Saturday, May 24, 2008

You bettah work!

This week was a busy one, yard-wise. Now that the weather has decided to warm up (about damn time!) I needed to get my tomato seedlings into their outdoor homes. Based on how many I had to put out, and the fact that a bulb order I had placed earlier arrived this past Tuesday, I knew I would have too much to do come Saturday. And I was not about to work on Monday; that's my day off and I will relax and enjoy it! So I've been getting up early every morning this week and planting at least one or two tomato plants (I had 10 to plant) as well as some rosemary and basil seedlings. I had grown three varieties of tomatoes from seed: Sweet 100 (which is my favorite cherry tomato ever); Mortgage Lifter (heirloom - haven't ever tried it, have heard it was good) and Brandy Boy (a hybrid, and one of the best tomato varieties I have ever tasted - I got three good tomatoes off my Brandy Boy vines last year before a blight consumed my neighbor's vines and then spread to mine).

Fast forward to today; the dogs woke me early, and once I'm up, I'm up, so I got dressed and went to the nursery to look for a particular variety of tomato plant I wanted to try this year but forgot to order when I was ordering my other varieties. I didn't find it there, but I did find another heirloom variety I had wanted to try this year (Brandywine) so I went home and made breakfast. After breakfast, we jumped into the car and drove over to the park, where a group of Marines was flying big helicopters into the park and putting on a show. We walked around there a bit, admired a few hunky boys, walked to the park's 9/11 memorial and then on to the war memorial.

After that, we got in the car and headed off for a another nursery in search of the elusive heirloom tomato I was after (Cherokee Purple). After driving halfway across the county to two different nurseries, I found the plant and brought it home. So this afternoon, I was busy planting the two tomato plants I had purchased today and two-thirds of the bulbs that I received by mail order. I also finished fertilizing and covering my EarthBox containers, which hold six of the ten tomato plants and the basil, rosemary, and chives.

So I am pooped.

Truth be told, I really wanted to try a Bloody Butcher tomato plant but wasn't sure how good they were until I read the tomato forum at GardenWeb and found out that a lot of people really like it. Oh, well. Next year. By the way, if you're a garden nut like me, you really should visit can learn a lot from the forums there. I certainly have. They also have a great group of home forums. Check it out!

In other news, we got a new gas grill this week and I am very excited about it. What you must understand is that, for my entire life, I have been a charcoal grill guy. I turned my nose up at the prospect of owning a gas grill, which to me, wasn't a real grill at all. But I have been impressed with the improvements that have been made to these grills over the years and I do love the fact that you can be ready to cook in ten minutes, have a consistently searing hot fire every time, be able to monitor the heat so that you know exactly when it's right to add the food, not be at the mercy of the wind (hard to charcoal grill when there isn't any) and the weather (the taste of a charcoal grill becomes too strong when it's cool outside), and produce consistent results every time you grill. And now that I have used it, I definitely think it's far better suited for vegetable grilling than charcoal, since the vegetables really tend to take on the charcoal taste. We got a Blue Ember from Home Depot after doing a lot of research, and I think we really got the best grill value for the money. I'll have to post pictures later.

In other yard news, several things have come into bloom and I have been busy taking pictures, but it will take me awhile to organize them and write the post, so be patient. Ha. With my blog, you must always be patient. As you know from my writings here, I love purples and pinks, and so there is a lot of purple and pink in the yard. I will give you a sampling of all that in the pictures I post.

I do hope all my plants make it this year. I tried putting out two of my tomato seedlings about 4 weeks ago, but it was still too cold, and neither made it beyond the third day. I planted the tomatoes not only in containers but also in the ground in areas around the house (because we have so much shade, there are few opportune spots for tomatoes) and I am curious to see how they do in the different locations. I have always been impressed with the size of the plants and the yields from my EarthBoxes, but last year, my neighbor's plants in the ground seemed to do just as well as my EarthBox plants, so I thought I'd do some very unscientific research this year and see how they do. I love home-grown tomatoes anyway, and with 10 plants, I am sure to have more than enough tomatoes this year. I'm also trying a new fertilizer that my mom has used called Spray-n-Grow because I have been very impressed with what it has done for my houseplants. I'll let you know how it does. That will be another test. There are two tomato plants in each of the four boxes. I plan to spray one of the plants in each box with Spray-n-Grow and leave the other as it is and see how they differ.

"Why only two plants in each box?" you ask. Well, they grow so big and develop such massive root systems in the EarthBox that two is all a box can handle. Last year, my plants grew to 7 feet tall and three feet wide. They were like small trees. I was crushed when the blight from my neighbor's vines wiped mine out. It seemed to come out of nowhere. His plants were so lush and beautiful...and big. And the blight got them before he had a chance to harvest more than a handful. The thing that worries me this year is that he has put tomatoes out again - in the same spot as the last two years - and tomatoes demand that you not plant them in the same spot every year. With my containers, I switch out which boxes I plant tomatoes in each year so that this doesn't happen. Since I only had one box with tomatoes in it last year, and I have five boxes, I was able to plant four of the boxes this year. Next year, I'll be back to one box.

Okay, enough garden talk. I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend!


At 5:09 PM, May 27, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Have you used the new gas grill yet? We've only used ours once so far..the weather just hasn't cooperated.

It must be nice having such a green thumb! Boy, you should go into landscaping as a business.

At 5:10 PM, May 31, 2008, Blogger Greg said...

A neighbor got some Earth boxes a few years ago, and her plants were just astounding. I don't have yet, but I regularly covet other peoples. ; )


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