I'm celebrating today. I've had my first WANTED post on Freecycle answered. Last weekend we cleaned out the garage. I posted a large list of junk that I was getting rid of. The kids old skis, stilts, lots of little empty boxes, bubble wrap and air packs, a paint sprayer, a battery charger. Just a lot of junk that we no longer need or have never used. At the end I tacked on a WANTED post, asking for food grade 5 gallon pails.
I was answered. Today I picked up a dozen of them. They all had pickles in them in the past. I'll clean them out soon. I'll use some to store my potting mix and some soil amendments. I will keep one or two to store harvested veggies like potatoes. I'll have to drill holes in them for ventilation, but that is ages away from now.
The real joy was finding six green ones. I was going to use some for pots in the garden, but I hate the look of white pails. Very ugly. I figured I would make "dresses" for them out of some leftover cloth I have. I won't need to now. The six green pails will house some tomatoes. I've never grown tomatoes in pails before, but I really don't have the space to grow all the seed I have. I have plenty of space close to the house that I can't plant food plants into. I'll just put the pails there.
Now the problem is to figure out which seed I'm going to plant. I got eight varieties from Wintersown.org, but I'm only going to plant six. The three black cherry tomatoes are my first choices: Chocolate Cherry, Black Cherry, Black Moor. Though just one plant of each isn't the perfect trial, it will have to do.
For the other pails, I've got two selections from Siberia. I don't know if Siberia is humid, but they don't have hot summers, so they can handle our cool ocean breezes. Gregory's Altai is a large pink beefsteak type at 67 days. Miracle of the Market has small fruit about 2-4 oz and produce in 60-70 days. My last one will be from China. Early Ssubakus Aliana is a golden plum tomato. At 75 days it isn't early, but it is earlier then the other Chinese yellow tomato that I have.
Now I have to figure out what kind of potting mix to put in the pots. I have more of a tendancy to kill things in pots than to keep them alive. We will see what happens to the poor things. I want to leave out any real garden soil. My soil has nematodes, which makes it hard for the poor tomatoes to grow. I'm thinking I have a lot of (I'm hoping) finished compost from last summer. That will probably be the majority of the mix. I should get some sand and vermiculite to add to it. Has anyone used a mostly compost mix for their tomatoes before? I know the things grow out of the compost pile all the time. I think they can handle it, but if you have experience let me know.