Monday, April 15, 2013

Lots of Backyard Tomatoes Planted This Weekend

On Friday we got two more seedlings planted in the back yard -- Nyagous and Aunt Ruby's German Green.

We hoped to do a lot of back yard planting over the weekend and we were successful in that endeavor. But for those whom are reading the blog for the first time, the back yard is a lot harder to plant than the front yard. It is night and day. In the front yard there are two areas to plant, the "koi pond" (a long, thin strip of land surrounded by a gravel and brick pathway on three sides) and the "corner office" (essentially an area of dirt at the southwest corner of the front yard). The dirt in the "koi pond" was completely replaced in 2007 as well as most of the "corner office", I believe. The dirt from the "koi pond" was transported via wheelbarrow to the northeast corner of the back yard. In this spot is a raised bed supported by treated lumber. The "koi pond" got the nickname from the hole in the front yard. It looked like we were putting in a "koi pond". We replaced the dirt with compost from the city, if I remember. And that's why 2007 was a fabulous year for us, tomato-wise.

The back yard, however, is a different story. Asphalt, rocks, fill and other assorted debris litter the soil just underneath the surface. We found whole bricks underneath the soil when we planted a raised bed last year. It is clear that there was a paved surface and perhaps a structure before the property was subdivided into tract homes. And a lot of that structure was simply buried. Digging in the back yard can be quite difficult when we run into broken asphalt and fill. For the past three or so years we've pulled out hundreds pounds of rock and asphalt. And it can take quite a while to maneuver around to dislodge these pieces. Just trust me that planting in the back yard is more than a chore.

But...with each passing year it gets ever so slightly better to dig than the previous year. We may start digging a hole in an area that had been partially dug before. That becomes more and more frequent as time goes on. But we can plant in new areas such as last years’ raised bed that hasn't been dug before and brings new surprises.

On Saturday we planted Speckled Roman(2), Amos Coli, Crnkovic, Garden Peach, Ananas Noire, Cuor de Bue and a mystery tomato that may be Orange Paruche. My wife actually did the planting and caging while I dug these holes. Having noted my hole struggles earlier, the planting and caging is no small task. We fill the hole while my wife plants the tomato. She builds the "moat" around the tomato plant. Around this time I start on another hole, but the caging takes some time as well. My wife will wrap a soft wire around the top two "holes" around our concrete reinforcing wire cages. Then she will pound in a stake, turn the cage upside down so the wire is along the bottom and tie the cage to the stake. The purpose of the soft wire is to keep our new dog from digging up the seedlings.

But in one spot I hit what I'll call a "knot" -- an area that had so much packed asphalt and rock that it was nearly impossible to wedge out. I had left about a six inch hole in the ground after about 45 minutes of digging and gave up in frustration.

On Sunday we planted Green Zebra, Pineapple Pig, German Orange Strawberry, Piement (a French tomato someone gave us), Blue Beauty, Jaune Flamme and Snow White.

I had time for to dig a couple more holes Sunday evening but my shoulders told me not to. I did spend about an hour on the "knot" to get the hole down to about 18 inches. One of the above plants is in that hole. What was slightly odd was that I dug a hole about 10 feet from that "knot" spot, a spot that had even more asphalt and rocks. But it was easy to remove the fill from this location, not packed in at all.

It appears that we have room for four more tomatoes in this back yard area. However, the raised bed isn't planted and neither are any containers.

But all in all it was quite a productive weekend. But last night I was feeling my age...I'm better this morning.