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June 17, 1998|TRACY CROWE McGONIGLE

Dad's Big Boy

Nothing beats a home-grown tomato fresh from the vine.

And maybe presenting Dad on Father's Day with this kit that includes everything a person needs to plant tomatoes will guarantee you'll be eating some of those tasty, juicy home-grown gems come August or September.

Dad doesn't need to be an expert gardener. Once he's followed the directions you're going to include in his kit, he can sit back and relax until the tomatoes are ready to pick.

You can get tomato plants and everything else you'll need (except for plastic wrap and a Father's Day card) from your local nursery. There are plenty of heirloom and conventional varieties to choose from, including Big Boy, which might be just right for Dad.

And if Dad needs some help with the planting and watering along the way; well, what else are kids for?

You will need:

1 (17-inch) clay pot

1 small piece plastic wrap

1 (45-liter) bag organic potting soil

1 square wire stand or tomato tower

1 tomato plant

1 container dry or liquid vegetable food

1 metal or plastic scooper

1 Father's Day card, with Directions for Planting enclosed

Cover drainage hole in pot with double layer of plastic wrap to keep soil in place before kit is unwrapped.

Place potting soil bag in pot. Open bag and scoop out some of soil to fill around bag.

Open wire stand halfway and place in pot as far down as it will go.

Place tomato plant (still in nursery container) into opened soil bag. Place box of vegetable food toward back of clay pot. Put scoop in middle and card in front.

Directions for Planting

Remove soil from pot (or scoot it to one side of the drainage hole). Remove plastic wrap from drainage hole of pot and place rock or piece of broken pot over hole.

Fill pot halfway with soil. Remove tomato plant from nursery container and place into middle of large pot. Fill with soil. Sprinkle soil with vegetable food according to instructions on package. Place plant in full sun and water twice a week.

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