Monday, April 13, 2009

Flowers are food for the soul.

But tomatoes...well, that's a whole 'nother story. I love tomatoes. I love them a LOT. I can stand in the middle of the garden in summer with a knife and a salt shaker and forget about all my worries and the troubles in the world. In fact, the knife and salt shaker are optional.

So today, I got my veggie garden ready, or the potager as it's labeled on the map. Tomorrow I will sow the corn, beans, and plant out some of the seedlings I started a few weeks ago. The cucumbers and squash have just gotten their first leaves, so it will be a bit longer for them. The eggplant hasn't done squat.

I may just buy a single plant when I pick up my cayenne pepper plant this week. I'll direct sow the okra soon, but not just yet. I don't know why I'm waiting, it just feels right.

I also have nasturtium and marigolds to plant out in the potager. Some cosmos, zinnias, and marigolds have already been direct sown in one area. I might sow the rest of the marigold seeds in amongst the tomatoes. Sunflowers will also get planted out soon.

I'll make a list of what gets sown tomorrow. Already in the garden I have some snow peas that have sprouted, a few cabbage plants, some lettuce, a few handfuls of carrots, and some strawberries I bought last year. I moved them into a better spot this past week. But today, oh glorious day, I planted out my tomatoes.

I hate these little cages, but to do what I know I should have done would have cost half a week's salary. I'll get some stakes and drive into the ground to wire these things to over the next couple of weeks.

That big pile of leaf mulch was spread over two areas and tilled into the existing soil. I mulched with wheat straw and will plant directly into these beds rather than starting the seed in cups. Beans, corn (for a trellis), squash, cucumbers, okra, etc will go here.

One thing I hate about my yard is also one of the best things. It slopes downhill but towards the south. So while I can plant tall plants in the front of the garden if I'd like, I have to deal with lots of drainage issues. The soil holds very little moisture. Hopefully, mulching twice this summer with wheat straw will help. Plus, it's the Ruth Stout Method.

I still have my cherry tomatoes to set out. I started a lot more than I need. I think I'll try to give the rest of these away at work. I don't need 30+ cherry tomato plants. One of each variety is plenty. They'll be planted here and there in the flower beds. Only the sweet 100s and Black Cherry varieties will go in the tomato plot.

It's 55 degrees and drizzling rain. Storms may be moving in later.


Laura said...

I just have one question:
Considering how busy you seem to be, do you ever get a chance to use that hammock I see in the second to last picture????
Just wondering! ;)

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Yes. I use it after the sun goes down. I'm going to be sowing some more seeds soon that are night scented to plant back there. It gives me a great view of the Southwest sky where the moon usually travels. I'll be out there a lot more as the night time temperatures warm up.

Anonymous said...

I think your true calling is writing.
A garden magazine writer. It is always fun reading your blog.

frogview cottage

Heather said...

Hi Tom- your tomatoes look fantastic! I think you were busy busy today. Isn't it nice when the weather cooperates? I got a lot done in the last two days myself and I can't believe it's only April. Last year we still had a foot or more of snow on the ground.

Jeff Vandiver said...

I agree on the writing write very well. Reading your blog is helping me to become better at propagating from seed. I really like the hoophouse idea.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Thanks for the compliments. I just say what I think. I don't know if it's good or not, but I know those tomatoes will be. :)

F Cameron said...

What an amazing amount of work you've done! Your gardens will be glorious.


Jean Campbell said...

Save back the okra seed to plant when the nights are warm. Okra is related to cotton. It wants hot weather or the seed will rot in the ground. As long as your nighttime temps are in the 50's it isn't time yet.