Monday, June 19, 2017

Time to mulch warm season veggies

Tomatoes newly mulched
with grass clippings
With the arrival of summer this week but more importantly now thoroughly warm soils, mulching of warm season vegetables is in order for saving water.

Mulching is frowned on earlier because it delays heating of soils to temperatures suitable for warm season vegetable development. Later mulching is especially important for peppers but also tomatoes, eggplant, etc.

Grass clippings from lawns not treated with herbicides and not having a lot of weed seed work well. A one to two inch layer is sufficient. It's better to apply two thin layers a week or more apart rather than a thick layer that starts to rot and smell. Straw, again from fields not treated with herbicides and with low weed seed content, also works well.
Tomatoes grow in full
sun in containers with drip
irrigation on driveway

I'm often asked how to grow tomatoes and other fruiting vegetables at homes where full sun is at a premium. How about in containers on the driveway as this enterprising homeowner did? You can even equip them with drip irrigation for easy watering. Driveways often are free from obstructions blocking sunlight if patios or decks have pergolas or are covered for shade.

Photo credit: Grass mulched tomatoes and Driveway container tomatoes both credit Carl Wilson.