Monday, March 15, 2010

A Little Bit Here, A Little Bit There...

We're continuing to do a little bit here, a little bit there in the garden to prepare for planting tomatoes.

My wife has been doing the tedious work of transferring the seedlings from their tiny pulp pots into four inch containers. For now the job is done until we find more four inch plastic containers to house the other seedlings.

About a month or so ago, my wife used RoundUp to kill some of the grass. We put newspaper over the sprayed area and held it down with newspapers. This weekend we put away the brick and threw away the newspapers, leaving ourselves with dead grass. Great!

Then we had to pull it out. This is very tedious work. I started on Saturday after doing some other chores. I worked on it for 45 minutes or so and I feel I wasn't making much progress at all. I'd take out a clump with a shovel, bend down, pick it up, grab the shovel to knock off loose dirt, take out any worms by hand and drop the dead grass in the trash can. I did it again Sunday morning for about 75 minutes. While I've pulled out enough grass to plant a tomato (after prepping the soil), I'm less than 10 percent done on the overall area to be pulled. This isn't going to be fun.

One of the chores done over the weekend was the gather some soil for later testing. The pamphlet I received indicated to take 12 samples from different places in the garden (I started with the back yard), mix it all together, dry it out and submit it to the testing facility. We're drying some back yard soil (the mulch is doing an amazing job keeping the soil moist) and will submit a sample later this week.

We also purchased and planted Husky Cherry Red in the “corner office” of the front yard. We are both quite fond of this tomato. As I say, “What's special about this tomato is there's nothing special about this tomato.” It's simply a good tasting tomato, nothing fancy.

Both my wife and I are tomato aficionados (pronounced “snobs”). We definitely prefer heirloom tomatoes over hybrids and like to try esoteric tomato strains along with our favorites. But the hybrid Husky Cherry Red is an exception. It grows like a dwarf Christmas tree producing quarter-sized tomatoes that will support any salad without dominating it. If there's such a thing as a “salt of the earth” tomato, this is it for us.

We got our rototiller back from a friend whom had borrowed it some months back. We also got a big trash bag full of chicken manure. I placed it on our compost pile and then watered it down to keep it in place.