Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Rain, So Four More In The Ground

The storm didn't come. Well, the storm did come but it brought no real rain.

My wife had a long day and didn't feel like doing much tomato work. I was expecting a relaxing evening, catch up on things...but there was no rain. I got home later than the previous two days.

I dug holes for four tomato plants in the back yard. These holes were in an area where our processed ponderosa pine tree was laid down as mulch.

My wife came out to plant Gypsy, Thessaloniki, an untagged plant that we believe to be Yellow Perfection and Snow White.

After dinner I put cages around these plants, added fertilizer, but didn't water. It was pretty cool and there was a chance of rain. I lightly watered these plants in the morning when no rain appeared overnight.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Planted 7 More Tomatoes In The Back Yard

Last evening we continued planting tomatoes.

My wife got an earlier start. By the time I made it home, several holes were dug in the area where we had recently pulled out the grass in the back yard. I helped out in planting seven more tomatoes in this space: Sweet Tangerine, Speckled Roman, German Orange Strawberry, Pineapple, Marianna's Peace, Black From Tula and Berkeley Tie-Dye Heart – all larger tomatoes.

However, we were both slowed down by pulling out pieces of asphalt about 8 – 10 inches in the ground. This was an area we hadn't “pecked” at before, so progress was more labored (literally) than yesterday's planting session.

After dinner I caged these new tomato plants, caged them, added tomato fertilizer and watered lightly.

I had remembered Weeping Charlie as one of the forgotten tomatoes planted on Monday night by the late afternoon, but couldn't think of the last one. A quick check indicated we had also planted Black Oxheart.

On a personal note, five years ago today I had elective orthognathic surgery on both upper and lower jaws. Due to a fall at 19 months from a top of a bunk bed, my lower jaw was malformed, causing several issues as I progressed through adulthood. I was a “sweller” after surgery – it wasn't pretty. Two and a half months of liquid diet, two months of a soft food diet. Three and a half months after that, my braces were removed. I went out on the first date with my wife the next day, knew I found a winner, and here we are today, married and planting tomatoes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Got 10 More In The Ground

We got 10 tomato plants in the ground last night, my wife and I working as hard as we could after I got home from work and before the sun set.

We ate dinner. Then I went out to put up cages, place fertilizer around the tomato plants and water just enough to hold the fertilizer down. I'm expecting the rain due in a couple of days to finish the job for me.

Also I added a stake the the cage surrounding our volunteer tomato plant. If you base only on color, this volunteer looks like the healthiest plant we have!

I gave some tomato fertilizer to our Husky Cherry Red. It didn't get some fertilizer at planting time and it's starting to get a mild yellowish tinge. I thought it would help.

By the time I was done it was 10:15 PM.

This evening we have the same goal – get as many plants in the ground before the rain starts.

From memory, here's what we planted last night: In the front yard we planted Patio, Stupice and Violet Jasper. In the back yard we planted Red Boar, Dr. Wyche's Yellow, Pierce's Pride, Depp's Pink Firefly, Emerald Evergreen and two others whose name escapes me.

Unbeknownst to us at the time of planting, we did make a slight mistake. We planted a Dr. Wyche's Yellow in the area where we took out the grass in the back yard. After dark I took an inventory of what we planted, only to realize we had previously planted a Dr. Wyche's Yellow three feet away from the new one!

Last year we grew two Mexico and two Speckled Roman plants. But we placed one in the back yard and one in the front yard.

We forgot that we had already planted Dr. Wyche's Yellow!

As mistakes go, we'll take this one in stride. My wife loved (and I just “really liked”) Dr. Wyche's Yellow last year. So if we have two, all the better, even if they're only three feet apart.

Monday, March 29, 2010

An Exhausting Blast!

TomatoMania was an exhausting blast!

My wife and I worked the event for all three days (Friday and the weekend). My wife was one of the cashiers and I was out helping customers and sounding like I knew what I was talking about. That and pushing tomato seedlings around.

Also I was misnaming and forgetting the staff names left and right (I must be getting old). I kept calling Fran by the name of Judy (don't ask me why, even I don't know). Now get this, she's a Facebook friend of mine and I kept referring to her as Judy. Alison and Kevin came on Saturday with their newborn. In my mind I kept referring Kevin as Henry. Fortunately, I never called him by his first name. And don't even talk about the others whose names I forget but they remember both my wife and I. You hope to pick their name in casual conversation. Brian looked like a former colleague named Tim and in my mind he was Tim until I asked my wife what his name was. He's only been to every event since I've worked TomatoMania. I think I'll remember Trudy's name the next time around but for the rest of you I'll just have to ask every year.

Here's an image of me helping a customer at the TomatoMania event:

The customers are loads of fun as well. We met some old friends, made new ones and learned some new techniques, as you can well imagine.

We came back with sore muscles, dirt, a deeper tan, some cages and tomato seedlings.

My wife and I discussed the logistics of planting our new batch of seedlings as well as the plants we're growing from seed. Given time, I'd like to get a listing of each tomato plant, perhaps write the name on a small Post It, separate these out for front yard/back yard and them place them where I think they should go. We have hardwood floors, so just lay the Post It's around the hardwood floor, then write the layouts on sheets of paper.

That's not going to happen. We're supposed to get rain on Wednesday/Thursday.

So our goal is a quite clear – get the larger seedlings in the ground as soon as possible. I don't care where, I don't care how, just get in as many as we can before the front moves in. Slam them in!

Of course, one can plant after the rain showers so it's not a disaster. But you're dealing with digging wet ground, etc., it's just much more trouble than it's worth. Besides, a rainstorm after a transplant “feels right” for some reason.

We're going to have to move our seedlings grown from seed to a location that won't receive the roof runoff. We got burned by that the last time.