Preparing Tomato Containers
Now that your tomato seeds have been ordered and are sprouting on your kitchen window sill, it’s time to move on to Phase 2: what to plant them in. You will need the following:
- The largest plastic storage tubs that you can get your hands on. We used the 54 gallon Roughneck Hi-Top Tote.
- A tape measure.
- A drill with a bit about 3/4 inch in diameter.
- Bags of stones. They don’t have to be pretty and fancy like these; we used the cheapest bags we could get our hands on. We used about three per container.
- Bags of soil. You choose the soil that’s right for you. Amount varies by bin size and bag size. Ours took four bags per bin.
- Mater Magic, two containers per tomato bin.
- Bone meal. One bag will do three bins.
- PVC pipe, cut to about 3 feet long.
- Heavy duty black plastic garbage bags.
- Stakes, to hold down the plastic.
Step 1. At the short end of the tomato container, measure about 6 inches from the bottom. Drill a hole. This hole is your overflow valve to prevent you from overwatering your tomatoes.
Step 2. Dump in the stones. You want the stone line to reach the drainage hole. I rinsed off the stones because who knows what residue might be on them. In the front corner of your container, insert the PVC pipe. This is what you’ll use to water your plants. Trust me when I tell you that it’s easier to insert the PVC before the weight of the dirt is upon you.
Step 3. Spread one layer of soil — one bag will do it — and top that with 1/2 container of Mater Magic and 1 cup of bone meal. Add remaining soil until the bin is full. Note: you’ll add more Mater Magic and bone meal on planting day.
Step 4. Cover the surface of the dirt with the plastic bags and tack them down with the stakes.
Step 5. Go inside and take ibuprofen. Your back will hurt tomorrow.
Next week, we’ll talk about planting the seedlings.