Friday, April 9, 2010

Planted Tomatoes In Our Raised Bed

Last night my wife and I had a goal to plant the raised bed before sundown. We just made it.

But first, we had to prepare the raised bed. My wife had put the alfalfa and bedding straw in a month or two ago. We were worried because our instructions were to include blood and bone meal to start decomposition of the materials – and they weren't included when the straw was placed.

We lifted an area with our pitchfork and were pleasantly surprised at the apparent decomposition that's occurring underneath. While I lifted, my wife made a bit of a hole and added the blood meal and the bone meal, then two shovelfuls of compost. We did this for three holes.

We stapled chicken wire over the straw in the raised bed. Next, we cut out three holes over the compost. My wife planted them, I stepped around the plants to give the plants something dense to grow through and added tomato fertilizer. My wife watered them. I added tomato cages. My wife placed bricks around the tomato plants as the sun was nearly set.

All the extra work was done to hopefully keep out the animals from attacking the blood and bone meal concoction. The decomposable materials in the raised bed look real good – it almost acts like an 8 inch thick “turf” that you can lift.

Oh yeah, we planted Jaune Flamme, Nyagous and T. C. Jones.

I checked them this morning and they're doing just fine. The Japanese Black Trifele in the “koi pond” looks excellent.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Planted Japanese Black Trifele

Yesterday evening I planted Japanese Black Trifele in our “koi pond”. We purchased that plant before TomatoMania and it was spending too much time in the pot – so I planted it.

The ground underneath the “koi pond” mulch looked fabulous. Damp, but not too wet. The pine needle mulch is helping a lot.

Which brings up another point. In 2007 I took dirt out of this area and put the excavated dirt by the telephone pole in the back yard. We then made a raised bed out of this area (The unfilled hole in the front yard is how the “koi pond” moniker started). Great! We had a raised bed...except nothing grew. Anything planted there struggled or died.

My wife placed some of this ponderosa pine needles in this area during the winter. Now things grow there, and grow well!

We laid out this mulch most liberally in the “koi pond”. Based on our results in the original raised bed, we could have another killer year in this area and elsewhere.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Busy Weekend!

I got home from work on Friday afternoon and set my briefcase down by our front door. Inside came a piercing scream...of joy from the three year old that lives across the street. She bothered my wife enough (who was babysitting her throughout the early afternoon) with “Where's Bill?” “Where's Bill?” “Where's Bill?” that my wife called me and handed her the phone. I chatted with her for a short while.

Her sister, the two year old was at our house as well. After I got all my stuff in the house we went out back and played and chased them around and played.

Later on we picked up a 16 year old, James, who wanted to stay with us for the weekend and talk some things out. We were happy to oblige, picking him up from the bus stop a bit after 8 PM. We went out to dinner after that, then home.

On Saturday my wife's parents came by to drop off their two dogs with us. Her father is having surgery on Tuesday and we need to watch them in the meantime. James, my wife's father and I went to the Dodger-Angel preseason baseball game. When we came home my wife had prepared dinner for everyone. Also visiting at this time was our “seed lady” and his son Roy.

After a while Roy didn't feel too well, so he and her mother left for home. My wife's parents waited for the two girls from next door to come by but they could only wait so long and had to take the long trip home.

The two girls (cranky) came over about 15 minutes later with her mother. I ran them around the house and stopped being tired really quickly. James marveled at how I handled these two children. After 90 minutes of chasing them around the house, it was time for them to go back home. I carried the three year old back across the street while the mother took her two year old. Then we watched a movie.

On Sunday my wife, James and I walked around the UCLA campus. Neither of us felt the earthquake in Mexicali. Then we went to a movie in Burbank. James got to speak to the director of the move after the viewing and met him again after we sat down to dinner (He went to get his computer and spotted him next door at an ice cream place). When we got home we watched a movie.

In between all the action we got some tomatoes planted. On Saturday we planted Taxi and Sweetie in the same pot. Sweetie is the first of our seedlings we've planted this year. Planting in the same pot isn't recommended and I was initially mildly against it. But my wife wanted to try this as an experiment and also, we're going to have space problems if we plant each variety of seedling we're growing. With that in context, planting these two together is probably a good idea. We also planted Principe Borghese in a pot. One of the planted seedlings didn't look too good, so I gave it some more water.

On Sunday, with James helping out, we planted Black in the ground in the back yard. We planted Chile Verde and Lyn's Mahogany Garnet in pots. We planted Black Cherry and Michael Pollan in the “corner office” in the front yard. The “corner office” may be filled up with seedlings. The wilting seedling in the back yard perked right up and is doing fine.

To our surprise, it was raining this morning! We were getting a good soaking when our alarms went off.