Taking My Own Advice…

Well, almost a week ago I was telling everyone that they should start moving on getting things in the ground.  To run right out that door and plant tomatoes, peppers, green beans. So what do I do? Procrastinate as usual. As of Thursday I still have about 1/4 of the garden to turn over and I as I looked at the weather forcast with rain almost all day on Thursday and Friday to be 90+ I about wanted to kick myself.  So, once the rain stopped on Thursday, around 8:30 pm I went out and kept turning the garden over and yes it was dark.  No, I don’t have a good enough porch light to reach all the way to the back yard.  So, 9:00 am when it was already 87 degree heat index, outside I went.  I just love being a pool of sweat after about 20 minutes of work, it’s just so darn pleasant.  😛  Yeah, right.  So, after bouncing inside and getting water and digging as much as I could…I ended up with this.

garden after planting

Okay, so this was after it was planted, but there was a small section that I just didn’t get turned.  It was hot, I was tired, and I desperately wanted to feel like I was accomplishing something on Friday by getting plants in the ground.  So, if you’ve read my little about me section about not being the perfect gardener the picture below will give you a great idea of what I’m talking about.  This was me being lazy, but wanting to get butternut squash and spaghetti squash seeds in the ground.

picture of planting holes for squash seeds

Oh yes…they are probably too close, but we shall see.  I am notorious for planting things too closely.  I’m a little nervous about the number of tomatoes that I crammed together. Wait until later in the season and you’ll see just how bad my spacing might be. But to get my point across about my inability to gauge spacing, I provide you evidence from last year. Note, this was a shorter and more narrow garden.

At planting June 13th, 2010:

2010 garden at planting

And than July 27th….ummm yeah…about that spacing thing?

2010 Garden July 27th

So you see…I stink at spacing but you know what.  I grew a heck of a lot and it all worked out, lets just say that harvesting was a bit interesting in regards to figuring out where to step without stepping on anything important.

In regards to planting tomatoes, I wanted to share a bit of helpful information and answer a question that a friend of mine asked.  When planting tomatoes, I always plant deeper than the rootball of the plant.  Tomatoes will develop roots along their stems if planted deeper and with the weight of the plant and the water and nutrient needs, it’s always a much better idea to do so. Below is a picture of one of my tomato transplants that I grew from seed.  Where you see my thumb and index finger is the depth that I planted my tomatoes at.

Showing how deep to plant a tomato transplantIf you didn’t plant yours deeper and they’ve been in the ground for a week or so, don’t go digging them up as you might disturb new root growth.  If you just put them in the ground in the last day or two, it might be worth doing a bit of replanting, otherwise just make a note for next year.

The question that my friend raised was about pinching flowers early in the tomato growing season.  This is what I recommend.  If your plants have flower buds and/or flowers at planting, remove them and probably remove them for the first week or so after planting.  You want your tomato to put as much energy into rooting into the garden as possible and not yet put energy into flower development.  You want a strong root system to support the plant.  I could go into a lot more detail about the how and why of plant physiology, but that would take longer to right and probably more than you would want to read.  Just trust me when I say that it’s best to remove the flowers early on.

As for seeds that made it into the garden beyond the transplants I mentioned in another post. Okra, bush green beans, slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, and butternut squash (a smaller variety than I grew last year.  Last year my squash was a monster. And to prove my point, check out the picture below.  My apologies in advance for the junky cell phone picture).

Butternut squash plant

This was on August 25th and it still grew bigger.  I ended up harvesting nearly 30 butternut squash from that one plant and they probably average 3-5 pounds each.  I’m still sitting on some.

And to show how quickly lettuce seeds germinate…

Lettuce seeds germinated

Exciting!  I also planted Dill seeds in the garden yesterday and basil seeds in a pot on the deck.  Quick note on Dill…it is shall we say, or as the seed package said, extremely productive.  That my dear friends is an absolute understatement, but I’m hoping to make pickles this summer and what’s could be better than fresh dill.  🙂

Oh…and since I’m on a picture happy post today. One more before I go.

Sugar snap peas

And this is what makes gardening all worth it.  Almost mature sugar snap peas. Actually, ate a few today and they are yummy!  As soon as they are done for the season, I’ll be tearing them out (they hate the heat and will quickly stop producing with the temperatures we’re having) and I’ll seed carrots in their place.  I have some really cute little round carrot seeds that are perfect for munching on.

Happy gardening!


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