Monday, July 03, 2006

Tomatoes Out of Control!

It's been about a month and a half (see the May 21st posting) since I transplanted my tomatoes outside and boy, have they taken off! In all, I wound up with about eight plants so if they all produce, I will have tomatoes coming out of my ear! I have two of the smaller self-watering containers (see photo at left) and a self-watering raised bed that has both tomatoes and peppers, though I'm afraid that the tomatoes will over take the peppers. I may have to do some very careful mid-season transplanting. The tomatoes in the other small self-watering container aren't looking so good, but it does have blossoms on it. I don't know if the seeds were too old or if it didn't get enough sun at the beginning. It was one of the last to get transplanted outside.

We've been eating farmers market tomatoes and savoring the rich flavors, but we can't wait to be able to eat our own, home grown tomatoes! I've lost track of which varieties these tomatoes are so I guess it'll be a surprise when we eat them!

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Well, we've been living with this little fellow for the past month now, playing hide and seek. Every so often on a nice hot sunny day he would be lounging in our rock bed by the grill. When he would notice us, he'd slither under the wooden post that was the rock bed border and wouldn't come out for days. Today we were both brave (or stupid) enough to peek out at each other. I found enough guts to get the camera and shoot while he peeked out and stuck its tongue out at me. After the photo shoot though, he disappeared for another few days of hiatus.

I didn't need to search long though and found its relative. Under another wood border for a tree. I was getting ready to put down a tree ring, lifted the log and there it was. I gave a scream and my husband went and got the waiting Tuperware to catch it in. An outside observer might have found this very amusing. Anyway, my husband caught it and I called up my friend who'd said he'd wanted one for his kids. Much to my relief, he came over right away and got it out of my house! Whew! One down, how many more to go?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Summer in Spring?

Our weather has been crazy so far. It is only June and we've had 80 to 100 degree weather for much of it. The plants have to be absolutely loving it, but not so much by my grass. Our water bill too will be impacted. We haven't had much rain and April and May were pretty dry too. I wonder if this means we're in for a long hot summer or an early fall and winter? I guess that whole cloud seeding idea didn't work out too well.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

All grown up and moving out

Tomatoes outsideTime has come to move the tomatoes out into the real world! I've transplanted 4 of my tomatoes to my outside self watering containers (2 plants per container). I kind of lost track of which ones are which when I transplanted them the first time, but I'm hoping I got at least one of each variety. I've given away a few to my family, but still have plenty left. This weekend I planted the tallest ones as they were beginning to hit the grow lamp. When I planted, I buried them up to their second set of leaves. Otherwise, I think they would've been too tall and spindly to withstand any winds. We've had some fairly strong breezes, but they've seemed to have faired overnight well. I don't have any supports for them yet, but we'll get to that maybe next weekend.
I've also ordered a self watering raised bed from Gardener's so hopefully that will arrive by next weekend and I can plant my peppers and maybe even some beans.
Still contemplating on what to do with the old dog run. We may windup growing pumpkins just so it doesn't look so weed infested. That'll be a good project for the upcoming 3 day weekend!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Lovely Dahlias

I love to have colorful flowers around me so I bought and planted some bright and beautiful Dahlias in my containers last weekend. I got 6 red and 1 yellow. The yellow was a bit more mature with flowers already bloomed, but the reds were still just buds. We've had mostly cloudy and rainy weather so they haven't gotten much sun, but the red ones are finally starting to open up. I'm very excited to see them all in full bloom at the same time!

Here is an update on the re-potting of my tomatoes. I guess it was a success for the most part. I only lost two plants for sure. They are still on the skinny side, but they seem healthy and they are producing foliage so that seems like a good sign. I went ahead and planted seeds for the two that I lost, but I don't know if they will make it in time for the growing season.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Real Pottery?

The local nursery was having a "Garden Show" so I stopped in. It was mostly a few vendors selling plant food and pest control stuff, but the nursery was buzzing nonetheless. Wondering through a nursery is always fun (and dangerous if you take my husband's view). We purchased some bright and colorful Dahlias and what I thought was a very cool pot! Yes, I actually bought a real ceramic pot instead of a cheap plastic one. It caught my eye right away on one of the vendor's tables. I decided to splurge and grab it before someone else did. When I brought it home, I soaked it down and planted mint, basil and parsley. We'll see if they make it.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Re-potting Tomatoes

The poor tomatoes were getting very tall and lanky to the point that they are falling over. So I decided to re-pot them a little deeper. I had read that you are suppose to transplant them deeper to the point where you almost cover the bottom set of leaves with soil. This is suppose to allow them to have deeper roots and stronger stock. Well, I think I let these get a little too tall.

When I dug one out I found that it didn't have much of a root. It was jut barely hanging on to the soil so I dug it out and buried it deeper. Many of them I had to gently bend the stem to get them to go in lower. Unfortunately I broke a couple. I went ahead and planted the broken ones anyway to see if they would take root again. I'm not holding my breath though. (Note for next year: Plant seeds in small, shallow containers and move up to bigger, deeper ones..)

I transplanted half of them to new pots since I had originally planted two per pot. Now is just one plant per pot. I didn't have another deep root seed starting container so I devised some by cutting the bottoms off of the seedling containers you can buy at the nursery. I got some more craft felt and got it dripping wet and placed the cut containers on top of it to act as a self waterer. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Spring is definitely here!

Wow! What weather!
It had to be a balmy 75 degrees today. It was so beautiful, I had to get outside.
I prepared 3 of my 5 self-watering pots for plants and planted some additional green onions and lettuce since the ones in my seed starters are looking rather sad. These were containers from last year and I absolutely love them. They allowed me to have my first successful tomato crop last year! Anyway, I'm hoping the lettuce and green onions will fair better in these pots.


I also looked at my aspens and realized that one of them was full of what looked like caterpillar fuzzies. I think they are catkins or flowers, but since I've never seen an aspen behave like that, I don't know. I've got some questions out so hopefully it's not anything unusual or serious.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

It's about time!

So, after about 7 days, all but two of the Rutgers Tomato Plants came up. It has been well over 14 days and I had about given up hope on my bell peppers. This evening I took another look and to my surprise, there they were!

I'm still waiting on the green onions, but I think the seeds were too old. I was trying to use up what I had before purchasing more, but I suppose the seeds are dated for a reason.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

First signs of life

It has been four days since my planting and all of my lettus seeds have already popped their heads up out of the soil! I'm off to a great start.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tis the season

Spring feaver has hit and the gardening bug bit.

I had my hubby modify an old printer cart as a grow light stand and finally planted some seeds today.
I'm starting my 2006 garden season with some tomatoes (Burpee's Big Boy Hybrid, Rutgers from Burpee's Heirloom collection and Super Beefsteak), a mix bag of bell peppers, Japanese Bunching Onions (also known as Green Onions) and Green Ice Loosehead Lettuce.

I used the Deep-Root Seedstarting System from Gardeners for my tomatoes and peppers and the APS 24 system (also from the same company) got alternating rows of lettus and onions. The Deep-Root system is new for me this year, but the APS 24 system is being recycled from last year. I had huge success with the APS system last year and am again excited to see the results. I did have to replace the felt pad that delivers the water to the roots since I had to throw out the previous one. The pad from last year was, shell we say, root bound. I just went to Michael's (one of my local craft stores) and bought a craft felt sheet for about $4 and cut it to size. I figure the rest should last me a good 3 or 4 years (longer, if I use the system correctly) assuming I can find it each year.

So starts another gardening season and my attempts at a green thumb. Stay tuned to see how my garden sprouts!