Based on 40 years gardening in the Palouse, mid-May is the best time to buy and plant tomato seedlings.
Nonetheless, the extravagant display of thriving seedlings at garden centers and at the Farmers Market in early May tempts one to buy then.
This year, I succumbed to that temptation and bought three Cougar Reds — my favorite — a Valley Girl, New Girl, Sun Gold and Yellow Pear in early May.
I couldn’t find another favorite, the Stupice from the Czech Republic.
This forced me to water the purchases over the next week. Still recovering from a broken arm, I failed to plant them immediately.
My bride took pity on the tomatoes and me and helped plant them to my exacting standards May 12. Bless her. Her chore was magnified because I asked her to dump one-third bag of steer manure in each tomato hole.
I expect the tomatoes to thrive because she planted the lower stem of each seedling so all the tiny hairs will set roots. She also soaked all the transplants. Stay tuned for progress of the 2019 tomato crop.
Doug Young is a retired WSU professor who loves to share his 65 years of gardening experience. email@example.com. Visit sites.google.com/site/koppelfarm/Doug-Young for links to all of Doug’s previous columns.