gardening tasks 

Types of heirloom garlic to plant this fall

Fun ways to decorate pumpkins without carving

Want to know how to keep fall mums alive all season long? These five easy tips will help you keep your lovely fall mums beautiful for as long as possible!

Beautiful & Useful Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Moms Who Garden {& free printable!}

If you’re wondering what to give for Mother’s Day, make sure you check out this list of beautiful and useful Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Moms Who Garden!  We also made you free printable gardening coupons for gardening chores! Give them to your mom or have your kids give them to you {hint hint}…*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site and my Amazon Prime addiction.*

Beautiful & Useful Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Moms Who Garden

Today’s installment of Tuesdays in Garden is all about helping you find the right gift to celebrate your Mom. Whether you want to handcraft a beautiful Mother’s Day gift or buy one, we’ve got you covered. This post contains so many great ideas for Mother’s Day, you’re sure to find the perfect gift idea. And at the end of the post, you’ll also find the link to free printable garden coupons, my gift to you, loyal readers. Thank you for being here.

Free printable garden chore coupons. The perfect Gift Idea for Gardening Moms

Garden Harvest Baskets

A beautiful garden harvest basket is something I have wanted for a long time, but have never bought for myself. I know that any one of these baskets would make a great gift for a mom who loves gardening. These are the top three that caught my eye on Amazon, but there are certainly other beautiful options as well. If you’d like to make your mom an extra special garden themed gift, grab one of these baskets and then fill it up with a few of the other items on my list. I’m sure a garden bounty basket filled with useful garden items would be a huge hit!

 Pike’s Original Maine Garden Hod Set of 3 Sussex Trugs Metal Harvest Basket

Unique Garden Plant Markers

Garden plant markers are another fun gardening gift, and also something I never bother to buy for myself. I don’t have garden markers, but I really love the classic metal markers included in this list of ideas and would absolutely love it if someone gave them to me!

 Chalkboard Look Vegetable Markers Slate Artisan Plant Markers Classic Metal Garden Markers

Fun Indoor Gardening Kits

If your mom likes gardening kits, these kits might fit the bill! Not only are the lovely to look at, but they’re practical too! I think the cans of herbs or the indoor cilantro jar would look lovely on the kitchen window sill. I’ve never grown my own mushrooms, but have always thought it would be fun to try.

 Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Farm Back to the Roots Organic Herbs in a Can Indoor Cilantro Herb in Jar

Items that Help Attract Pollinators to the Garden

Every gardening mom knows that pollinators are essential to successful gardens. If you’d like to gift your mom something to help her attract pollinators to her garden, here are a few useful and beautiful items. I actually have the bee house and the hummingbird feeder and love them both.

 

 Bee House and Insect Home Mason Jar Hummingbird Feeder Pollinator Friendly Gardening

My Favorite Organic Gardening Books

Gardening books are not only useful, but fun as well. Make sure to add a gardening book to the harvest basket gift! Your favorite gardener would appreciate any of these gardening books. 😀

 The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening

Useful Gardening Tools

Beautiful and practical gardening tools are always a hit in my book. I love my steel watering cans and garden knife. They’re useful for so many reasons. Admittedly, I don’t wear my garden gloves as often as I should, but maybe this year will be the year I actually start. 🙂

 

 2-1/2-Gallon Steel Watering Can Leather Gardening Gloves Hori Hori Garden Knife

Fun Gardening T-Shirts

So these gifts aren’t necessarily practical, but they are awfully cute. If your mom loves gardening and t-shrits, maybe one of these fun t-shirts would be right up her alley.

 Work In My Garden & Drink Wine T-Shirt Crazy Garden Lady T-Shrit Women’s Worms Dig My Garden T-Shirt

Fun Gardening Signs

Also not practical, but a fun gift nonetheless, here are a few of my favorite garden related signs. 😀 These are decor, obviously, not for use in your garden. But they could make for cute displays in a gardening shed or on a front porch.

 Dirty Hoe Garden Vintage Metal Sign Pull Weeds Sign Funny Wooden Garden Sign

Tuesdays in the Garden

Tuesdays in the Garden 2017

I’ve shared a few beautiful and useful gift ideas you can buy, but my gardening friends also have a few DIY options today too! If you’d rather make your mom a homemade gift, check out these wonderful ideas from the Tuesdays in the Garden Gang. 🙂

frugal family homeFrom Shelly @Frugal Family Home – Mason Jar Herb Garden

hearth and vineFrom Patti @Hearth & Vine – How to Make an Herb Garden in a Burlap Sack

 An Oregon Cottage

From Jami @An Oregon Cottage – Easy DIY Gardener’s Hand Cream

Angie freckled rose

From Angie @The Freckled Rose – Gifts for Your Gardener

homemade food junkieFrom Diane @Homemade Food Junkie – Container Garden Tips 

Bren Haas

From Bren @Bren Hass – Kid Friendly Way to Say Happy Earth Day

6 Easy Mother's Day Planter Ideas

Also from me: 6 Easy Planter Ideas for Mother’s Day

 Printable Mother's Day Garden chore coupons

If you’d like to download the free printable coupons, just click the link and a PDF file will , Mother’s Day Coupons –  from Simplify Live Love. You can print the coupons on 8 1/2 x 11″ card stock, cut them out, and give to your beloved gardener. Or in my case, I’d print them out, cut them, and then beg my kids to give them to me. LOL!

Happy Mother’s Day to you!!