Saturday, May 3, 2008

Old Ivory Egg Is Planted

Old Ivory Egg just got planted about 15 minutes ago. That makes 27 tomatoes in the front yard and 25 in the back yard.

More of the same...

Yesterday and today I paper mulched 13 tomatoes in the back yard, leaving 10 to go.

I didn't plant Old Ivory Egg this morning due to tactical reasons – the gardeners were going to thin out the lemon tree this morning. If a falling branch took out one of the tomato plants, I'd replace it with the Old Ivory Egg. Fortunately, nothing happened.

I keep searching for tomatoes on new plants, but none so far. Lots and lots of blooms, though.

Also, I'll be backing off on the watering now that the paper mulch is mostly in place.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Opossum In The Backyard

I went directly from work to Home Depot, bought a dozen four foot wooden stakes, worked out at the gym, drove home, gave two of the stakes to my neighbor across the street and put in five of them into the ground for additional support for some of the back yard tomatoes.

When we got back from dinner, I made some paper mulch but didn't put it out in the garden. Our dogs found another opossum in the back yard and dealing with the dogs, the opossum and animal control took up the rest of the evening.

This morning I watered the tomato plants a bit lighter that I did last time. I didn't notice any new plants with tomatoes but I didn't look too closely.

Last year on this date, we harvested our first tomatoes of the season, two Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes.

On a side note, perhaps one is wondering why I'm going all out now with the paper mulch, stakes, fertilizer and whatnot. In essence, I'm trying to get “out in front” of all these chores and details before I spend a majority of my tomato time “training” and harvesting the tomato plants. It turns out that I don't do as well as others in the heat of the summer so I'd simply rather do these things now then fight it later.

On the ToDo list: Plant Old Ivory Egg (probably Saturday), finish adding paper mulch to the backyard tomatoes, landscape the area around most of the backyard tomatoes (I'll do this as I add the paper mulch to them), add more stakes as needed, then as time goes on replenish the paper mulch as necessary.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's Old Ivory Egg!

Last night I took a closer look at the tomatoes while adjusting the branches to lay over the cages where appropriate. The color for Purple Russian does look better. The backyard Zhezha looks like it may have even grown. Arkansas Traveler is so tall, it's nearly as tall as Yellow Brandywine – Platfoot Strain. Salisaw Cafe is the best plant grown from seed at the moment.

Oh yeah, I keep forgetting to mention that the new growth on the Patio container plant looks greener than the rest of the plant. It is looking better.

Three more plants got paper mulch. The front yard is done and one tomato plant in the back got paper mulch.

The other news is that (sigh) it looks like I have one more tomato seedling to plant. My wife kept the OIE/Tula seedling until she heard from the person that grew it from seed, and gave away the rest at her work. Later in the day, the seedling lady chimed in to say she's almost certain that it's Old Ivory Egg. My wife says “Plant it!”. So we discussed some planting location possibilities.

We were both tired, though, and went to bed early.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another day...

Not much to report today.

Mulched the paper last night and distributed the shredding among three plants. I did take this image, though...

As you can see, this is a picture of an egg next to the tomato plant Micro Tom. I doubt you'll see it in this reduced image, but there's a tomato growing on the plant, on the far side of the egg (at the 12 o'clock position).

Fertilized the container plants and some of the tomatoes in the ground as well as watered this morning. Tedious.

Update on our problem children: Purple Russian looks the same, thin and droopy. The backyard Zhezha has better color than before.

Oh, I put the rest of the seedlings in front of my wife's car door so she'd distribute them at work. In moving, I noticed one of the plants had “Tula” on one side (for Black From Tula) but on the other side, 180 degrees away, it said “OIE”! There's our Old Ivory Egg! Or is it Black From Tula? I talked it over with my wife and we simply do not know which plant it is.

I glanced at the others and didn't note any indication of Speckled Roman, though I didn't look too closely. The other clay pots were taken back over the weekend by our seed grower. So who knows? Maybe one of our recent plantings is really a Speckled Roman....time will tell.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Paper Mulch Added, Micro Tom Has A Tomato

I shredded today's, yesterday's and Saturday's newspaper in my shredder and spread it around the tomatoes in the front yard. It was tedious, and the shredder shut down for about an hour – it may have gotten too hot – but I think the shredded paper will help.

I put the shredding around the lip of the bowl, keeping at least one inch between the stem and the shredding.

I'll do that with each newspaper until I've covered all the tomatoes. As the shredding tamps down due to water, I'll probably start over and do it again. This will also force me to landscape some of the areas around the tomatoes, especially the ones in the back yard.

The high here in the last three days has been in the mid to upper 90's. As noted previously, the plants have grown. Red Yellow Cap and Gregori's Altai appears to have doubled in size in a week.

Micro Tom has a tiny little tomato on it. The plant itself is about the size of an egg (actually an egg is bigger - no joke). Red Robin has a second tomato on it.

My wife may fertilize some of the tomatoes that are blooming this evening.

Below are pictures taken of Red Currant last evening.

This plant took off weeks ago and it about four feet tall! In the first shot you can see some of the paper mulch laid down around the tomato plant. Also, it probably isn't noticeable in the shrunken image but there's at least five tomatoes visible in the lower left and center.

The second shot, taken from the opposite side, shows hundreds of blooms on the plant.

In the shot below, taken March 10, shows Red Currant on the left and Husky Cherry Red on the right.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Watering, Paper Mulch

Now that everything is planted, there isn't much to do until the seedlings get about 2 to 3 feet tall. Of course there's watering, which I did this morning. Right now I'm watering every other day but will soon cut it to twice a week.

As time permits, I'll run the newspaper through a shredder and use it as a mulch for the tomato plants. We've done this with the container plants in the front, but I'd like to continue it with the plants in the ground. We read or heard somewhere that this could help the soil around the tomato plants keep a bit cooler during the summer months.

I believe it'll be tedious and a bit messy though.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tomatoes are growing....

I took a look at all the tomatoes, looking to adjust branches in relation to their cages (I'll explain how I "train" plants later) and just getting a general sense of what's happening with them.

Basically, they look great. Aunt Ruby's German Green looks solid. Green Grape has lots of new growth color, looking like it's about to fill out and perhaps take off. Husky Cherry Red has two new places where tomatoes are growing. Taxi has nine tomatoes on it.

The backyard tomatoes are further behind but for the most part they were planted later.

It's in good shape.

Lime Green Salads and Piccolo planted

I got the rest of the planting done this morning before the heat set in. It got up to the mid-90's yesterday and is supposed to be a bit hotter today. My wife, I and our neighbor like to go to the local Farmer's Market this morning but I decided to pass.

We moved the birdbath away from Black Krim.

I planted Piccolo and Lime Green Salad as described previously. I planted the last Lime Green Salad in the back, using the cage from Black Cherry. It took some effort to plant the last Lime Green Salad as there were a lot of roots to break.

Also I built up the area Black Cherry, Yellow Brandywine -- Platfoot Strain and White Bush. I gave a little water to Aker's Plum because it was so warm this weekend.

Then I took a look at Purple Russian and the backyard Zhezha, my problem children. There was some potting soil nearby so I took a scoop to each of them and added a little water to work it in. Strangely and surprisingly, Zhezha is getting some buds on it.

By the way, a lot of the tomato plants are breaking out with buds. We'll have more tomatoes to report in the near future....