The Great Tomato Experiment

Had a great weekend!  I shoveled dirt all day Saturday.  I got the third raised bed completed and planted cucumber and dill seeds.  I got a big planter ready for sweet potato slips coming in next month and planted tomato seedlings.  I’m calling this the Great Tomato Experiment of 2009.  Lets just say the first round did not go well.  I let the seedlings in the starter tray get very dry and droopy – big mistake.  I have never started tomatos (or anything else for that matter) in seedling trays and they got very leggy and droopy pretty quickly.  Guess that’s why people who actually know what they’re doing use grow lights and don’t just stick the tray on the kitchen table in front of the patio door and make the poor darlings stretch for every ounce of sunlight.  No wonder they got long and droopy.  Anyway, back to Saturday.  I planted them in 12″ pots and watered well.  They were pretty limp at this point.  Later in the evening a heavy thunderstorm with pea size hail came through.  The situation went from mere drooping to laying flat – not a good sign.  Yesterday they were not only laying down but seriously shriveled.  So out they went and in went the leftovers from the starter tray, watered and looking almost healthy! 🙂  I did not water them again and this morning they were still standing upright!  If this attempt fails I will break down and buy plants from the local nursery although I wanted to be sure and use heirloom varieties and I’m not sure they offer that sort of thing. 

So, before filling the third bed I went to the rock place and got half a ton of dirt.  Now keep in mind that the DH is off on a guy’s hiking day and this is all up to me.  Let’s just say a pickup full of dirt is a little harder to stop when applying the brakes.  I’m tooling along about 40 mph approaching a 4-way stop and apply brake pressure at the normal interval.  Just kept sailing on through the stop sign and finally came to a halt halfway into the intersection.  Its a good thing I was the only vehicle in sight!  So, I slowed down and made it home without wrecking the new/used truck.  Of course, after using up the dirt I had left in the backyard it became obvious I did not need to spend that $30 on new dirt after all, but  too late now and it had to be unloaded from the front of the house to the backyard one wheelbarrow load at a time.  Lucky for me the next door neighbor was replanting her flower beds and pulling out grass and clay.  So I gave her some dirt and irises that needed to be thinned.  I was moving a load of dirt, taking a break, sipping some wine, moving a load of dirt, taking another break, stopped sipping wine since it was causing major hot flashes, moved another load and then stopped completely.  Out of energy big time and anyway, my sister in law called and wanted to go out for Mexican food.  Hmm…let’s weigh the options here…shoveling dirt or eating fresh tortillas and guacamole…..you figure it out.   So, the dirt got rained on and turned to mud in the back of the truck, but the DH unloaded it for me Sunday and now all that expensive dirt is just sitting waiting for bed #4 – okra, lots and lots and lots of okra!!!

To plant in May: purple hull peas in the bed with the currently growing onions and broccoli; straight neck yellow squash in the bed with recently planted cukes and dill; sweet potatos in the big planter; okra and cantalope in their own beds.  Two more beds to buy lumber for and build.  This is an expensive venture but next year will be SO much easier!  I would like to plant some peanuts, too.  Maybe they can go in on one end of the okra bed.  At some point this has to stop :-).  The lettuce is growing nicely and the strawberries that are ripening are sweet and tasty.  Ah, the harvest ahead will be heavenly!  

Keep it simple.

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