Tomatoes

Maybe I am a tomato dunce.

I am not being dramatic.  Because I killed half the tomatoes I transplanted last weekend.

Both Cherokee Purples, dead. Half of my paste tomatoes, dead. And the list goes on. I also killed two peppers and I didn't even transplant those.

I have no idea what I did wrong. Half of the tomatoes survived and are doing well. It must be something with the way I handled them? Or did I not plant them deeply enough? Not give enough water? Oh, screw.

So today I decided to supplement my supply with a few purchased seedlings from the Contra Costa Master Gardeners. They always have a huge selection to choose from, and while I was there, I picked up a pepper that you grow specifically for drying. Our drying experiments never worked well last year, and apparently it's because you need a specific pepper - who knew???

So, now I've got four cherry tomatoes, five slicing tomatoes, and six paste tomatoes, all in half-gallon containers, out in the sunshine (76 today and heading towards the mid-80's later in the week), and man did I water them in well. 

Cherry: Mexico Midget, Yellow Pear, and two Black Cherries (all survivors of my killing spree).

Slicing: Nebraska Wedding, Black Krim, Brandywine (survivors), plus two I got today - Mortgage Lifter, and Cherokee Purple. 

Paste: Opalka, Federle, Amish Paste (thank goodness one of each of these survived, I knew there was a reason I planted two of everything), and three from the sale - La Roma III (the only determinate variety I have), Rocky, and Pompeii.

I heard a bit of a tomato talk while I was standing in line to pay; one of the Master Gardeners was talking about how they plant tomatoes in 'Our Garden' (their demonstration site). She said they water their tomatoes on drip (like us) four times a week for 40 minutes at a time. This is easily half again as much as we watered last summer. So we'll be adjusting our drip system to match what the MG's do.

She also said our soil is still too cold to put tomatoes in the ground - this is what I thought - so I'll be waiting several weeks. Not like last year!!!

I transplanted the peppers today too. I have the one I bought for drying from the sale - Picante Calabrese - and the ones that survived here- Jalepeno, Maule's Red Hot, Jimmy Nardello, Chocolate Bell, Bull Nose Bell, and Sheepnose Pimento. 

Because of this amount of tomatoes and peppers, and seeing how things are coming in the winter garden, I revised my whole plan for the summer garden. 

 

Speaking of the winter garden, both garlic and shallots are starting to look like they might be ready for harvest earlier than I expected. Last year we harvested garlic on April 24 and shallots on June 13. So I must be wrong and they must need more time. The fingerling potatoes are looking good but haven't bloomed yet, so I don't want to take those out anytime soon. The carrots and beets are being harvested now, and there are still turnips though we have eaten all the turnips we want to for a long, long time. Maybe we'll pickle some. Broccoli is going to seed, the cabbage never 'headed' and is being used to feed the chickens; we are harvesting peas daily along with spinach, kale, and chard. The braising greens have gone to seed and are providing flowers for the bees and food for the chickens as well.

Flowers are blooming everywhere. Here is a small sampling.

  a bumblebee on Coral Bells (Huechera)

 a bumblebee on Coral Bells (Huechera)

 Douglas Iris

Douglas Iris

 Hummingbird Sage

Hummingbird Sage

 Scabiosa, or Pincushion flower

Scabiosa, or Pincushion flower

 Chinese Houses

Chinese Houses

 I can't remember - old-fashioned phlox? Not sure. Charming though.

I can't remember - old-fashioned phlox? Not sure. Charming though.

 More Ceanothus

More Ceanothus

 Brilliant Poppies

Brilliant Poppies

 Galliardia, or Blanket Flower, about to bloom

Galliardia, or Blanket Flower, about to bloom

It's fun to walk around and see things popping up. Like this -

 Plums!

Plums!

or this -

 Blueberries

Blueberries

What's happening in your garden this weekend?