Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday, April 19th--Tomatoes etc

I didn't post Sunday because I am lame. It's also because I'm still trying to figure out what I feel would be an appropriate post for the Sabbath.

Yes, I'm a very Christian dude. LDS, in fact.

But on to today's post! I thought it would be good to write about getting tomatoes and other things started inside, since now is the time to be doing that. I ought to point out that I live in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Thus, what I do is what works (or what I hope works) here.

By the way, on Pandora right now: Cover Me by Springsteen.

Okay. So, if you want to do your own tomato starts, now is the time to have them in their little planter pods. We actually got ours in late-- about nine days ago. We will still make it, and I'll talk about why in a minute, but here's where we do our starts:

This is, as you can see, a large window sill/shelf. It is in a room on the south end of our house, and it conveniently faces east. So when the sun peeks over the mountains we live under, it immediately starts shining on this spot. On good days, we probably get about six hours of blindingly bright sun there.

Notice the philodendron. See how the leaves go up to the left? Yeah, so that vine stretches about twenty feet from there, lining the top of the treatment lining the top of these windows and their colleagues on the south side of the room. Then there is a jar of spider plant babies getting roots. Then there is a potted spider plant. It is one of seven in the house.

Now playing on Pandora: In the Name of Love by U2

Now here's a closer shot of the starts:

The thing to remember is that you need to find a spot with plenty of sun and that is out of reach of kiddies. If you have a cat, you need to train that cat to stay away. Our cat, Tally, is still being trained. My lovely wife rescued the Black Cherry starts today.


Now playing on Pandora: Busted Stuff by Dave Matthews Band

The other thing you want to do is start gathering these little planters. I would guess there's a technical or trade term for them, but I don't know it. You see those yellow styrofoam-y things under them? Those are to catch water-- which you will need. We saved and sterilized the styrofoam trays that our sausages and meats came in for a while. They are small, lightweight, and you probably see that the planters fit perfectly. Add to that the fact that they store easily and they're pretty much awesome.

Alright, so now let's see where we are with our starts:

These are the Black Cherry plants. You can see that, though, can't you? That's because those popsicle sticks are absolutely perfect for keeping track of the seeds you plant. Son #2 is a devoted crafter, and he had a box that started with 300 of these. He had a few to spare and I used black sharpie on them. Very utilitarian and easy to use.

Can you make out the small plants there? They are just over 1/2 inch tall so far. Pale green stems and two long, narrow leaves coming out the top.

Here are some more:

These are called 'Marianna's Peace.' We have never planted these before; they were a gift from a local friend named Shirley. She's a tomato master and always tries a few new tomatoes each year.

Now playing on Pandora: Domino by Van Morrison.

Some more:

Nice big sprout in the Pink Ponderosa, another which we have not tried before.

Earlier I mentioned that we planted these later than we really wanted to. I was swamped with school and Annemarie was swamped with nutzo cool kids and work. But we will make it and still get a solid crop. This is because we can get these in the ground in the first week of June and still be fine. I usually put them in the ground in the second or third week of May, but that probably won't happen this year.

But I am accelerating their growth, so you never know.

Now playing on Pandora: Hard Candy by Counting Crows.

How am I accelerating their growth? Now that we have sprouts, I am turning on this lamp every evening:

This should keep things actively growing for a little longer each day. We will see if it works.

Today's assistant, because she is extremely cute:

This is Lily on Sunday. She is wearing her Easter dress and loves to pick dandelions. Notice that my yard has none, but she does this kind service for our neighbors. I say they can pick dandelions and keep them outside, but they have to pick them before they go to seed.

Anyway, that's it for today. I hope the info about starts helps. It's really not hard to start your own tomatoes. You just need a good, safe sunny spot; the little planter pots; a water catcher to go under the little pots; and then some bigger pots to transplant the starts to when they're bigger. We save our yogurt containers; I'll show you those another time.

Put seeds in dirt, water them, and make sure they have sun. Guess what? They'll grow.

Tomorrow I'll talk a little bit about heirloom seeds.

I hope your garden is provident this year. Feel free to share this site with friends!

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