Tomatoes on Eggshells

After a weekend away and a week of terrible weather, we started this weekend well behind schedule for getting our plants in the ground. When the rain stopped yesterday we donned fleece and hats (in May!) and braved the temperatures in the forties to get things going. Today we were finally rewarded with an absolutely beautiful day to finish out our Memorial Day weekend, and one of the things we accomplished was getting all of our tomatoes in the ground. 

Before planting, though, we added an extra step to our soil prep. Here's a spring's worth of eggshells we've been saving up:

We crushed them and added them to the blender to pulverize them quickly. For the blender to do the job, we had to add water to the mix, making an eggshell slurry:

Then Kirk sprinkled it over our tomato beds:

The reason for all of this is to add calcium to the soil to prevent blossom end rot on our tomatoes. Last year our earliest tomatoes had some issues with this, so we're hoping the eggshells will help. In the past we've added crushed eggshells around our tomato plants, but they don't break down very quickly that way. By grinding them up really fine and getting then good and wet, we're hoping to speed the decomposition and help the calcium leech into the soil more quickly.

So in the end we had mini drippy castles of eggshell and some calcium water added to our soil. I raked it in, and we got to planting:

These are our vining tomatoes, each planted in front of a sturdy stake. As they grow, we'll train them up the stakes. We really liked our early Moskvich and our heirloom Rose tomatoes from last year, and we also planted Ukrainian Yellows that we got seeds for at Strawbery Banke last fall. We have twenty of those in total, and we also planted our Roma bush types (13 each of Paisano and Bellstar).

Memorial Day and tomato planting (and bike riding, as you can see) are a classic garden pairing in New England, and now I feel ready to head into summer. We're just about caught up with our planting, so as June arrives we can focus on some other projects — both indoors and in the garden.


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