“The Tomato Jungle” is what we affectionately dubbed one end of one of our garden beds, as you see above. In the picture, you’ll notice a few tomato cages in the background — those mark the seedlings we transplanted earlier this month. As for everything else…the veritable tomato bushes we’ve got going…well, all those came up completely on their own!
At first we thought they were marigolds, since we planted marigolds in those same spots last year. (Tomato and marigold seedlings look remarkably similar in their very early stages.) But as the days went on, it became quite obvious that we were dealing with tomato plants…lots and lots of tomato plants. And the question now is, “what do we do with them?” As awesome as the “tomato jungle” may appear, a number of the plants are shadowing a couple of our pepper seedlings, which we planted above and in between the tomato seedlings, and that isn’t good. So we’re thinking of moving a few of those problematic clumps into large planters.
The other issue that’s keeping the “jungle” on watch is that we want to make sure that the new tomato seedlings, which consist of new varieties we didn’t plant last year, have a chance to properly grow. The “jungle” tomatoes, having done all their growing outside, are quite a bit stronger than the seedlings, and we don’t necessarily want them to overtake the new plants. We’ve done some thinning to keep the “jungle” tomatoes out of the realms of the seedlings under the tomato cages, but they are growing pretty rapidly. While we’d like to keep as many tomatoes around as possible, it’s possible that we’ll have to get rid of a good handful of them if they interfere too much with the new plants.
There’s another jungle-y problem too in that tomato plants are popping up all over the place!
Yup, we’ve got tomatoes coming up among the beans, cucumbers, peas, and some of the greens in our other beds. Granted, it’s amazing, awesome, and a little unbelievable, but it’s also led to a bit of worry concerning everything we actually planted. If the random tomato seedlings survive, we think they’ll be okay with the cucumbers, peas, and greens. However, it’s the tomatoes and the beans that are the problems — our companion planting guide says they don’t get along as each prefers different soil and watering conditions. Still…there’s nothing that says we can’t try to cultivate the two together. It’s our garden, after all. 🙂 Tomatoes have readily infiltrated nearly all our sections of bush and pole beans, so…we’ll have to make a decision soon about if they stay or go.
Managing a million tomatoes aside, everything else in the garden is looking really good. Over the weekend and after a stretch of weeding, we decided to try a form of weed abatement in two of the raised beds using grass clippings.
(Can you spot the random tomatoes in the pictures above? Oy vey.)
We’ve had in mind to get some mulch or hay to help keep the weeds down in some of the beds, but then we figured that we also have plenty of grass clippings after lawn mowing, so maybe that’d work just as well? The question right now is that since our grass is seeding, there are tons of grass seeds in the clippings. Would putting the grass clippings in the bed only lead to more grass (and more weeding)? We’ll have an update on the experiment next week!