Friday, May 17, 2013

A Little Dahlia Love

My pictures are so not doing these flowers justice.  I will never not plant these flowers again.

Now, the big I cut them and take them to market or keep them all to myself?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cloning Tomatoes

I spent Sunday morning a week ago attempting to salvage something from my cold damaged tomatoes.  After going through the entire patch of them I felt better that only about twenty percent keeled over.  I made two attempts to mitigate this loss...I cloned the dying portions of the plant and babied the heck out of the living suckers that were below where the stems split on the main plant.  Both efforts proved worthwhile.

One of Robert's co-workers taught us to clone tomatoes last summer.  It was a fun trick we played around with at the end of the year.  This year it has become a tool that saved me at least six weeks of growing time compared to starting new plants from seed.  I simply took the damaged tomato plants and cut the main stem to a length of about six inches.

Stripped all but the top two leaves...

And placed each of them in a 4 inch pot of wet soil.

I then put these pots on trays of water to help make sure the soil didn't dry out and put them in the shade under the tables in my greenhouse.

They looked great for about 2 days, wilted for about 2 days as the shock hit them and then came on strong.  

As soon as they have enough root system to hold the plug together we need to find a place for these pretty seedlings.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cold Tomatoes

Two weeks ago we spent a Friday evening pulling row covers over as much of the garden as we could.  Mainly over the tomatoes, squash and cucumbers.

That Friday night we lost a bed of cucumbers, about half of the first squash planting and about half of a slicing tomato variety called Defiant.  The rest of the tomatoes and squash fared pretty well.

This is what a squash plant looks like when the cells in the stem freeze and expand to the point of bursting.  Not pretty.

The following Wednesday the cold sneaked up on me.  I wasn't paying attention to the forecast and didn't realize until 11 at night that we were going to get cold.  I think what saved me there was that it had been 70 degrees and sunny during the day and the ground underneath the black plastic mulch was hot to the touch.  I'm convinced that heat made all the difference when the frost set all around those beds.  

This Friday night...cold coming.  No frost advisory.  Not enough row cover to cover even half of what needed to be covered especially since we had started putting tomato trellising in which meant we couldn't just float row cover across two beds at a time.  As I left for market Saturday morning I felt pretty good about no frost on the ground and 37 degree temps at 5:00 am.  Saturday afternoon showed a different story.

This cold didn't seem to touch the remaining squash or the newly planted bed I put in last week.  This cold hit the tomatoes.  

My early estimate is that we lost about twenty percent of our tomato plants.  At least not a total loss!  We'll see over the next few days though whether or not some plants that I deemed questionable make it through or bail.

We'll also see whether or not an effort I made this morning pays off over the next few days.  More info on that to come if I'm successful!  

Thursday, May 2, 2013


The last of my tulips are on their last legs but going out with a bang.  Falling toward the light from the window, they still look pretty.

Until next year...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


We've seen a few box turtles lately.  Or just the same one floating around the garden.  Milan found "his" turtle this morning in the swiss chard and sugar snap peas.

As we walked down the next row he decided to check his boot to make sure there wasn't a turtle in there.

All clear.

Now, where'd that turtle go?