My tomato transplants were ready to be planted. Their roots had made it to the bottom of their newspaper pots. They had been hardened off for a week. They were about 6"-7" tall. It takes about four weeks for me to get tomatoes to transplant size. Most people like bigger plants at about 8 weeks old - twice the age of mine. But I've had good luck with these and to be honest I'm pretty lazy. I like to put out transplants young. I have to pot up less. I have to take care of them for a shorter time. So most transplants get about three weeks before planting out. The tomatoes get spoiled and at three weeks are potted up to 4" tall newspaper pots. But that is as much as they get.
I had three transplants. One is for a friend. One is a back up. This solitary one was planted in my garden. I probably won't be able to eat any of them. I still can't eat the solanums, but you never know. And my townhouse mates will be happy to eat them. If I find taking care of it makes me sick, I'll have my townhouse mates take care of it. But it would just be so sad not to have it. I gave it all the loving care I always do when planting. Fertilizer, bone meal, and lots of crushed eggshells mixed about a foot to two feet down in the soil. Then I removed the bottom leaves and planted it deeper. Not quite as deep as the fertilizer I put in but the roots will grow down there and find it. Tomato roots get very deep and convincing them to go down will help keep blossom end rot away since they will have a steady moisture supply deep down.
The tomato plant is in the mustard bed. The mustard plants are getting bigger, but I swear some of them are thinking of bolting already. They are a spring crop and we did have some really bad hot weather way too early in the season. I really hope my experiment to get mustard seed works. If not I'll collect whatever I get and save seed to plant next year.
Then I wanted to plant the cukes and zukes. First I had to pull all the 3' high cilantro out of the bed. It covered the whole bed. I made my compost pile a foot deeper.
I took two days to pull it all out and prepare the bed as usual. Then I invited Kronos, my daughters dog into the garden with me. I wanted to see how easily he would be trained to the garden. I had my other dogs garden trained. They learned to walk on the paths and leave the beds alone. But Kronos likes laying on plants over laying on the mulch. And as all dogs, they don't stick to the paths normally, so the prepared bed had doggie tracks all over it and a few onion plants may never recover. I'm thinking the effort of training and the squashed plants aren't worth getting him partially trained by the time he leaves. Too bad. It is nice having a dog with you when you garden. And dogs would always rather be out in the garden with you than inside.
But I finally got the cucumbers planted. I thought about building a bamboo trellis like normal. But the tomato cages are not being used. So I figured they were good enough and so much easier. And they can grow as the plants grow. I'm hoping to have twelve plants of each Calypso and Cross Country. If they don't germinate I have more seed that I can start indoors. In front I planted four zucchinis. Two Black Raven and two Costata Romanesca. The Romanesca aren't really bush plants they travel which makes them a bit of a pain in a bed. But I'll try to train them to loop around the bed if I can.
I want to try to keep them contained here since I want to try something new this year. The vine borers always take the plants down. They come out at about 1000 degree days, which is just a measure about how hot it has been. As I write this we are at 345 which is not at all normal for this time of year. Since we have had so much hot weather in the spring, the borers will be out a lot earlier than normal. Usually I get a decent harvest before the plants are taken down in mid to late August. This year that won't be the case. The borers will come early, probably three weeks early, but I couldn't plant the zukes any earlier than normal because we have had some cold weather later too. So I'm going to try to cover them with a row cover just before we hit that magic number. I'll have to hand pollinate every day if I want more than baby zucchini. But for several weeks they will be covered. Maybe I'll actually get zucchini this year then. Maybe.
Don't you just love the little mint corner. The borage is going to take over and is self seeded. The forget-me-nots that I planted last year are blooming. And those pretty jumpups are a gift from the soil that was put in by the landscapers. One popped up last year. I left it to bloom and go to seed. This year I have about six of them scattered around. They are different from the ones that I brought in my compost from my old place. Those are the bicolored ones. They are purple and yellow. These are straight purple. Both lovely in their own way. I wonder what they will look like if they ever cross.
And here they are. If you look at the peas all along the back you will see there are three different heights. One planted in February, one in March, and the last in April. The April sowing didn't have good germination. I think there were too many hungry insects active by that time (in a normal year the insect timing would be early May). So that planting didn't work out too well. But I'm trying to stagger the harvest so they will last longer into the summer. I don't know if it will work. Peas hate the heat. But I'll find out this year. If it does extend my harvest it will be worth it.