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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tomato..round...???

I am on a roll this Spring!!!!  I just keep killing tomatoes!!
The seeds never sprouted.  Not even that batch of Roma seeds that I even fermented first.  Geez!
I went ahead and planted out the Sutherland's transplants, even though I knew it was too early. And I was correct in thinking that when potting up, I planted them much too deep. When I went to plant the poor little guys, their stems were becoming soft and green, hollow and mostly rotten.  The stems simply collapsed, and nutrients were completely unavailable....a very serious, and obvious mistake.  But it is no longer any mystery what happened!
So yesterday, at Lowe's I bought some new transplants.  The larger potted plants that have been at the nursery for the last month looked very sad and wilted from the cold weather we have been having.  There were so many squash and cucumber falling over in devastation from the cold bitter nights, and damp mornings.  (kinda looked like my tomatoes!).  But I chose what looked to me like freshly delivered 9 cell pack tomato and peppers.  Small, but healthy, and undisturbed so far by the weather.  They had been tightly packed onto the shelves and somewhat sheltered by the other, older plants in the surrounding shelves.  Currently they reside inside, under a grow light, I don't dare put them out, and stress them further.  We are only 2 weeks away from outdoor planting.

Friday, I went out to the good old Waste Center, and guess what?  They are out of compost.  Again!  I came out in March, thinking to beat the rush, and they were out until April.  At the time, the taters were freshly planted, no big deal, I can cover them.  So I return in April, as asked, and the sign says nothing until May.  This is crap! I think that something needs to be done in my own backyard, it is obvious that I cannot rely on the county to help!!! He offered mulch! LOL...to quickly kill my potatoes!  NO thanks!  So I need to act quickly to get the earlies covered.  I am not sure how I will be doing that around the freshly planted freedom's, but I have vowed to try, since I knew it was going to be an awkward planting once half the red norlands rotted.  (that was from not sulfuring the chitted taters, and also, from cutting seed pieces too small without enough eyes to begin compensation and producing enough leaf, from what I left of the tuber)

The funny part is that I understand all these concepts, but for some reason that I can never ascertain, i still insist on learning these lessons the hard way!  I mean, honestly...what business do these two varieties of potatoes have growing in the same bin?  None!  Russets and Reds are totally different in growth rate, habit and height.  not to mention the 1 1/2 month gap between plantings.  I set myself up for this frustration.
I assume that the second bed of Yukon gold will pan out nicely.  All planted together and hopefully they will be producing together...unfortunately, that will be my late crop and it will be a long while before I know how that turns out!!!  Hey, I am still better off than last year.  I bought real seed potatoes and have begun hilling them long before I had last year. I have nixed the straw, as far as a covering material, it will be mulch only...not to mention that I will have two crops, not just one, and have doubled, maybe tripled the amount of plants in about the same square footage...(approximately, because there is a path, but also because of the vertical cubic footage....it kinda balances out).

LEARNING A LOT!!!

I have been wondering about the wisdom of planting peas early....and whether or not, in a cold moist spring like this, you could succession sow them at all.  Same for spinach.  The weather is so sporadic, it is hard to saw where the cut off should be.
It is definitely much too early for warm weather stuff that is direct sown.....All of the Beans, and squash, etc.  has to wait 2-4 more weeks, depending on how well the soil warms when the air does!!!
The Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts are knocked around both by the cats and the birds.  Not to mention that the mint seems to do nothing to repel the cabbage moth! I have gone out and smooshed several tiny caterpillars, which I learned last year, you always miss some!!! And I have picked off and smashed little yellow eggs, that I also assume will be evil little blue green meanies, munching down my plants....yet again!
I hate poisons, so I just keep picking and smooshing, and hoping I am wrong about reincarnation!!!
They are getting taller, and from what I saw of the nursery plants yesterday, they are catching up with them quite well.
The thing is, I am really wishing I had hoops set up.  If half of the 1st bed was hooped, I wouldn't have to worry about the cabbage moth at all.  I could keep them covered for most, if not all of their growth, assuming that the covering allowed light and water to penetrate the barrier and if I were to seal it at the soil line.
Eggplants, I read, are much the same way.  They can apparently be grown under cover for the entire season, and it is actually preferable to in the open .... they are bug magnets!  I read that if there is one colorado potato beetle in the garden it will be on an eggplant.  They seem a fragile and vulnerable choice...(I am working out ways to kill now! HA! But I love a challenge, and if I keep one alive until fruiting, that'd be an accomplishment, and maybe make up for all the tomato manslaughter taking place on my premises this season!!)
So I bought seed...Ha! scared to kill some one else's hard earned transplants! I feel confident in growing the latest batch of tomato, and fairly excited about seeding the eggplant.  I am hoping for warmer days soon.

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