Saturday, April 9, 2011

April 9, 2011

I've been dying to get this post out, but the girls deserved yesterday's post all to themselves.  Yesterday I went up to do my every-three-day musical plant game, only to find the reservoirs dry and the plants bumping the lights again.
The good news is that the closest two that are still on the shelf are growing stalky rather than tall.  That's a good sign for appropriate growth.  The rest, despite all attempts to avoid it, are getting a bit leggy.  I may need to stake them more when I harden them off, or they'll flop over.  Speaking of which, do you think it's time to start doing that?  I'm nor relishing the prospect of moving them in and out of the house on those flimsy trays, let alone extricating them from the framework of my light system.  Eek!

The bad news is that this is what I'm dealing with with the first plantings...
So, it was time yet again for another furniture change.  Let's see, what do I have laying around the storage room.  What am I going to do when the kids move up here and I can't use this great southern exposure room over the garden for my light system. Maybe they won't mind sleeping on the couch for a few months each winter? hehe  This box will do...

No pics were taken during the moving process, because I definitely had my hands full with moving out a monitor box and moving in an orange crate while holding a tray full of heavy tomatoes stuck inside the frame of my light system.  How I did it I have NO idea, but here is the result...
I figure this will give me almost a week.  Maybe by then I'll just move them outside during the day and in the dark garage at night. It would throw off their light schedule, but isn't that one of the points of hardening off?  Oh, and what did I find when I was watering them?  One of my Legend tomatoes had set flowers!
I never know whether to pollinate them or pluck them at this stage.  This plant's pretty good sized (not one of the huge ones but the next biggest).  Sure would be nice to have a few early tomatoes, but I hate to have the plant devote all it's energy to tomato production rather than plant growth.  Of course they'll get a shot of fish emulsion when planted out, in addition to my all-purpose fertilizer and Epsom salts.  Thoughts?

Lastly, I was going to create a separate post on this, but it really doesn't deserve it.  I've been playing with milk-jug cloches with some interesting results.  Of course I simply cut the jugs in half and poked vent holes in the "tops".

Then I simply dug them into the soil a bit over the top of my seedlings. In this case it was my tender broccoli and cauliflower starts, one of which got eaten by slugs (see a post a few days ago).

What I found was that the seedlings wilted quickly, kind of like a greenhouse effect, so I was always removing them on "warm" days, as in around 50 degrees. Tonight I just left them off all-together.  I've sprayed for bugs so let's hope the slugs stay away.  Maybe tomorrow I'll hit them with a shot of fish emulsion to jump start them?

Enjoy your garden!


  1. Those tomatoes are huge. I'm a strange one with tomatoes. I don't even start them until the cool weather crops go outside. I only grow them inside for about a month. Peppers only get a week longer. I just don't have room under the lights to do all of them at once. So the warm weather crops have to wait.

  2. Hi Rich,

    Your tomato plants look like you planted them months ahead of mine. I've been having problems this year (again). I think it has been a combo of inconsistent heat and a bit too much water. I repotted them yesterday so hopefully they will perk up soon, otherwise I'll be buying my tomato plants this year.

    I've had a hard time finding success with small cloches just for the reason you mention. Sorry you had some wilting.


  3. Your tomatoes are indeed getting quite big. Mine are similarly getting large and I moved them out to the greenhouse to begin the long process of hardening them off. I need to add some stakes to the taller (older) ones before I start moving them in and out of the greenhouse regularly.

  4. Your tomatoes are huge compared to mine and flowering like they are you will no doubt have some very early tomatoes this year...lucky you. I like your milk jug cloches...great idea.:)