Not Long Now Til Fresh Tomatoes!

I got carried away with seedlings again this year. I think we have about 80 tomatoes and nearly 10 tomatillos. Problem is, our garden didn’t miraculously grow over the winter so we’re faced with the puzzle again of where to put it all. Granted it’s a good problem to have but I know I’ll be giving some of the seedlings away.

We struggle with blight and other issues so each year I had new things to try to help keep the plants healthy. And because we do things organically it’s important we find solutions that fit into that. We’ve used copper powder for the blight. We’ve learned to keep the leaves and plants dry while watering the soil and keeping up with pruning any shoots that start to yellow.

After reading about what minerals the tomatoes needed we added egg shells last year for the calcium. We noticed an improvement so for the past couple of months I’ve been saving the shells.

20140516-125811.jpg

Our seedlings got a bit leggy as I started them too soon. I always forget and do that but hopefully I will remember next year. The jungle gets a bit much!

20140516-130221.jpg

This year we are adding Epsom salt. This will give the tomatoes magnesium. Gardener swear by it for tomatoes, peppers, and roses. Various articles state that research doesn’t bear this out but I figured it won’t hurt to try. To plant I dug a deep hole and added crushed eggshells, about a tablespoon of Epsom salt, and some organic tomato food. Mix with the soil then fill the hole with water.

20140516-130504.jpg

Gently separate the roots and place in the water.

20140516-130742.jpg

Fill back in with soil, add the cage, and water again. Repeat!

20140516-130954.jpg

I cannot wait for fried green tomatoes, fresh caprese salad, and homemade sauce!

PS this is my first post on my iPad so feedback on how it shows on your screen will be welcome.

The Green Stuff is Growing!

This is our third year of doing seedlings and each year we have different problems.  This year’s problem is everything in the middle of the seedlings dries out and the seeds grow around the outside of the planter.  We’ll have to problem solve for next year.  Fortunately we still have enough to transplant and we should have a decent crop this year.  Though I was hoping for more tomato plants but we’ll see how that goes.

transplants 1 2013

Celery can be tricky.   I have fussed with this for four years now.  The first year we bought seedlings and they did quite well.  The next year I did seedlings and more than half died as I planted them.  We got a few that were wonderful.  Last year we did much better but these little guys, until well established, will die if you look at them wrong.   I was hopeful this year as I planted more than half a tray but we ran into the middle of the tray drying out frequently.  I hope to have 12 to transplant.  Fingers crossed.  Because fresh celery in soups is fabulous!

transplants 5 2013

Peppers are doing well for the most part.  We should have a bumper crop again this year.  We were overwhelmed last year but fortunately the community kitchen takes fresh produce and we could freeze some.  We have two sweet peppers and several hot peppers.  Great for hot pepper jelly!  Love that on cheddar.

transplants 4 2013

Our green house is officially open now.  I think.  We thought so a few weeks ago then winter came back and we had to pull everything back in.  Can you believe these leeks can get to be 5 feet long?!?  The seeds are so tiny!

transplants 3 2013 transplants 2 2013

We’ve been lucky so far with the pak choi.  These were transplanted earlier and so far so good.  Though we may need to risk it and transplant again.  We’re on the fence.  I’ll be direct seeding soon as well.

This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous and definitely springlike next week so it is time to get a few veg in!  So excited.  🙂

And so it begins with transplanting…..

Given that we just got dumped on by a ton of snow, there are probably several of us who would love to see some green.  This is partly why I am so anxious to start our plants in January!  We planted a few different plants a couple of weeks ago and I showed the seed planting then.  While a few are starting to pop up the broccoli and Brussels Sprouts are going like gangbusters!

seedlings 1 2013

I couldn’t believe how well they are doing.  It’s great because we’ll have very healthy plants to put in the ground come April when the ground is workable.  As we did have a major storm and I realised my bigger pots are in the carriage house I had to make do with smaller 6 packs for now.  I carefully spooned out each seedling and put them each into their own cell.  Watering as I went so they don’t go into shock.

seedlings 2 2013

They will lay down and act like they’ve given up sometimes but they perk up.  I put the clear cover over them and back onto the heating pads and under the grow lights.  So now every one-two weeks we’ll be transplanting and staging the seedlings until it’s time to put them out in the real world….