Hold me back! D&B Supply has had fabulous tomato plant varieties available since early April. But, if you have grown tomatoes before, you know it is too early to plant. Our days may be reaching 70-degrees, but the threat of frost is still there until about mid-May. On average, the last potential frost date is May 10th, for our region.
But, what if you just can’t help yourself? D&B has the varieties you want and if you are afraid you might not get them a month from now, there is a solution. You must (plant and) PROTECT your plants until mid-May using cold caps, row/crop cover or a Wall of Water.
My go-to is a Wall of Water. For about $15, I can buy a pack of three that will last several seasons. However, I’ve never been able to fill the Walls of Water without getting wet and creating a big mud puddle.
That’s all changed, thanks to Caldwell gardeners, Karen and Ed Hulme. They shared their tips on a no-hassle use of Walls of Water. It involves rigging together an old style radiator nozzle like the ones we used to see at full-service gas stations. My mom would frequently stop at the Husky Station, in Holladay, Utah to gas up. The attendant would check the car’s water levels. I remember seeing that hose bib as a kid. As a result, I’m calling my new hose attachment, “Husky.”
- Package of Wall of Water
- A bucket or planter (smaller than a 5-gallon bucket)
- Water bib cock for water service hose (I got mine at NAPA)
- Adapters to fit a hose (I got mine from Ace Hardware)
Put the new “Husky” nozzle together. You may need some Plumber’s Tape where the fittings attach to keep them from leaking water.
To properly plant your tomato, gently remove the stems at the bottom. I’m pretty liberal with this practice and tend to take off quite a lot of stems — like almost two-thirds of the plant.
Dig a good, deep hole and lay the plant sideways, while propping up the top with a stick or a dirt clod. Make certain the area where you removed most of the stems will be under rich, organic soil. Where you removed the stems, roots will grow and become part of the plant’s healthy root system.
Fill in the hole and then set a bucket or planter over the tomato plant. Place the Wall of Water around the planter. The planter acts as a support as you fill the Wall of Water. Use your special Husky attachment to fill each chamber. You’ll find there isn’t as much pressure coming from your new attachment. Thus, making it a cinch to fill.
I did purchase a hose nozzle from D&B that looked similar to my Husky nozzle and used it. The Orbit nozzle has a great deal of water pressure and it created bubbles as it was filling the chambers. It took me a lot longer to fill the chambers and I ended up getting a wet. However, it works in a pinch and is less expensive than the Husky Nozzle.
Once you have the entire Wall of Water filled, remove the planter and voilà… you’re good to go. Even if we have a freeze, the Wall of Water should protect your tomatoes. Remember to remove the Walls of Water by about mid-May.