Friday, July 8, 2011

Rain, Rain, Rain

We are finally getting a good rain today. So far only a third of an inch, but I'm hoping for at least another third. So once again I put off spraying. Not good. But we do need the rain. Tomorrow sometime I have to get to it especially with the rain spreading disease around.

But there was one thing I could do in the break in the rain. I could get my carrots planted. Yesterday I made carrot tapes to plant out. I was asked how I make them so I'll show you.

I take some toilet paper and cut it into four strips the long way. Then I put on dots of glue every inch and put one seed on each dot. I hang them up to dry on my laundry lines in the nursery. Granny likes seed mats that are made from paper towels, but I like doing them in rows better as I find them easier to plant.

I measure out rows four inches apart and put down the tapes. Then I make sure they are barely covered with fine soil. The covering is why tapes are easier for me. I have trouble covering a whole area evenly with fine soil. But a narrow row is simple. If you leave part of the paper out of the soil it will act as a wick and dry everything out. Especially in the heat we have been having. After they are covered I tamp them down.

Then I cover them with burlap. Usually I'd water well after this, but with the rain before and after there was no need. In fact I had to hurry to finish as I was getting rained on at the end. Everyday I'll water the burlap a couple of times at least if it is hot and sunny out. And I'll check every day after Tuesday to see if there is any sign of germination. If there is I'll take the burlap off. But until then the burlap will shade and protect the soil and help them to get up. I ought to use boards at this time of the year, but my soil has a lot of damping off issues, so I'm going to stick with the burlap if I can.

And while I was out I saw this little gem. My first Sungold tomato is ripe. No other plants are showing any sign of ripening. Last year I harvested my first tomato about 10 days later than this, but the plants were put in about three weeks later than I planted this year. And last year I had many of the varieties come ripe at once. I think last year's heat really drove them to produce quickly.

Oh and yes I ate it right after its photo was taken. It was yummy. Not as good as later ones will be, but still quite good. I can't wait until I have so many I can't eat them all. I'm hoping that won't take too long.


  1. Congrats on the first tomato! I have to try those Sungold once--seems they're everyone's first tomato.
    We're having company and I was reduced to buying a supermarket tomato--something I normally wouldn't do. Awful. Absolutely awful!

  2. Oh that is a great idea to do the carrot mats in strips!

  3. Yippee for your first tomato!! Boy, I wish that we would get some rain here. The storms seem to be going around us and missing us by just a few miles!

  4. Thank you for posting your method for planting carrots. I can't plant carrots this time of year in South Alabama, but they are on my list for fall planting. I will use this method when I do.

  5. Mhh, Sungold, one of my fave Tomatoes. Great idea for getting good spacing on the Carrots.

  6. I'm becoming more and more interested in that tape. Everyone I know is doing it, and direct seeding did squat for me this year.

    And I too got my first ripe tomatoes. Cherries from a non-cherry plant... go figure, but they were the BEST part of my salad last night. YUM!

  7. Daphne, I don't understand your comment about "I ought to use boards at this time of year..." Could you please explain?

  8. Sue, Ick supermarket tomatoes. Yeah it is hard to eat those after having real tomatoes.

    Allison, I don't think it saves time, but it means I can make them inside when the weather is bad.

    Robin, Sadly so far the storms today have mostly gone to our south. I wish they had been a little farther north and then we would have had enough rain already.

    Cristy, I wouldn't imagine that a carrot would germinate in the heat you get at this time of the year.

    Bridget, I've loved Sungold ever since I first grew it years ago. It sets so early.

    Sinfonian, I don't find that direct seeding is that much worse in germination. A little but not much. Keeping the seed wet without washing it away. Now that is the real trick.

    Mark, sure. The trick to carrots is to get them to germinate. This time of the year it is hot and it is hard to keep them moist and cool enough. The burlap is one way, but you still need to water them a lot. If you cover the seeds with a board it works even better. You don't have to keep watering it constantly to get them to come up. Of course you have to remove the board as soon as you see anything (just like the burlap). I don't want to use boards because I tried this spring with boards (and burlap and open). And with the boards I had a lot of damping off. My soil just needs more air because of the fungi living in it right now.

  9. That carrot tape sounds interesting! I tried the boiling kettle trick from a gardening seminar I attended, but I think I just burnt the seeds. I'm looking forward to trying it this weekend! Thanks for the tip!

  10. Lovely both. Nice little tomato. They don't have to be so good at first because your tastebuds are less discriminating when you start.

  11. We got 4" of rain overnight, in less than 12 hours. I would be happy to send some your way.

    It won't be much longer for those tomatoes!

  12. we've been getting a whole lot of rain too! The sungold tomato looks lovely:) I hope you get a whole bunch soon!

  13. Congrats on the Sungold tomato, it looks delicious. I have never grown that variety..can you believe that. I really must give them a shot next season.

  14. I enjoyed my first little Sungold's earlier this week... never made it into the house. There are more coming along but not ripening immediately. Soon though. The first ones often are a single ones and twos that are far in advance of the rest of the pack. I was just happy to see it though. I have some full size tomatoes on the Defiant and the Legend plants that I think will be my first full size tomatoes. Interestingly the Market Miracles have yet to set fruit?! They are growing well though and have good flowering - just not fruit set yet.

    I need to give the homemade seed tapes a try with carrots. If nothing else for the fun of doing something different!

  15. Daphne, I always learn so much from you! I don't grow carrots but I'm betting that would work just as well with peas! And the burlap is a fabulous idea. Thanks for all the very useful info!

  16. Daphne; Thanks for the explanation about your use of boards. I have done something a bit similar sometimes, as a way of retaining moisture. I put a board each side of a row of baby veg, leaving a gap in the middle. The board protects the soil from direct sunlight and reduces evaporation.

  17. Sheila, I've never heard of the boiling water trick. I'll have to look that one up.

    Stefaneener, thanks. And I think you are right. Now any homegrown tomato tastes great.

    villager, I wish I had had a full inch. But I'll take what I can get. I got enough to not water.

    Charm, Me too.

    Mr H, You do have to try it. It is such a delicious tomato.

    Laura, Wow I've never had them fail. They aren't early tomatoes by any means, but they have always produced for me. Even in our nasty year. I hope they hop to it for you soon. And carrot tapes do not save time. But I can make them inside out of the sun which makes life easier.

    Cathy and Steve, I don't know if a pea would stick to TP, but you could always try. I never have trouble spacing my peas. Carrots are a real issue for me though. Their seeds are way too small.

    Mark I like the idea of putting the seed in the middle. I think you would get lot less damping off that way and you don't have to be as vigilant about removing them quickly.

  18. Daphne, Thanks for the carrot tape instructions. Will definitely make carrot tapes. This will cut down on thinning. I am also going to try the same method with bok choy and amaranth.

  19. I'm about to plant some more carrots. I'm interested in trying the TP approach. What kind of glue do you use? How does the seed get out of the glue!?!

  20. Norma good luck

    Nicole, I use elmers That glue is water soluble and nontoxic so it will wash right out over time.