Sue and I had a great time at the garden conference in Rock Hill on Saturday; we were so impressed with the York County Master Gardeners Joy of Gardening conference. My tomato talk had a very enthusiastic audience with great questions, and I hope to hear from some of them via email with more questions - and perhaps requests for a few seedlings. All of the talks we attended were informative and very well presented.
So....as always, talking tomatoes gets me charged up to garden. And here is where we are......there are many flats of seedlings under lights in the garage, including pretty much everything I've planted to date save the herb and flower flat (I've found basil in particular can be negatively impacted by cool and damp, leading to some damping off, so I am not ready to relocate it from the cozy warmth of my office window).
We are due for a cool and rainy day today, so I will be planting the final flat of seedling sales tomatoes. When the weather settles and warms from tomorrow onward, the transplanting will begin. I will slowly work through the pansies, snapdragons, and various greens. Sue and I also hope to start working on the various gardens, pruning our knockout roses and butterfly bushes, raking out the edge and shade gardens, and pretty much taking stock of what needs to be done to get things into shape.
That should keep me out of trouble!
We are soon to depart for Rock Hill, South Carolina. I was very fortunate to be invited to speak at the Joy of Gardening event - link is here
- tomorrow morning. My hope is to get the audience enthused, excited and informed about all aspects of heirloom tomatoes - including the history, availability and culture.
These opportunities to speak to interested audiences each season help me to remain excited and motivated in my gardening journey, and there are always wonderful questions that make me think about how I can always improve my efforts. So off we go today, leaving behind (anxiously of course) all of my thousands of growing seedlings. Of course, they are in the safety of my office or the garage, as the weather is likely to get a bit wild later on today, with a hard frost coming tomorrow night.
Next thing on the to-do list when I return - plant a final flat of tomatoes for the seedling sales, then start planning for the real fun of the gardening season - the various tomato and pepper project plantings. And....it is already time to transplanting lettuce, greens and beets. And...and......so much to do - always so much to do (and such fun to do it!).
Time for a quick peek at what I've been up to. (Just uploaded it, so will take a bit of time to process)
Whew. Some flats have migrated to the garage under lights, to make room for the star attraction - tomatoes! Up on my office, on heat mats, are two flats of 50 cells, each containing 20-40 seeds, representing all of the tomato varieties we will be carrying this year. I planted one yesterday (when it was nice and warm in the garage due to it being such a beautiful day)....and one today (which gave me cold, stiff hands....no open garage door today, not with the chill and wet and overall yuck that is going on outside)....
The list is long, but this is what is now incubating under plastic in front of my office windows on heat mats:
Aker's West Virginia, Andrew Rahart Jumbo Red, Anna Russian, Arkansas Traveller, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Big Beef F1, Black Cherry, Black Krim, Black from Tula, Blush, Brandywine, Burgundy Traveller, Carbon, Casey's Pure Yellow Cherokee Chocolate, Cherokee Green, Cherokee Purple, Heart Shaped Cherokee Purple, Coyote, Costoluto Genovese, Cuostralee, Druzba, Dr. Wyche's Yellow, Dwarf Beryl Beauty, Dwarf Emerald Giant, Dwarf Jade Beauty, Dwarf Mr. Snow, Dwarf Wild Fred, Eva Purple Ball, Galina, Gallo Plum, Garden Peach, German Johnson, German Red Strawberry, Great White, Green Doctors, Green Giant, Green Grape, Green Zebra, Hillbilly, Iditarod Red, Indian Stripe, Isis Candy Cherry, JD Special C Tex, Jaune Flamme, Kellogg's Breakfast, KBX Cross, Kimberly
Lemon Boy, Lillian's Yellow Heirloom, Lime Green Salad, Little Lucky, Lucky Cross, Maglia Rose, Martino Roma, Mexico Midget, Mortgage Lifter, Nepal, New Big Dwarf, Opalka, Orange Heirloom, Orange Strawberry, Ozark Cherry, Perth Pride, Piennolo, Pink Berkeley Tie Dye, Polish, Purple Russian, Rasp Red, Red Brandywine, Red Robin, Regina's Yellow, Rose Quartz, Rosella Purple,Russian Queen,Sleeping Lady, Speckled Roman, Stump of the World, Summertime Green, Sungold, Sweet Million, Tasmanian Chocolate, Tennesssee Britches, Tiger Tom, Torre Canne, White Cherry, Williams Striped, Yellow Bell, Yellow Brandywine, Yellow Pear, Yukon Quest, Giant Syrian
You will see lots of familiar names on the list above...and some new ones as well. There are also some returnees after a few years of absence.
Hopefully, the few that didn't seem right - Indian Stripe and Yellow Bell both were crossed (at least the plants that I grew last year), and I used new seed for each this year.
I expect to see germination in the flats in a few days...stay tuned!
The carrots are up....I've moved both the lettuce/greens and first hot pepper/eggplant flats into the sun. The second hot pepper/eggplant flat is nearly ready for the garage, and all of the basils are sprouting. Today I will plant the first of the tomato seedlings flats for our annual sales, and tomorrow the second...that will give us at least one cell of each type. There will be a third, which provides backups for the most popular ones.
Here are some pictures of the state of things as of this morning...first, in the sun in front of our garage
....and here, in my greenhouse....I mean, office!
The season progresses.....the initial flat of hot peppers and eggplant are now sitting under the shop lights. Some pics of things growing below...but first, here is what was planted today.
