Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Well it’s been awhile since I blogged and I admit it, I’ve been in the garden a lot! For the last couple of weeks the daytime temps have been in 70’s and it’s been cooling at night but not freezing.

My lawn, which goes dormant in the winter, has come back to life. I tossed down some fertilizer, gave it a good watering, (we really haven’t had enough rain this spring), raked it the following day and then gave it a light mowing.

For my vegetable garden I picked up the following tomato seedlings from Capital Nursery: a six pack of “Early Girl,” a couple of “Beefsteak,” and a rare heirloom “Watermelon Beefsteak.” I’ll probably pick up a few more tomatoes in another week but I only had room for these right now as some of my winter veggies are still taking up valuable real estate. The nice thing about having chard and carrots still in the bed is that they protect the tomatoes from any strong winds until the seedlings have a chance to get a little stronger. A few words on tomato plants:

1. I like to use tomato cages or some other form of restraint as they have a tendency to sprawl which doesn’t hurt them but it does make it easier on you to pick the tomatoes.
2. Learn if the tomato is “determinate” producing all its fruit at once or “indeterminate” producing its fruit throughout the growing season. I like to do a bit of both kinds. The determinate kind I use for canning.
3. I like to companion plant. The theory of companion planting is that when planted together certain plants will help ward off diseases or pests. For tomatoes I mix in marigolds, parsley, basil and nasturtium. I actually add nasturtium to all my other veggies- it’s a pretty plant and the flowers are a nice addition to salads.

With new tomato seedlings I always pinch off the first set of leaves and plant it a little deeper so the soil goes up to where the leaves previously were. It makes the plant stronger.

In addition to the tomatoes, I planted some seeds of carrots, beets and corn (I’ll add additional rows every couple of weeks to stagger the harvest). Within a couple more weeks I’ll put in squash, cucumber and pepper seedlings.

Fruit trees are always fun but I’m always nervous about committing… you know, planting them in the ground forever and ever until death do us part. My solution, wine barrels! This year I’ve got a dwarf blood orange and a “Kadota” fig tree which already has figs on it! I’m also hoping to find a good variety of avocado. For container fruit trees look for dwarf, mini, or varieties known to do well in containers. You may also want to find out when you can expect your first crop and if it’s self pollinating.

And since the weather’s been so nice, I’ve been finding myself wanting to just lay around in it! Unfortunately the price of attractive loungers range anywhere from hundred bucks upwards! So I got a little resourceful and made my own from scrape wood and deck screws. Four leisurely hours and a beer later and I’m sitting pretty! Happy spring!


Anonymous said...

that's a mighty fine lounger...


Anonymous said...

the link to how to prune roses is broken :-(...I need to learn that one. right now i am just trimming them like hedges...they still bloom like crazy though.