April 10, 2017

Garden Tilled and a Greenhouse

Friday was spent weeding the entire garden and then afterwards my husband tilled. We're still planning to amend the soil with composted rabbit manure and rock dust which will also be tilled into the garden.

He finished putting up the greenhouse a week ago, and of course I immediately moved all the seedlings out there. It might actually be a little too warm for the cool weather crops, on 70 degree days it can reach almost 90 in there if I forget to open the windows.

 Some cool weather seedlings like kohlrabi, spinach, mizuna, tatsoi, leeks, and bulb fennel.

Tomatoes galore got potted up into individual containers and quickly moved into the greenhouse along with peppers.

 Some Jalafuego chili peppers seedlings.

 In the foreground are 3 eggplant seedlings with their spoon shaped true leaves.

And of course the tomatoes are basking in the added warmth.

Tomato and Pepper Varieties

Tomato seedlings needing to get potted up into individual containers, or else there will be dire consequences. The flowers planted in the same tray are taking forever to come up.

Pepper seedlings were started weeks before the tomatoes but of course they took ages to come up and as always they are much slower growing.

I had a lot of old tomato seeds which are planted just to see if they are still viable. I've already made a list of the number of each variety I'm planning to grow this year, so there's going to be lots of extra seedlings. (Usually half the plants are lost to bird activity.) Most of the tomato varieties are known for their flavor rather than their ability to produce. Luckily we usually have the perfect weather to grow Brandywine, so that sometimes makes up for it.

List of hot peppers that have germinated:
Early jalapeno
Hungarian Hot Wax
Numex Big Jim
Numex Joe E. Parker
Santa Fe Grande
Aji Lemon

The only peppers that didn't germinate are Serrano and Anaheim.

List of tomatoes that have germinated:
Fat Cherry
Black Cherry
Sun Gold Cherry
Amish Paste
Ananas Noire
Aunt Ruby's German Green
Big Rainbow
Big Zebra
Black from Tula
Black Krim
Black Prince
Black Brandywine
Dark Brandywine
Pink Brandywine
Yellow Brandywine
Celebrity hybrid
Cherokee Purple
Chocolate Stripes
Cosmonaut Volkov
Golden King of Siberia
Granny Cantrell
Hillbilly Flame
Kelloggs Breakfast
Lilac Giant
Orange Icicle
Pantano Romensco
Paul Robeson
Pilcer Vesy
Pink Berkeley Tie Dye
Red Pear
San Marzano Redorta

The tomatoes that haven't germinated are Djena Lee's Golden Girl and Pruden's Purple. These are some of my oldest tomato seeds so there's no surprise with the lack of germination.

Pink Brandywine is my favorite tomato, on good years the flavor is outstanding and production heavy. I've only had one good year with Cherokee Purple whose flavor is excellent, most times they split terribly and rot in our sweltering humidity but I'm going to give it another go. Friends who regularly grow Cherokee Purple say they are much more consistent in raised beds.

Tomatoes usually get potted up twice. They go from seed starter tray to little Styrofoam cups, then onwards to quart-sized yogurt containers. Yes, we eat a lot of yogurt. Out in the garden, tomatoes and peppers get crushed eggshells and used coffee grounds in their planting holes.

This year I'm keeping rock dust and beneficial nematodes to my lineup for soil amendment as well as adding garden inoculant for beans and peas. So we shall see, what we shall see.

Peppers Sprouted

At the end of February I started a few vegetable seeds in the basement next to the furnace and water heater. On sunny warmish days the seed tray goes outside to soak up some sun. But alas, birds found the tray and pulled up a few just emerging sprouts.

It took almost 3 weeks for the first peppers to germinate. Early Jalapeno, Numex Big Jim, Jalafuego, Joe E. Parker, Lemon Drop, Santa Fe Grande, and Hungarian Hot Wax have all germinated. Neither Serrano and Anaheim chili peppers never did come up even with heavy reseeding .

The little pepper seedlings were potted up into individual Styrofoam containers. I'm a bit worried about the peppers that haven't emerged, Serrano and Anaheim are great peppers for salsa. It's definitely getting late in the seed starting season.

Back in March my husband came home with a couple of quart jars of salsa he found in the shop. Both jars were from the 2013 growing season. That was just a fantastic year for our homemade salsa, it's like eating bottles of sunshine.

Hopefully this year will be a good for tomatoes and peppers, so we can do some serious canning.