Friday, May 6, 2011

May 1, 2011

This post is a little late as I temporarily lost my camera, so here's a post I started about last weekend.

Well, I'm sure you all had busy weekends, but I wasn't nearly as productive as I'd hoped to be.  For one, I had two back-to-back baseball games for the boys on Saturday that blew the morning and part of the beautiful afternoon.  Then I found out that my much needed coop construction was on hold for the day.  I have come to realize I am not a construction guy, at least without clear direction.  So I turned my attention to something I know, or at least think I know, my garden.

A quick garden tour told me I had tons of badly germinated spots in my pea row, so I started soaking some peas.  Then I watered since as odd as it seems, we haven't had much rain of late, so at least the top inch was dry.  I still need to replace the spigot on the hose bib in the back, so I have no water to the back yard, so I have to go around to the front of the house to get water and use a watering can.  I wish I didn't need to turn off the water to the house to change it out.  I am having all sorts of faucet problems this month. First it was the kitchen, then the main bath, now the outside faucet.  Someone's telling me to set up my rain barrels after a year of sitting there.

What I could do right away was finally plant out my tomatoes.  They were at a point where they either needed potting up or to be tossed in the trash.  I figured what did I have to lose.  So I grabbed some compost and mixed it into the SWC.  I know you're supposed to not use the same dirt you used for tomatoes the previous year, but gardeners have been planting tomatoes in the same plot of dirt for eons, so I used half last year's Mel's Mix and half new compost.  They'll either love it or they won't.

Then came the difficult task of getting the monsters into the SWCs. Some were easy because they were just bushy, or sticks, but a few were to the moon, which required my eldest son to hold the top while I de-potted it and planted it in the container. Don't these look nice?  Oh, and sorry for the bad shadows, my main garden area doesn't get late afternoon/evening sun, and I was working late Saturday.

Next, I couldn't forget to fertilize.  Per my garden buddy Judy in Alabama, the best tomato fertilizer is part Epsom Salt and part all-purpose tomato fertilizer.  In a SWC, this goes in a shallow furrow between the two plants.

Then it was simply a task of placing the cages into the bins.  I must say this was no simple task indeed! The plants were so tall and branches spindly that I didn't want to break anything.  Eventually, they were planted out.

As much as I wanted to have tons of tomatoes this year. My poor germination earlier this year made me scrounge to fill three SWCs (6 tomatoes).  In my third SWC went the volunteer that did so well and the one I grew from succession (read emergency) replanting.  So I'll have two Stupices this year.  One's flowering already so the other one can really be a succession planting.  I sure hope I can figure out what that volunteer is, because it's growing so well and healthy, I'd like to grow it again, even if it means I need to save seed to do it.

Lastly, my final tomato did rather poorly, even more so than the others, when I hardened them off.  Note to self, no matter how nice and calm the day, don't leave your plants out all day in the beginning of the process. When I took a look at the nearly dead one, I found it was my only "surviving" Sunset Red Horizon. I bought that seed and really wanted to taste it.  Last year nothing grew well, so I was really hopeful for this year. So hopeful that I planted a stick.

Of course I didn't waste an entire SWC for that little sickly stick. Instead I planted it in the scrap SWC material I have next to my kids experiment gardens. I was planning on planting peas there (I found a package I don't remember trying before, but didn't want to mix them in the main beds). Now I don't know what I'll plant next to it.  Maybe one of the really late growers I still have upstairs.

What a great segway to the plants still hanging out under lights upstairs.  I had totally forgotten them.  What's worse, I had forgotten that I had turned the fan on to help my broccoli and cauliflower not be so leggy this time.  It had only been two days, but the fan must have dried out the plants.  When I went upstairs to put the last of my tomatoes that weren't quite ready to plant, back under lights, I found this scene...

MY BRASSICAS!!!! I killed my succession crops of broccoli and cauliflower to hopefully be preserved for winter consumption. Still I had to try putting them on life support, so I ran and grabbed the defibrillator, aka, watering can, and tried to save them.  I could keep you in suspense, but I won't.  The next day I went to check on them and found this radically different scenario.

They have odd coloring, but the leaves all perked up nicely, so there's hope for them yet.  I don't think I'll continue with the fan though. I'm just too spotty on watering my light system, out of sight, out of mind, as they say.  Oh, and the other container on the right? It's got a tomato sucker growing that I'm not sure I'll plant out, as well as some wheat grass my son's preschool class planted.  Is that something we'd eat raw, say in smoothies? Or something to feed to the cats or chickens?  Not pictured here is the tiny seedling I had hardened off that I potted up into a quart container and put back under lights.  Can't hurt to experiment can it?

Enjoy your garden!


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  2. Good luck with your tomatoes! I'm leaving mine outside all night tonight, it will be their first night out alone ;-) The few I've already planted aren't doing too badly, so let's hope the temp doesn't decide to plummet.

  3. I do hope your tomatoes are happy in their new home. Mine will see the sun for the first time today as I begin to harden them off this weekend.