Tomatoes


A Roma on the left, and a Marvel Striped on the right.  The Roma came form Lowes to replace a Cherokee Purple that was mysterioslu brokne off at ground elvel, and I think it went into the ground June 1.  Roma’s are 76 days so it’s way ahead. Marvel Striped (started from seed April12) was planted May 17; it’s 90 days and also ahead of schedule. I suspect this may be due to the Trex raised beds being so warm.  This Marvel Striped was at the very bottom of the vine, most of its still-to-ripen-relatives are MUCH larger.

Our potager-style vegetable garden is coming into it’s own.  Summer of 2008 has been just about a perfect garden year – the weather has been beautiful,  warm but not humid and we’ve had plenty of rain.  Of course, with garden there are always high and lows, oftenat the same time.  The lone tomatillo I planted hasn’t had any fruit, and some of the tomatoes are showing signs of blosson end rot.  But then again, the watemelon is amazing, and we even have decroative white mini pumpkins growing that I never even seeded!  We bought a bag as Thanskgiving decoration at Costco and threw them onto the front bed to compost.  Well, of course over a dozen of them sprouted!  So I kep the biggest one going, and you can see it in the same bed as the watermelon vines.  We have more veggies than we can even eat!

The chicken coop is finally finshed and we have our permit from Westwood. The coop design is the well known Playhouse Coop.  It’s just the right size for 3-4 chickens.  We have three, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Autralorp, and 1 Easter Egger.  The first will lay lay brown eggs, and the Easter Egger lays a blue or green egg.  They’re 4 weeks old this week, and still a few months away from laying.

One nice surprise this year are the watermeloms; they’re growing on the front steps.  That’s by far the warmest spot around our house due to the south facing windows and the hard surfaces.  The watermelons seem pretty happy there. The vines are just growing all over the place and osme of them are  more than 15 feet long.  Next year we will have to crop rotate, so we might actually goew these in the front yard under some ornamental grasses that get pretty tall. Or we might put them were you see the tomatoes, and plant giant sunflowers behind them as a livng screen because the tomatoes will need to go into a different bed as well.

 

The husband of a friend of mine is a serious gardener with years and years of experience, and I always use his transplant method for tomatoes.  This formala is like a Cook’s Illustrated recipe – just do exactly what it says, don’t deviate from the plan, and you’ll get a great result.

Peter’s Perfect Tomatoes

When you transplant into your garden do the following:

  1. Dig a hole as deep as the seedling height and twice as wide as widest set of leaves.
  2. Fill the hole 1/2 way with a 50/50 combination of peat moss and composted manure.
  3. Water the mix and make a thick mud.  The water should contain a transplant fertilizer (organic or chemical – your choice)
  4. Plant the seedling in the mud and bury it past the original seedling leaves.  The tomato will sprout new roots from the buried stem.
  5. Water as required for the rest of the summer but do not fertilize again – the tomato has everything it will need for the entire season.

Your tomatoes will go gangbusters – trust me!  Heirlooms in particular really like it.