The tomato plants are looking good, so far, and somewhat ahead of schedule for early June.  Now that the “Walls-O-Water” are off and the plants seem to be growing vigorously, I want to add mulch around the base of the plants to insure the EVEN moisture that tomatoes demand.  This is particularly important for June in Flagstaff–usually the warmest, driest and windiest month. I have discovered a cocoa bean shell mulch–an organic mulching material made from exactly what it says (it even smells vaguely “chocolatey”). It has an approximate fertilizer value of 2.5-1-3 and will not “burn” the plants.  One word of caution; cocoa shell mulch (and all cocoa products) contains theobromine, which can be toxic to dogs (so, please keep Fido away!).

Here is the “Line-up” and vital statistics for my plants as of June 3rd:

tomato jim plantstomato jim plant 2

Photo on left: Planter in back contains 1 Kellogg’s Breakfast, height 21 inches, and 1 Black Carbon, height 19 inches. Planter in front contains 1 Kellogg’s Breakfast, height 24 inches and 1 Cherokee Green, height 25 inches.

Planter in photo on right contains 1 Kellogg’s Breakfast, height 22 inches (I must REALLY like these!) and 1 Stupice (“stoo-peach-kah”), height 18 inches.

Contributed by Jim Mast