Having fun with tomatoes

I just love getting my hands dirty with transplanting. It is such a time of hope. Good food in a few months. The remainder of these tomatoes are for the Central Valley Garden Club plant sale in early May. Ā Until then they will be toasty warm in my greenhouse.

 

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Tomato Transplant Day

Why do gardeners always want to grow more than they have room to grow? I do not like to crowd my veggies but days like today I want to grow more than I have room to grow. Eight Walls O Water were set up a few weeks ago to warm the soil and today I measured 65* F within the WOW. Eight of my six week old tomato plants were planted today. I still have three more WOW to set up and lots more plants. The remaining plants will be potted up to 4ā€ pots and be given to the Central Valley GARDEN Club for the spring sale. This will be a busy spring.

Mason Bees in my garden

I enjoy nurturing the native bees and providing nesting homes for them. Since we have five fruit trees, four blueberry plants, 50 strawberries and multiplying raspberries, my garden keeps these bees working. I like them because they work in the rain, unlike other pollinators. I have some cute bee houses and some practical, jury rigged ones and they both do the job.

The wire one above is what I will explain. Mason Bee season here in the Puget Sound lowlands runs from about March 15 when you put them out until mid July when they are ready for storage. Recently I have learned about these predatory wasps that drill holes in the cardboard straws to lay their eggs, ultimately killing the developing Mason Bees. This year I am using white cardboard tubes placed in natural reeds, hoping to discourage the predatory wasps. The tan tubes with mud closures are the bees from 2017 and the white tubes are the nesting sites for 2018.

Tomatoes!

I decided to start some tomato seeds on February 15th, a usual time for my area. My set up is not fancy, in my garage with a heat mat and fluorescent lights. I decided to try one seed per cell this year with 2/3 potting mix and 1/3 seed starting mix on top of that in every cell. This year I have some old faithful favorites and several new varieties courtesy of Victory Seeds and the author Craig LeHoullier. I won the book in a contest and was given seeds and a gift certificate as a bonus.

Here is my 2/15 seed list with the number started:

  1. Sunsugar-6
  2. Sun Gold-6
  3. Sweet Million-9
  4. Chocolate Cherry-6
  5. Costoluso Genovese-4
  6. Dwarf Arctic Rose-4
  7. Dwarf Fred’s Tie Dye-4
  8. Dwarf Tamunda Red-4
  9. Morgage Lifter -2
  10. Brandywine Sudduth strain-2
  11. Dwarf Jade Beauty-2

You might be wondering, how much space do I dedicate to growing tomatoes? I grow Ten to twelve in a raised bed. I grow tomato seedlings for myself and give the remainder to the Central Valley Garden Club for their May 5th sale.

In the week since I started the seeds we have had below freezing overnight temps for the past three nights and a 20 hour power outage! Just when I thought I would have to start over, I see germination! This season my blog will follow these seedlings along their way.

The plants just keep getting better, and there was the wildlife!

Background information from Wikipedia:
Telopea truncata, commonly known as the Tasmanian waratah, is a plant in the family Proteaceae. It is endemic to Tasmania where it is found on moist acidic soils, similar to Western Washington west of the Cascades.  

The flower heads, known as inflorescences, are terminalā€”that is, they arise on the ends of small branchesā€”and are surrounded by small inconspicuous hairy bracts.