Flowers - Pink wild hibiscus (from a single plant found while kayaking at Falls Lake - I waited until it set seed and nabbed a few pods!), White Coccinea hibiscus, Salvia Coral Nymph,Baptisia from seed pods in a garden at the Pecan Tree Inn at Beaufort, Marigold Durango mix, Italian Parsley, Cilantro.....Basils Red Rubin, Genovese, DeGenova, Martina Genovese, Amethyst, Queenette, Serata, Mrs Burns Lemon, Spicy Bush, Aroma, Dwarf Greek, Siam Queen, Osmin, Cinnamon (two sources), Licorice, Mozzarella, saved Red Rubin, saved Dwarf Green, and Christmas.....Fakir Parsley Root, Summer Thyme, Salad Burnet, saved Lg Orange Marigold, and a new purchase of Ancho hot pepper.
A few pics from the day:
My hands are a bit numb - it is still pretty chilly in the garage - but I just got the flat of sweet peppers/experimental hot peppers and experimental eggplant completed and it is sunning itself in front of my office window on a heating mat. Things are moving quickly this season, but there is so much more to plant!
Tomorrow I hope to get the herb and flower flat seeded, and perhaps move the initial hot pepper and eggplant flat into the garage under shop lights. I am going to need to free up some space on the heat mats for what is to come - the major planting of tomatoes, probably next weekend.
So, out go the big pots of spinach, carrots, radishes, arugula, lettuce....and the flat of lettuces/greens, and the pots of beets - out of the safety of the garage and back into the bright sun. The dogs are giving me "that look" - meaning it is also warm enough to take them for a long wished for walk!
Brrr....20 degrees this morning. Good thing I brought all of the driveway pots into the garage! I am going to leave them in there today, since tonight is going to be another bone chiller.
That slow hot pepper/eggplant flat is doing very well - as of today, the only no-shows are hot peppers Ancho (from 2008 saved seed), Fatalii (from 2006 saved seed) and Fish (a few years old, from Tomato Growers), and a cell of Cossack Pineapple (from 2009 saved seed). I am very pleased.
With regard to the flat of very old pepper seed (the wing and a prayer flat), nothing has emerged yet - but it is only day 5, and whatever does germinate will take its sweet time.
I will plant another flat today - the rest of the sweet peppers (which I detailed in my last entry - and instead of adding in tomatoes, I am going to fill it in with my experimental eggplant and a few hot and sweet peppers given to me by gardening friends. So aside from the 19 cells of sweet peppers, I am going to plant:
Eggplant - Neon saved seed from 2010 (one had a green main stem, the other purplish), Bed of Nails, Twilight Skinny fruit from last year, a Casper selection with an unusual green/lavender streaked fruit, Indonesian Pink Blush, Snow Globe (out of Cloud 9 hybrid), Bianca di Imola, Thai White Ribbed, Solanum Pyracantum, Lao White, Green Finger Striped, Striped Nigerian, and four other Casper selections from last year with variations on black or purple fruit.
Peppers - Habanero Dulce, PI 441654, Cap. Chacoense, PI 260478, Rossi saved hot, Franks, Trinidad Seasoning, Tobago Seasoning, Cowhorn, Bhut Jok., Golden Bullet, Trinidad Perfume, Chocolate Habanero and Zavary.
Next on the list will be flowers and herbs....and THEN tomatoes - next weekend!
Happy Sunday, and Happy Gardening, all!
Once the season starts, there's always something to do! Today I will plant the rest of the eggplant, hot peppers and sweet peppers, and Tomatillos.
This is what gets planted: Eggplant Casper, Ichiban, Italian Pink Bicolor, Listada di Gandia, New York Improved, Midnight Lightning, Prosperosa, Ripples, and Twilight Lightning; Tomatillos Toma Verde, Purple, deMilpa, Cisneros and Tomatillo, Hot Peppers Ancho, Bella, Bulgarian Carrot, Camille's Genoa, Camille's Italian, Cayenne, Chapeau de Frade, Golden Cayenne, Hugarian Hot Wax, Jalapeno, Kung Pao, Malu Miris, NuMex Heritage, Big Jim, Pinata and Vaquero, Padron, Peter, Serrano, Tabasco, Taiwan Chile, Takanotsume, and Thai Dragon; Sweet Peppers Aconcagua, Amethyst, Chervena, Chinese Giant, Chocolate Bell, Corno di Toro, Corno di Toro Yellow, Cubanelle, Early Sunsation, Fire Opal, Flavorburst, Garden Sunshine, Golden Marconi, and Gypsy - that fills out one flat of 50.
The second flat will consist of Italia, Jimmy Nardello, Kalman Hungarian, Jupiter, Lipstick, Marconi, Oda, Orange Bell, Orange Sun, Purple Beauty, Red Belgium, Royal Purple, Sarga, Super Shepherd, Super Stuff, Sweet Hungarian, White, Gold, World Beater and Yellow Belle. That leaves lots of open cells.....and I've not decided what to plant in those yet (perhaps some of my experimental eggplant and sweet peppers....I think I will leave Tomatoes to their own flats).
This is what the first slow hot pepper/eggplant flat looked like yesterday.
Upper left, moving right - Arugula, Beets, Chard - next row, left to right - flat of Greens, cell of red Lettuce, Radishes.
We are really enjoying the spinach growing in two large pots nearby, since November - we just snip off leaves for our salads and sandwiches.