We all got down the mountain safely, even though we came down by moonlight instead of sunlight.
As we reached the bottom, the two of us that had decided to not used the safety chains started bragging about the great feat we had accomplished.
I can just see everyone else there rolling their eyes at our arrogance. Looking back now I am rolling my eyes at myself.
As we were busying telling everyone how awesome we because we hadn’t touched the hand rails, my little brother, two years my younger spoke up and said “Not me! I held onto them every chance I could!”
I could almost hear in his statement. “Stop bragging about being stupid. Being smart is cool, being stupid is just… stupid.”
Needless to say, I was and still am humbled. There was a real danger on the hike and I made the conscious decision to make it even more dangerous. To take more risk than necessary, just to prove how “great” I was.
So what does any of this have to do with growing tomatoes?
Healthy Soil is the guard rail for your tomato plants. They (your plants) are surrounded by potentially life threatening hazards.
Just like a patch of loose stones, or a big gust of wind, or a tree root sticking out of the ground or even just a wrong step could have sent me tumbling for a few feet and then into a 1500 foot free fall that would not have ended well for me…
An invisible blight spore, or an unnoticed horn worm, or a sustained drought, or a heat wave, or a nutrient deficiency, or even just a strong wind can start your tomato plants into a downward spiral that ends in a dead plant and no tomatoes.
In my case, the tool to prevent the tragedy was right there. All I had to do was swallow my pride and hold on. Then even if I did step on the loose patch of rocks and slipped I would be anchored to the mountain by the steel chain handrail.
In your tomatoes' case, the anchor lies in microbiological communities present in the soil that need to be supported and sustained so that when that chance fungal spore lands or that strong wind blows, your tomato plants will all be firmly established in living soil and be able to overcome whatever stands in their way to become as productive as possible.
Right now, whether is it winter spring summer or fall, is the most important time to give your soil microbes a boost and I have two suggestions for doing just that.
1. Give them a nice thick layer of insulation (mulch). This will keep them warmer in the winter, maintain moisture in the summer and provide a constant supply of organic matter for them to be breaking down for your plants to use. I use leaves, grass clippings, plants from last year’s garden and/or my personal favorite… wood chips!
2. Apply Terra Fresh Home and Garden. There is nothing out there that supports microbial communities in the soil like Terra Fresh. A shot of Terra Fresh every three weeks to a month will keep them active all year long breaking down organic matter and getting it ready for your plants to feed on. You will be amazed at how they fly out of the ground next year!
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Writing this brings back great memories of that trip to Angels Landing. I’m glad my footing was sure (even though my thinking wasn’t) and that I’m here to write to you today!
I hope you will make your soil sure so that your tomatoes and other plants will thrive and produce as much as possible!