Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Growing Challenge: Finally!

In case you were wondering what I was working on while Eric was schlepping 6 tons of soil around (Thanks, honey!), I was working in the garden, too.

Every night, after Caitlin and the twins are in bed I can finally get some work done. Of course it means that I spend a lot of time covered in dirt (It's soil until it gets ground into your body. Then it's dirt.) and am averaging two showers a day. Covered in sunblock and bug spray, I stay out until it's so dark I can't see anymore. Gardening by streetlight is...um...challenging. Those lights? Not as bright as they look.

Not that'd I'd know from personal experience or anything.


I was working on putting down seeds,
Seedbeds: Filled!

putting in plants and setting up the micro-irrigation system. All of this work gets done in tiny bites all day long in between naps, nursing and nuncheon (Did ya like that one? I can't remember what I wore yesterday, but I can remember obscure Old English words.). Then, after all the kids have gone to sleep, I do as much as I can while I still have daylight. I've been working outside for hours on end and Getting! Stuff! Done! Which is very exciting, even if it is very slow. Out of my list, I have put down seeds for the following plants:
  1. Squash - Buttercup
  2. Squash - Acorn
  3. Squash - Early summer Crookneck
  4. Squash - Spaghetti
  5. Cucumber - Muncher
  6. Garden bean - Gourmet French bush
  7. Watermelon - Rainbow sherbet - the innards are pink, yellow and orange - 3 separate varieties in the package: Tiger Baby (P), Yellow Doll (Y), New Orchid (O).
  8. Basil - Sweet Genovese
Not yet started:
  • Rhubarb - Victoria
  • Squash - Butternut (Yes, another one! What can I say? I've never grown any of these before and I like to try new things. Besides, there are tons of soup recipes that would be great in winter that all call for assorted squashes. Like this one.)
Plants planted:
  • Tomatillos: green Toma Verde and purple Purple de Milpa

  • Ground Cherry: Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry

Tomatoes (Yes, seriously. I put in one of each type we grew for sale. Imagine the fun we'll have in a few months!):
  1. Sun Gold (Cherry)
  2. Snow White (Cherry)
  3. Black Cherry(Cherry)
  4. Gardener's Delight(Cherry)
  5. Black Plum (Sauce)
  6. Principe Borghese (Drying)
  7. Black Krim
  8. Cherokee Purple
  9. Caspian Pink
  10. Moskovich (Early)
  11. Stupice (Early)
  12. Pineapple
  13. Persimmon
  14. Candy's Old Yellow
  15. Black Zebra
  16. Green Zebra
Tomato and pepper bed, before the peppers and drip system were installed. Those 8' tall stakes show that I mean business!

Bell peppers:
  1. California Wonder
  2. Purple Beauty
  3. King of the North
  4. Sweet Chocolate
I also threw in some marigold seedlings, in a random way, to be a companion planting for my tomatoes. Apparently smelly plants confuse the tomato predators. Basil would work too, as well as lots of other plants, but marigolds are what I had.

I messed around with the micro-irrigation system for awhile. It's a hodge-podge since two beds are all seeds and two other beds have plants. Sprays work fine for seeds, but not for plants; you need to run the drip system for a long time for plants, which would wash away your seeds.

I also made heavy use of my compost pile.

I freakin' love compost.

I dumped a small pail's worth of compost in every tomato hole, dug the tomatoes in deep (Trim off the leaves that would be under ground first!), shoved in an 8' stake (I have high hopes.), tied them off with strips of old pantyhose (No, really! I didn't have any twine on me, or the fancy green tomato velcro strips, but slices of pantyhose make nice, soft, stretchy ties. Besides, I don't wear hose anymore! Alternate reuse! Woo!), watered them in with organic fertilizer (I didn't have any dry fertilizer to put at the bottom of the hole, but it should be fine with the boost the compost and liquid fert. give it initially.) until I ran out of plants.

Now we wait. July 24th is my theoretical 1st date for tomatoes from the early season Stupice, if the data on it is correct: 52 days from transplant.

I'm looking forward to all the yummy food. Grown in my own yard. Organically. Really local.

Tick, tick, tick!

Updated to add photos.


Anonymous said...

Of course you had to plant all the kinds of tomatoes! That's my problem with tomatoes - how can you choose just one when there are so many cool varieties!? I kept it to 2 plants this year only bc I shut off my brain and had the kids choose one each :)

All your hard work is inspiring!

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Thanks, Nicole!

The only problem with tomatoes? There are THOUSANDS of different heirloom varieties.

It's gonna take me a few decades to find my favorite!

Jennifer H said...

These posts about your mad gardening skills (and hard work) amaze and exhaust me. And I love reading them.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

I'm so used to be exhausted that the only thing that has really changed is that I'm dirty, sweaty and slightly sunburned at the end of the day!

Thanks, though! I am terribly flattered!

I get a total thrill out of planting stuff and watching it grow. Watching my front yard (and back yard for that matter) evolve over time has been a great experience. It's also really restful to look upon, when I'm not mentally listing all of the things that need to be done!

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