Saturday, April 25, 2009

Accomplished A Lot

On Friday evening, as I prepared to give away some more seedlings, I staked all the backyard tomato plants in the ground. Also, I did some minor work on the front yard tomatoes – I used the needle nosed pliers to do some minor repair work on the tomato cages.

By the time our seedling recipient came over, my wife had made it home. We met the recipient, a very nice guy, and he knew the last couple that received seedlings from us! We gave him the garden tour and eight seedlings.

As of now, we have no more seedlings to give away. We may get more from our “seed lady” to give away but for now, there's no more to distribute.

Earlier in the day, my wife placed a white plastic trash bag around the inside of an unused strawberry pot, filled it up with dirt and planted White Currant in the pot. A great idea!

I did some more work on the tomato spreadsheet and the two tomato documents.

This morning, I watered the front yard plants, making a mental note that, well, she has too many of them. I planted Pierce's Pride in the back yard. I placed stakes in the container plants. I put tomato fertilizer on all the back yard tomato plants.

I completed work on the two tomato documents and the tomato spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is tedious to get right but it's now done.

I believe we're now managing 52 tomato plants (again).

We spent the evening with our friend in Beverly Hills and her two children. We all had a real fun time...but it's time for bed. I'm tired!

I caught up on a lot of tomato items over the last couple of days. I still need to use needle nosed pliers to handle some of the triangular cages, but that's about it. My wife continues to place paper mulch on the backyard tomatoes and eventually that will get done.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Los Angeles Times Tour; Four More Tomatoes Planted

Yesterday my wife, myself and my wife's cousin's daughter (? I'm bad at determining relationship chains) went on a tour of the Los Angeles Times.

The tour was donated as a silent auction item to the Larchmont Charter School last summer. My wife made the winning bid. We finally got around to making the visit.

On the way to the LA Times building we believe we saw Sandra Oh in a slightly dirty silver Prius on the 101 near Barham, heading south.

Our tour guide was a 14 year employee named Lisa Boone. She showed us around, but because of my near obsessive interest in newspapers what perhaps may have been a 20 minute tour extended to around the 90 minute range.

At one point in the tour there was the LA Times headline dealing with the Chatsworth Metrolink train accident last September. I had mentioned earlier that I was on the front page (“A1” in newspaperspeak) and that event had pushed the article back a couple of days.

Lisa: “What was it again?”

Me: “It was a tomato article.”

Lisa: (Light bulb goes on) “Oh, you're that crazy tomato guy!”

I'll never live it down.

Actually I had no problem at all with what she said, but it did give me something to needle her. Poor Lisa kept trying to climb out of her perceived faux-pas and I kept knocking her back. To my wife: “What was that first adjective she used when she realized it was me? Loopy?” Another time: “What adjective was it again? Goofy?” and so on. You get the algorithm. “... Googly-eyed?” “... Unstable?”

Actually what had happened is that Lisa had three ideas hit at once – first, that I was the guy in that article. The second needs further explanation. There was a story in the LA Times last year about making your own mulch (using hay, I believe). I kept the article for my wife and stated that we should try this during the winter. Winter came and went and we didn't try it, but we kept the article around somewhere. Apparently, the person who came up with the “make mulch on your driveway” wanted to get in touch with me and asking some people within the LA Times how to go about it (Clearly he doesn't know about this blog!). We said of course, no problem!

The third connection was that she had just tried the cracked-egg trick in a container. I interrupted her to say it's a whole egg, not cracked, and I don't do the egg trick in container plants (I'll repost this separately).

So all three ideas hit at once and to get to the other two I believed she simply said “crazy” as shorthand to get to the other two, more important ideas.

We were surprised by the test kitchen – a large kitchen area just like you would have at home, only larger – to test the recipes that go into the Food section of the paper. Also we were surprised by the executive floor – lights on, air conditioned...but no one there, no sign of life. Slightly spooky.

We met with Chris Erskine, a columnist (My wife really likes his columns) and a very sociable guy. On our way to lunch, hey, there's Mary MacVean, the columnist for the tomato article! My wife and I said hello to Mary, who was quite surprised. As I went over to give her a hug, Chris was asking us to hop on to the elevator. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye to Mary or to explain why we were there. A literal “hug and run”.

So after we got home we planted four tomato seedlings, two in the front and two in the back. Black Krim and Babywine in the front yard, Black Krim in the “corner office” and Babywine in the “koi pond”. In the back yard we planted Turkish Striped Monastery, took out Marz Round Green and put it in a pot (Marz Round Green doesn't look good but not bad enough to toss yet) and replaced it with Plum Tigris.

I updated my on line tomato documents with these new tomatoes.

Later on we dropped the daughter off at Downtown Disney to meet with her parents and drove back, getting home around midnight. A long day.

So we had a net gain of three tomatoes in the ground, bringing us up to a total of 51 tomatoes, I believe.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More Seedlings Given Away

We gave away more seedlings at the LA Fox User Group. The interested attendees were happy to come away with more than an education.

My wife watered the front yard plants on Monday.

The seedlings we planted are doing well in the recent heat.

I started work on the 2009 tomato spreadsheet.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Front Yard Tomatoes Staked

The front yard tomato cages are staked as of yesterday evening. A couple of the back yard ones are staked as well.

I should also mention that my wife has been shredding a lot of newspaper and placing it at the base of the seedlings, as a form of mulch. The front yard is mulched with paper, but I believe the back yard is to be done.

The tomato plants in the containers have been fertilized.

I've caught up with the front yard and back yard tomato documents as of last night. I haven't started working on the spreadsheet, however. When I get all three caught up I'll make them available on line for those interested.

Monday, April 20, 2009

TomatoMania -- More Fun!

My wife worked the TomatoMania event in Beverly Hills on Saturday. I couldn't help out – I had a client to attend to all weekend. My wife's experience was nearly the same as mine – exhausting, but so much fun. From what she told me, that event was by far the most popular of the events held at that location.

Now for the good/bad news – she brought home 17 more tomato plants. We'll never plant them all. But she did bring home Turkish Striped Monastery, so that'll be one of our keepers.

My wife watered the front yard tomato plants on Friday and I watered the back yard tomato plants on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, cousin Stephanie, daughter Julie and friend came over, got the garden tour, and took away about a half dozen tomato plants – a couple of our seedlings and a few from Saturday's TomatoMania event.

We still have seedlings to give away, so please contact us if you're interested and in the SoCal area.

Husky Cherry Red has a third tomato growing on the vines.