Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cages In The Ground; Now Up To 92 Tomatoes

We've spent parts of the last three days putting up all of our tomato cages. We now have all of them supporting our seedlings. We need to purchase about 10 more or so.

On Friday my wife watered the front yard tomatoes and the container plants in the back yard.

Today we visited the L. A. Arboretum show in Arcadia, I believe. TomatoMania had a booth there and we picked up Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red and Copper River.

When we got back home we pulled out Bloody Butcher and replaced it with Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red. We had an extra large pulp pot, so we prepared some soil, placed it in this pot and planted Copper River there. So now we're up to 92 tomatoes!

My wife also clipped a few more lower lying tomato branches. She noticed that a couple of the tomato plants had black spots on their leaves. And Big Zebra has some leaf curl. Which reminds me of one of the indicators of a bad year I forgot to add: There was a late cold snap in mid-March. A late winter cold snap is not good for tomato seedlings. We may already be seeing some of this damage.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

We've Planted 91 Seedlings This Year!

I finished with the inventory yesterday evening and started work on the on-line tomato spreadsheet during the night. We've verified planting 91 seedlings this year.

However, I missed a planting on this blog. Italian Heirloom was planted last Saturday.

Bloody Butcher may be replaced with a healthier seedling.

Some of the tomato plants are getting tall enough to get a bit of a lean. They need cages!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How Does It Look For This Year?

Now that we're all the tomato seedlings are planted for the year (famous last words), how do I think they will do this year?

Here's some bullets that will indicate we will have a really good year:

1) Look back on our February 20 post of this year. Some of that compostible dirt was placed on our yellowing back yard grass, for lack of any other place to put it. The grass is completely green. A big heaping pile was placed in the "koi pond". Last year we didn't add soil and the soil level had noticeably dropped an inch or so.

There was so much soil we placed it everywhere, including the plantable area of back yard.

2) Based on the great results last year in the "Far East", I continued to dig deep holes there and in the backyard cutout. As a rough estimate, we pulled out about 350 pounds of rock and asphalt over the last five weeks or so from these two areas.

3) The plants look great. The only plant that looks like it may be struggling is Bloody Butcher.

4) The sweet peas and snap peas planted in the "koi pond" this last winter will add needed nitrogen to the soil.

And some bullets that indicate we'll have a mediocre year:

1) Sure we dug some deep holes in the back yard, but it took extra time. The seedlings got huge in their containers. Could they be root bound? Some plants looked to be at least 18 inches tall. That can't be good. Granted, all these seedlings are four to six inches above ground when planted, but we think planting tall seedlings isn't as "safe" as planting smaller seedlings.

2) Some of the larger seedlings had black spots on their leaves. One long seedling had a black bruising in the middle of the stem.

3) Lots of beefsteaks were planted somewhat late. If we hit 110 degrees in late June (like 2008) or early July, the flowers will sterilize and we'll end up with little to no harvest on these plants with longer maturation cycles.

The seedlings look great...but we say that every year. But they really do look great! We think the compostible dirt has really helped the garden overall. Not just the tomato seedlings but the back yard grass, the irises, roses, etc..

I suspect our count for the year won't be that high. As mentioned, we planted a lot of larger tomatoes this year. From memory: Giant Syrian, Omar's Lebanese, Big Zebra, Delicious, Big Bite, Amana Orange and Pineapple are a few of the plants that can produce tomatoes over one pound. We got over 2700 tomatoes from Matt's Wild Cherry last year in the "koi pond", but this year we planted it in a pot. We won't get 2700 tomatoes from this plant this year.

My guess: We're more dependent on the weather this year than on other years. I'm going to guess a total of 7000 tomatoes harvested this year. But we will harvest more pounds than last year.

I'm excited for this year's harvest!

Plants Watered; Still Taking Inventory

On Monday my wife watered all the tomato plants and also clipped off the low hanging branches on about 20 back yard tomato plants.

Last night I started taking inventory. We think we've planted 91 plants this year but this is not verified. I got about halfway done when I reached a stopping point (I need to reference my prior blog posts!) and dinner was ready. After walking the dog and paying bills it was past 11PM -- time for bed.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Working On The Last Holes In The Backyard

We're Finished Planting Tomatoes For This Year

On Friday my wife planted Indigo Apple(1), Porkchop(2), Black Krim(2), Paul Robeson, Vorlon(2), Jaune Flamme(2) and Chile Verde in the "koi pond". In the evening I made one hole and started another in an area I expected to have a lot of debris -- I wasn't disappointed. I left it unfinished.

On Saturday my wife planted Brown Berry in a pot and Snow White(2) in the south garden. I continued making holes throughout the day. I took out the largest piece of asphalt I've ever dug and completed that hole as well. My wife planted Neves Azorean Red, Marianna's Peace in the bad hole, a wilting Marmara, Gypsy, Amana Orange and Omar's Lebanese. We watered Marmara again, hoping it would come back. The plant showed signs of improvement later in the afternoon.

It was a long, sweaty day for both of us.

In the morning I checked out Marmara. It was a happy plant again!

Today I finished the holes in the "Far East", completing the work in the hard area of the back yard. My wife planted Black Cherry(2), Amazon Chocolate, Noire Charbonneuse(2) and Indigo Apple(2). We took a break and then dug out a small triangular area next to the post for the patio cover. Here we planted Italian Tree.

Before heading out for an early dinner, I took a look at the "koi pond" to see the new plants. Jaune Flamme(2) was wilting. We gave it some water and left for dinner.

When we came back, Jaune Flamme(2) had clearly improved, so we gave it some more water. Then we planted White Zebra in the "koi pond" and Pierce's Pride(2) in the "corner office".

We now think we're done planting tomatoes for 2012!

Making holes in the back yard has been exhausting. I've dragged through work a couple of times more than I would like and would like to work out again!

I need to add cages to the plants and clip the low hanging stems that are hitting the dirt, but that's trivially easy compared to digging holes with rock and asphalt.

Onward and upward!