Monday, March 15, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

The animals are pairing up here in Massachusetts, the yard is flooded, people are losing power, and wet-vaccing their leaky basements- what a mess!  Torturous after the tease Mother Nature gave us earlier last week.  I am dying to get back out into the wonderful husband whipped out my new beds yesterday so they are waiting to be put in their proper spot and filled.  The shed is finished (and now needs to be stained), so we are well on our way to a productive 2010 season!  (The beds are one 2' x 18', aka 'Tomato Alley' , and three 4' x 4'. )

I tried my hand at making soil blocks yesterday with organic seed starting mix from Lowe's, and it went quite well.  This came as a surprise after reading many people's tales of trouble getting the right consistency for the blocks.  I don't know if I got lucky or am just not being as particular.....the true test will happen when I transplant into the garden I guess- hoping the blocks will hold up!  The VCC mix I ordered is still not here since NOFA totally screwed up my bulk order, but that should be resolved by week's end, so it is all good.  I was all jammed up with the labeling though, my giant wooden sticks would split the blocks, I do have smaller plastic labels coming...but will they break apart the blocks as well?   For those of you that do them, how are you all labeling your blocks when you are only sowing a few of something and can't put a sticky on the flat for the whole row?  (oh, and FYI- Lowe's has potatoes this year.  Yup, now I have more.)

Next:  a confession.  I actually tallied up my tomato seed varieties yesterday, and somehow I have accumulated the seeds of 40 different tomatoes.  It was the recent Wintersown order that put me over the edge, I think I ordered 20 of those little packets.   So what you ask?  Is too many tomato seeds a bad thing?  No, but I can only grow 20 plants (ha, "only"), so choosing which to try is proving difficult.  I know many of the varieties I have won't perform well here in my zone or in my soil so over the next couple of season's I will need to experiment and see what is happy here in my little kitchen garden.  I have read to grow something for at lest 2 years before deciding it doesn't work for you so that may push this process of elimination out to 2014.  Maybe a Tomato Variety list will be going into my sidebar to record any thoughts this season, I know I can't depend on my memory!

Today's Sowings:

  • Pistou Basil
  • Lemon Basil
  • Lg Leaf Italian Basil
  • Thai Basil (Thanks Thomas!!)
  • Easter Egg Radish
  • Chioggia Beets
  • Burpee's Golden Beets
  • Extra Dwarf Pak Choy
  • Bunching Onions
  • Florence Onion
  • Bright Lights Chard
  • Red Sails Lettuce (one of my favorites!)
  • Hon Tsai Tai

I keep re-arranging my garden layout.  Ideally vegetable families should be planted together for rotation, BUT, I keep reading all these great gardening magazines, and they have so many SFG layouts with everything all mixed in together, and they have me wanting a "Salad Garden" and a "Salsa Garden" instead.  Thoughts?


Thomas said...

Wow! What a huge difference. I particularly love the tomato alley. I've read in one of Eliot Coleman's books that tomatoes are one crop that can actually benefit from being grown in the same spot year after year.

Ugg! My garden is under water at ther moment. If I didn't have my hoops, all of my seeds would have washed away by now. Let's hope we have a serious dry out period!

Thomas said...

oh, I forgot to say, I usually make labels and tape them onto the sides of my seed flat. For my tomatoes, I drew a grid on a piece of paper, each square representing a block. I won't label them individually until I pot them up.

Kelly said...

Really? That is very interesting about the tomatoes, does he say why? I would love to have a reason for them to stay put in Tomato Alley. :)

Heiko said...

I rotate my bulk crops, fava beans, tomatoes, potatoes and corn and the rest gets inteplanted wherever there's a bit of space. I've tried planning ahead, but I'm never sure how many seeds will actually germinate and therefore how much space I will actually need for each type.

I sometimes have trouble with fungal diseases on my tomatoes and rotating seems to minimise it for me.

Kelly said...

Heiko- that makes sense, and not a bad idea to do a little bit of both.

Erin said...

Thoughts? Ha, that's funny! Every year I try to plan it out, but I end up with leftover stuff that doesn't fit and gets tucked in here and there, LOL! I do know that you should try and plant some sacrificial eggplant next to your potatoes, since the beetles prefer it over potatoes... and keep your potatoes away from your tomatoes, I learned that the hard way - even though I read about it, I was forced to put them together, never again! Beyond that advice, have fun and garden all over the place, lol! I think this year my cukes will have to ramble around the beds since there is no way I am going to have room for them, so much for my scaling back this year. Love the new beds, hopefully the rain will stop soon and we can get out there (it's raining here too!)

Annie's Granny said...

Something similar to what Thomas said is probably the best method of marking the seedlings. Just be sure to put some type of identification on the container (like a piece of tape in one corner), to let you know which direction the chart goes. I managed to get mine all mixed up last year, so I'm trying to be very diligent about identifications this spring.

My father planted his tomatoes in the same spot for forty years, and grew great tomatoes.