Sunday, March 08, 2009

Garden Journal: 7 March 2009: Tomato transplants

Our attempt to start tomato seedlings didn't quite work out: started too late and the experiment of using fiber egg cartons turned out to be doomed from the start--too hard to keep them moist.

As it happened, one of the largest community gardens in Austin had its plant sale today so we went and bought tomato plants.

Bought 8 plants, 6 for planting in the tomato bed (shown here), two for growing in containers.

Planted the tomatoes in prepared soil that is roughly a 50/50 mix of last-year's compost and the soil/compost mix we bought. Added a handful of worm castings to each hole and watered with a compost tea solution. As shown in this picure, the plants are, left-to-right, front to back:

- Arkansas Traveler
- Cherrokee Purple
- Brandywine
- BHN 444
- Brandywine
- Valley Girl

All are full-size tomatoes. Tried to pick heirloom or interesting varieties.

The plant sale was packed--we were told it was a record attendance, which is not surprising given the dramatic upswell in gardening this spring.

Corn and beans are coming along nicely, as are the potatoes, spinach, and lettuce. Can now harvest sufficient lettuce and spinach to make a full-sized salad without noticeably reducing the available greenery.

Cherry tomato plant continues to grow and produce. I cut away all the dead stocks but there is still lots of green growth--I guess tomatoes can be perennials if freeze doesn't kill them.

Our biggest problem now is figuring out what to use for mulch. We don't have a chipper (with which we could chip bamboo and other trash wood that grows nearb) and haven't found a ready supply of popular stuff like oat hulls or whatever. We have lots of leaves, but I'm not sure that would be the best mulch. Could buy hay from the feed store but trying to avoid having to buy anything.

Our plan for today is to plant garlic in with the tomatoes, carrots in with the lettuce and spinach, set up at least one more soaker hose, and set up one or two pea tee-pees (we've been soaking the seeds overnight, per the instructions, so they have to be planted today). Also need to raise up the potato tower another six inches or so.

Elm and Ash pollen very high the last few days, including today.


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