It’s April 15th, you know what that means! Oh wait, you’re probably thinking about tax day instead of the average last frost day in zone 7. If you haven’t thought about taxes yet HOLY CRAP GET STARTED ON THOSE BECAUSE THEY ARE DUE TOMORROW. But, if you’re like me and taxes are done already, you can start concentrating on the important stuff: transplanting my seedlings.
Yesterday I picked up a few bags of last-minute soil amendments: 2 bags of lobster compost (for the tomatoes), two bags of a compost and composted manure mix, and two bags of composted humus. Those got mixed in yesterday, and then I put my tomatoes out for a long day of hardening off.
Last night my tomatoes and peppers spent their first night outdoors. This morning they were all looking healthy and happy, so after checking the extended weather forecast I decided today was the day to transplant. First, I put all the peppers into the right bed with the garlic and onions. All told, there were 12 peppers: 5 “Sweet California Wonder” green bells, 5 “Long Thai” hots, and 2 “Pepperoncini”. They’ve all gotten shuffled up in the last few weeks of moving in and out, so I don’t know which are which. Here’s the garden with the peppers on the left side, the onions towards the middle and the large garlic plants on the far right:
In the far back left corner I had some extra space so I jammed in another tomato plant. When transplanting the peppers I pinched off all the “seed leaves” (cotyledons) and planted the peppers a little bit deeply. I don’t think pepper plants put off advantageous roots from buried parts of the stem like tomatoes do, but some of them had gotten a little leggy so the added support would be good in any case.
Next I put in 9 of my biggest, healthiest-looking tomatoes in the left bed:
At the far edges of the picture you can see some large tree branches I’ve stood up, as a start of a trellis system for the bed. Eventually I’ll run some lines between these to help support the growing tomatoes (either in lieu of, or in addition to, normal cages). For the tomatoes I pinched off some of the lower branches, especially some of the smaller or creepier ones (some early leaves seemed to have gotten “burned” by being too close to my lights). I planted these as deeply as I could manage, while still keeping the leaves up out of the soil.
I planted three varieties of tomatoes, though they had gotten mixed up almost immediately after sprouting (some of the little planter cells sprouted more than one plant, so I carefully transplanted duplicates to empty cells wherever they fit).
In total, 10 tomato plants have gone into the ground already, and I’m hoping I got a good mix of the three varieties. I have 7 plants left, including some which look particularly sickly, but are still hanging on to life and may yet surprise. I’m not sure whether I want to try and find a place to plant these, or find them a good adoptive home instead.
With the two garden beds full, the 2013 growing season has finally kicked into high gear. I can’t wait till we start seeing some results.