Cheap Dog Food Makes Great Tomato Crop
This is really part two to my story of the Fall Leaves. When I was planting out my tomatoes I pushed the mulch aside with my hands to make a hole for the little plants and then pushed the mulch back into place again.
As I mentioned, my father-in-law was horrified as he watched me do that. He was so sure that I was going to ruin them that I thought he was going to shed tears.
So, just to please him, I did actually dig a hole for the last plant. A real hole! With a real shovel!
But then I got him all upset again because into that hole I poured a full sack of dry dog food.
He thought I'd lost my mind, pouring perfectly good dog food down into the earth.
He was completely deaf to my explanation, which was that I didn't choose to use the chemical fertilizers that he used because I felt they weren't good for the soil, but that I was willing to use dog food because it had lots of good nourishment in it and, in any event, it couldn't do them any harm.
The upshot of that incident was that, as wonderfully as my mulch-grown tomatoes performed, the one tomato plant that also got a hole full of dog food did, I'm obliged to admit, noticeably outperform the others.
And here's the gigglesome bit:
My father-in-law prepared dog food-filled holes for each of his tomato plants the following spring!
Mind you, he didn't do the mulching thing because
- his theory was that mulch harbored bugs, and
- all that compost he was forever shoveling back
and forth in that pit of his had to go somewhere!
But he did do the dog food thing and I must say, he had a better-than-usual crop of tomatoes that summer and every summer thereafter.
Not as good as my
crop of tomatoes, of course, but much improved over what he'd been able to achieve in the preceding years.
In my view, it was the heat that stressed his plants to the point where they just couldn't perform at their best. They might have done okay if he'd been able to maintain their required degree of soil moisture, but that's just what he couldn't do with the system he was using. More moisture evaporated into the air than hydrated into the plants whenever he watered them. There just wasn't enough mulch on the surface of the soil to keep the moisture in!
But I thank God for small favors. At least he stopped using chemical fertilizers!
Regards, Elizabeth ...