Heirloom Tomatoes: Bali

Bali Tomato Seedlings

Bali Tomato Seedlings

Once again I am growing the wonderful Bali Tomato, from Indonesia. It was a good tomato last year, and I got a bit of a jump on the season this year so perhaps I can beat the desert heat. Perhaps not, as it is supposed to hit 80F this week!

These are currently waiting to get a bit larger before they get put into the Earthbox.

Black From Tula

Black From Tula Ripening on the VineThis is year two for the Black From Tula! I took a different approach with this Russian Heirloom this time and started it last fall. I babied it inside through the winter and started bringing it outside around January, which was mild (60 F) here.

Now, late February is looking good with about 8 tomatoes like this getting bigger and ripening, with a whole slew of flowers on the two plants in the EarthBox.  I am looking forward to an early spring tasting of these wonderful black tomatoes.

Earth Day Brings the First Flower

Bali Tomato FloweringHappy to report that the Bali is starting to flower, as is the Black From Tula. All plants are getting thick stems and dark green, with lots of new leaves every day.

I did have a small burst of activity from some aphids, but a bit of dish soap and water in a squirt bottle cured that right up.

This photo was shot with my Olympus in Macro Mode.

Into the Earthbox – Transplanting

Well, it went from being a bit nippy at night to being nice. Of course there was no in between. There never is in Phoenix. I also slacked off on hardening off the plants, never getting them outside again until just now.

As planned, I put one of each variety in the Earthbox for a total of four varieties, 2 Earthboxes. I have backups of each out in the sun now. I definitely may need them. The Bali was small and weak – not sure it is going to make the transplant. The Golden Monarch was a bit better, but we’ll see. The Tula is strong, vibrant and seemed to like the transplant very much. The Green Zebra looks like it will fare pretty well.

About 10 days ago, I took a Monarch and a Tula to my Dad – as he likes to try things in the ground. Neither survived as he moved them around trying to harden them off. They were just too weak and fragile.


Adding Lime to the Earthbox

Adding Lime to the Earthbox

For the details on the Earthbox preparation it was pretty easy. I dug in and loosened all the potting mix that was in there until it was light and fluffy.

I mixed in a bit of hydrated lime, since tomatoes are going in.

Slow Release Fertilizer in Earthbox

Slow Release Fertilizer in Earthbox

Then it was topped off with a bit of Miracle-Gro Potting Mix to mound the center. On the other side of the mound from the planting locales I added a strip of pellet style, slow-release fertilizer as per Earthbox recommendations. Neither the Miracle-Gro nor fertilizer are organic this go around. I’ll try that next year I think.

I then cut open a white kitchen trash bag and tied it over the container, to keep weeds out and moisture in. Holes had to be cut to get over the stakes and watering pipe.  Easy enough. Tying it with some sisal gardening twine, I began to realize that the couple of dollars Earthbox wants for the elastic covers is probably worth it – and I will definitely order some for fall planting.

Cutting a couple of “X” slits into the corners away from the fertilizer and dropping the peat pots in was the last step. Wait, not the last step. Watering them in from the top and then filling the reservoir was the last step. Now I wait.

Update: It has been 24 hours and all transplants seem to be adapting to the boxes well, but of course clouds and cold have snuck in.  I brought the other seedlings back in.

Seed Arrival

Baker Creek Seed PacketsWell, here they are. Pretty timely, I’d say. They arrived from Baker Creek Seeds in Missouri via USPS yesterday, in a plain manila envelope. Enclosed were the packets, a typewritten note apologizing for any delays (there weren’t any) and a receipt signed by hand. Nice touch.

Notice the Free Bonus seeds! Shisito peppers…a Japanese pepper low in heat, from what I can find on the net.

Time to head out to the home store for some good dirt to start them in.