Hillbilly hydroponics, tomatoes year two

hillbilly hydroponics

This is my hillbilly hydroponics set up from last year.

Each year we grow tomatoes and the chickens end up getting the majority of the fresh tasty fruit.

Last year I found a wee baby tomato plant growing in one of the hen pens. I dug it up, replanted it, and named it “Chicken Poomato”. (It is the big one on the left) The tomatoes ended up being grapes, small and sweet. Their name ensured that I got more than my fair share.

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Diamond helping pick “poomatoes”

Since I didn’t really want the chickens to get all the tasty fruit, I needed something mobile to keep them safe. Mobility also ensured that they got sunshine all day long. It also helped that the wagon was pretty water tight and even on the hottest days, they stayed perky.

A friend got some Black Cherry and Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market and shared. I managed to save some seeds and ended up getting nice plants and seeds for this year.

My wagon is no longer water tight, so I had to break out a trash bag and duct tape. The peat pots I got at the dollar store half off last fall.

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When you grow your own, you know what you are getting, and really they taste better anyways!

Things you need: a wagon, some dirt, some pots, seeds, and a watering can (or jug or hose).

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I marked the peat pots with today’s date and the initials of the type of tomato plant.

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Some Black Cherry seeds. They have a bit of paper towel stuck to them from when I dried them. I put 3-4 in each pot.

I like to fill the pots about 3/4 full, poke a hole, drop in the seeds, and water them. Since the trash bag and duct tape fixed the leak, they will have enough water for a couple of sunshiny days.

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Ready to grow!

The little bitty pots tip over easy, so I packed some dirt around them. I had a lot of empty space so I put some bricks and a rock in the wagon.

The peat pots on the left are Cherokee Purple, right are Black Cherry. In the middle are some of each of those and some grape “poomatoes”

Even before the plants come up I like to let them chase the sun. I move them every morning, noon, and afternoon so that they have sun at all times. As they grow and I re-pot them, the wagon gets heavier and makes for a nice workout.

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The pots from last year’s tomatoes.

When starting tomatoes out from seeds, I like the peat pots because you can just plant the whole pot into a larger pot. Eventually with mobile gardening, you will need bigger pots. I had a couple end up in 3 gallon containers.

I didn’t use any pesticides, only sprayed the plants with the water hose and searched it for tomato plant eating worms. I fed the few worms I found to the chickens and we were able to keep the tomatoes to ourselves.

Today was such a nice day I went around the yard and discovered spring! The hostas are popping up along with Jacob’s Ladder, and both lilacs and Japanese maples are budded.

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It was such a pretty day, I built a fairy garden. All it needs now is a little door…

 

 

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