Friday, April 16, 2010

Had A Strategy Session Last Night...

Everything that's been planted in the ground appears happy and healthy, except for our last seedling that will come out in favor of a larger, stronger seedling from elsewhere. Husky Cherry Red wasn't looking too strong about three weeks ago but since then, the color has improved (darker green) and the plant has grown.

My wife bought Red Currant to plant in one of our pots in the back yard.

My wife and I had a tomato strategy session at last night's dinner. We decided on growing one (perhaps two) tray of seedling, take them in and out of the house until they're strong and put them in the ground later in the season. We don't have a space for them, but we could cut out 12 to 18 inch round holes in the grass and plant them in the holes (as opposed to the hard and slogging work of pulling out all the grass). My wife may get a hold of a half dozen pots and try growing tomatoes like the lady in Beverly Hills does. We'll need to put up the infrastructure for it.

While we've been planting tomatoes at a pretty quick pace, we still need to add “moats” around almost all of the seedlings in the ground. Also, most of the cages need work. These projects may be done in May.

In general, the plants are happier than last year's tomatoes – so far – especially where the pine mulch was laid down on the soil around the tomato plants. Paradoxically, we may not have as large a count as we had last year. We had a Red Currant (1278 tomatoes) and two Snow White tomato plants (1419 and 1110 tomatoes) in the ground, pumping up the total. In fact, those three plants accounted for over 34% of the 2009 total harvest numbers. We do have one Snow White tomato plant in the ground but the Red Currant is going in a pot, and the plan right now is to put it in to a small pot, limiting the output.

However, this is all dependent on the weather. We've had good rains this year (and perhaps some more to come) – so far so good. But if we hit 110 degrees in the valley in mid-June (like we did in 2008), the harvest will not be good.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pulled Out New Seedlings in "Koi Pond", Planted New Strains

My wife paid a visit to the “Tomato Lady of Beverly Hills”, had a fabulous time, and came home with more tomato seedlings. Her technique is similar to one we've seen on a tour of Beylik Farms in Fillmore, CA. My wife came away with new techniques and had a blast!

This lady has also made her own line of tomatoes. In order to plant them we decided to take out our seedlings that were just planted a couple of days ago. We planted Miss Elliotte Black, Persimmon (not this Persimmon, but a different strain with the same name), Garden Peach, Large Pink Anna, Large White, Babywine and Elliotte Rose Pink. If there's no link underneath the tomato in the last sentence, then it is a strain from the “Tomato Lady of Beverly Hills”.

We decided to do another tray of seedlings from scratch to see if we can get a late planting of our favorite tomatoes. I'll have to make more room in the yard somewhere, somehow.

Oh yeah, I've been meaning to report that we have a volunteer in the front parkway, near our water meter.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mentioned On The Los Angeles Times Home blog

I didn't realize until now that I received another plug on the LA Times Home blog. Check it out here.

Filled Out The "Koi Pond" With Our Seedlings

My wife read yesterday's blog post about getting our seedlings in ASAP, liked the idea and talked me into planting out the rest of the “koi pond” with our seedlings. So with the help of her we planted Negro Azteca, Oaxacan Jewel, Indian Stripe, Gardener's Delight, Jaune Couer de Pigeon and Mexico.

And it got cool last night, down to 38 degrees. Not good for our seedlings outside.

For whatever reason, everyone's seedlings grown from seed has been bad. The seedlings from our “seed lady” have been a complete bust. Our friends Ricardo and Liz have had no luck growing from seed this year. Ours started out fine, but when they were transferred to four inch pots, we simply did not have the room to bring in all the trays of tomato seedlings every night. So they stayed outside. We think they got both too hot and too cold too soon in their existence. We'll see how the ones in the ground do and if they flourish, we'll keep them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Planted 8 More Tomatoes

Friday evening I planted Sara Black and Azoychka in the back yard before the sun set.

That same evening my wife noted that our seedlings grown from seed are not doing well at all.

Saturday I worked the TomatoMania event in Fillmore. That event simply wiped me out.

Sunday I planted Toni's Round and Paul Robeson in the back yard. In the “koi pond” I planted Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge, Quedlinburger Fruehe Liebe (seedling), Black Krim and Kornesevsije (seedling). But my leg began to act up before I could complete the “koi pond” planting.

My goal was to plant out the “koi pond” with as many of our seedlings grown from seed as I could muster before the evening rains hit. The hope was to get them in the ground for nearly two weeks and then judge if they have taken hold. I'm due to work the TomatoMania event in Larchmont Village on the 24th of this month and if the planted seedlings didn't show growth, I'd replace them with seedlings from this event. But I only got two of them in the ground. I'll have to wait a couple of days for the ground to dry out before planting more.

Some of the plants in the ground simply look amazing, such as Gypsy and Japanese Black Trifele. One of our beefsteaks planted on March 3 is nearly two feet tall.