Sunday, March 20, 2011

March 20, 2011

First off, thanks for all the great comments folks and to all my followers.  I appreciate each and every one of you.

Deb, thanks for the offer. I may end up taking you up on that if this final batch doesn't germinate or grow well.

Before I get into my continuing tomato saga, I'd like to talk about the week that led up to Spring, 2011.  If it wasn't raining, it was windy as could be.  It seemed every day I had to go out and re-cover my salad bed.  The laundry clips I got from the Dollar Store weren't quite holding up to the power of the wind.

I especially had to take care of the two green onions that were transplanted out.  the back end of the hoop house kept blowing in, flattening them.  Happened twice before I wised up and clipped the plastic in place back there.  Sure hope they survive.  Speaking of survival, gotta get out and water them tomorrow.  Mother Nature isn't expected to help for a few days and I bet they're thirsty under there.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programing.  This week on How the Tomato Turns, I ran out of vertical space in my light system.  I knew this day was coming as the three initial plants were growing about 2 inches every three days.

It's a jungle out there doesn't even begin to cover it.  I had to do something drastic.  So, for the first time in 3 years, my light system was moved.  No, not to the other end of the house, but about 2 feet to the right, off the board.  Some careful plant movement and creative Jerry-rigging and I gave my tomatoes a few more inches.

Yep, it isn't pretty, but I've got a tray sitting on a TV tray. I don't like how far the lights are from the rest of the plants, but for now that can't be helped.  I've got a month before my tomatoes can be planted out.  I'm actually quite proud of my achievement there. Necessity is the mother of all invention.

Speaking of tomatoes, I'm kind of bummed.  I worked so hard to get my earliest producer, Bloody Butcher, to germinate.  After three attempts with two seeds each, I finally got something to grow.  Unfortunately it wasn't getting tall, but rather just sitting on the surface of the dirt. At first I thought it was just that the seed was too far down.  Then when I was moving things around, I snapped this picture and all became clear.
I'll be darned if that isn't a weed from a seed that must have overwintered in my cold compost bin.  What else could it be, it definitely isn't a tomato!?  Guess I'll be not only down a plant, but missing out of a very early producer.

Oh, and in case I wasn't aware, bigger plants need more water than little lettuce seedlings. Look what I found when I went up after three days to water and move plants around.
I wonder if this withered branch will still make a decent root when I pot it up into my SWC?

So, for now, this is my compromise of a set-up upstairs.
Gonna have to be creative about what to replace the TV tray with that's shorter and can hold up all that dirt and plant weight.

Hope you enjoyed the first day of spring in your garden.  I sure knew it was the first day as I took my first allergy pill of the season!


  1. Oh wow, your tomato plants are growing out of control :) The stems are hearty and they look healthy. Are you going to pot them up again before planting out?

    As far as your other seedlings...You can always stack boxes under the flat to bring them up closer to the lights. I do this early in the season when I only have one shelf lit. Just make sure it is secure, I would hate to see the flat fall.

  2. I'm having to shuffle the tomato seedlings around a bit too, because some are clearly outgrowing the others....Too bad on the bloody butcher.

  3. I knew it was spring because I took my first pain pill of the season! Aleve works wonders for aching muscles ;-)

  4. I am going to have to do some juggling of a light bank for my tallest tomatoes as well. They are growing by leaps and bounds and are almost topped out to the lights which are up as tall as they can be set. I need to get them through about two weeks more of full on indoor living - at which point, the biggest will start the hardening off process - coming inside at night. I am probably going to "lift" the ends of my light set up to make it taller by placing blocks of wood under them. Now to find the right size blocks. :D

  5. I've had to move some of my tomatoes out to the cold frames...there's a population explosion in the greenhouse...they seem to be handling it well so far....

  6. Long time follower, first time commenter . . . I've got seedling envy - my tomatoes are sooo far behind this year. Ouch on the Bloody Butcher. That is hands down my favorite tomato every year, and I think I read about it first here, couple of years back. Size, early harvest, flavor; that tomato has it all.