Monday, March 7, 2011

Preparing for Planting

Saturday morning my wife and I went to see Scott Daigre's annual tomato class at CSUN. It was fun and engaging as usual. If you didn't go this year, try to catch this in future years.

I finished turning over the grass for our new growing area. We're by no means done, however, as the dead grass needs to be pulled before we can amend the soil.

We moved one of the raised beds to another part of the backyard lawn, providing additional planting area. We may move the original raised bed as well but that will require more effort.

My wife "challenged" me to find asphalt in a random area of our backyard near our east fence. Our tomatoes do not do well in this area of the yard. The plants tend to get about 3 to 4 feet tall and then struggle. I picked a spot, checked to see if this is an acceptable spot to try and started digging. The shovel went in and we heard the scratching sound we normally associate with asphalt. After about 15 minutes of digging I had pulled up a fair amount of asphalt including at least two slightly larger than a large, thick hamburger patty.

Yep, we have an asphalt problem. My wife has been pulling it out for at least 10 years and we're still pulling out large chunks about 8 - 12 inches below the surface.

For now we're going to plant again in this area. I may dig up this area in the fall after the tomato plants are pulled. We'll see. It is very hard work.

The results of last year's back yard soil test indicated our soil is lacking nitrogen. We'll continue amending the back yard soil to supply nitrogen to the growing areas.

Our tomato plants grown from seed are not doing well at all. For the most part they were doing fine but they became very sensitive to light/water/heat/cold.

During Super Bowl weekend I turned the dirt in the "koi pond". Another round of buckwheat was planted and it is starting to sprout. The buckwheat is simply a plant that puts nitrogen back in the soil.

Tomatomania is less than three weeks away! My wife plans to work all three days of the event and I plan to work the last two days of the event. For further details, check out