Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 2, 2010

Well, the weather is definitely working along the idea that April and May showers bring flowers...  I got out in the morning to start working on the Self Watering Containers.  They had been crudely stored for the winter and needed to be cleaned up and filled for planting.

The first order of business was counting.  I've got 10 viable tomato plants that are all hardened off and ready to go in the ground.  Unfortunately, even if I use my 32 gallon SWC for tomatoes and not mellons, I stil only have 4 bins.  My solution?  The 32 gallon scrap container that held my failed corn last year.  It's behind my blueberries and in great sun.  So what if it's not an SWC, it's good enough.

It was sprinkling off and on, so I worked fast.  I know that dirt used to grow tomatoes can carry diseases from year to year, so it's good to rotate, especially since I'm growing heirlooms with horrible disease resistance.  So I did some musical dirt.  Using a small bucket as a big scoop, I transferred the tomato dirt (Mel's Mix) to my sons' scrap SWC bin gardens and took their formerly carrot dirt and augmented my scrap tomato bin and a little into my SWCs.  My goal with the tomato bins was to keep the mix as diverse as possible to allow for the best possible nutrients for the heavy feeders.  I'm still going to fertilize, but it all starts with good soil. 

Next up for my crazy concoction was copious amounts of home made compost.  It's very dry because of the cover over the compost bin for the last year, but that's ok.  It will hydrate soon enough.  It's also not what I'd call finished compost, at least not in the way Cedar Grover uses a chipper on theirs.  Again, I don't mind.  I love seeing bits of egg shell and news print that isn't quite done.  It's all good for the soil.

After that, I mixed in an equal amount of Cedar Grove compost.  I know, cheating.  At least I didn't buy it.  My Aunt got 6 yards delivered to spread out all over the yard at their new home.  She got too much (minimum orders) so she's been giving it away.  I just bagged four left over compost bags and brought them home.  I used three of them to fill all my bins.  Actually, rain stopped me before I could finish.  I basically left everything right where it was when the sky opened up.

Over the next few days, not much gardening got done.  If it wasn't rain, it was horrible wind storms.  So bad in fact that I actually brought in my tomatoes overnight.  I could do that since mine are still in pots.  Unfortunately, my brother's plants are in the ground already.  I got a call at 8 the night of the storm asking if I had anything he could use to protect them.  Thankfully I've been slowly collecting junk over time for use in the garden.  I had 5 empty 2-liter pop bottles in the garage for just such an occasion.  He cut the bottoms off, drilled a few vent holes in the top and put them over the plants like mini-cloches.  He's leaving them on to heat the plants a bit.  Can't wait to see how they fair.

Hold onto your hat and enjoy your garden!


  1. I heard you guys got pretty hammered. Hopefully your brother's plants will be okay.

    We got a fierce storm blown through here yesterday. It tore one of my toms in half. I'm hopeful it will sprout a sucker or something that will take over as the main stem.

  2. It has been rather wicked weather this past many days. Hopefully it will give it a rest soon and let us get back to the business of spring! :D

  3. Hi Rich! I'm still using the SWC scraps to grow tomatoes in LOL! Eventually we will get raised beds built to replace them, but for now, hey why not use what you've got, eh?

    Hope some nicer weather is heading your way!

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