There is lots of new information on the From The Vine - 2012 Plants Page, so be sure to check it out. The short of it is: Fri/Sat April 6/7 will be our first days at the State Farmers Market, Lake Wheeler Road, Raleigh. If you are OK with healthy, small seedlings, start contacting me today (email preferred) to set up a time to come to the house and purchase some starting today. And, the seedlings will be a good size for shipping starting April 9 (estimated). Much more info on the From The Vine page.
So where are things? I continue to move through transplanting, but feel that I am ahead of the game a bit, so am starting to do my own gardening. Yesterday I turned over two garden rows that will contain lettuce, greens and beets. I am still mystified at the critter who favors the cotyledon leaves of our cukes - but they've been replanted. Everything looks really good - we've not had the cold, windy rains that turns seedlings ugly! I am actually hoping to bleach some pots and get some of my own tomatoes in next week - first week of April - which is unprecedented for me!
I can't recall a more beautiful spring - the colors everywhere are astounding! What will summer bring, I wonder? Anyway...one task that is not on the list this weekend, thanks to mother nature, is watering! One task Lee and I need to sort out is the date and details for Tomatopalooza X! We need to factor the warm spring into the date so that we can ensure a good supply of tomatoes.
Hope to see some of you soon, either here, at the market, or at my talk at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens on April 21. One more thing - I will be attending the SSE tomato tasting again on September 1...so back to Decorah we will go
As you can see, they are coming along nicely.
Top row - basil, cossack pineapple, seedlings from side
Middle - seedlings from front, eggplant, greens
bottom - lettuce, peppers, tomatoes
Next weekend they will be definitely ready to bring to market....but if they look plantable to you, email me, send a list, arrange a time to come and get some!
I was holding out hope that maybe the seedlings would skyrocket this week and be ready on this coming Friday - but after all, it is still March! So we will all be patient...and we will be rewarded with nice healthy plants all ready for you to adopt for your own gardens. The plants were covered for the past two nights with Reemay just to guide them through some cool nights, and allow for some trapping of needed heat during the day. They look great...but just a bit small.
However......if you are OK with small plants, I may start the invitations to come to our home to get some starting this coming weekend - yes, March 31....but watch this space - let's see how things go the next few days. Tomorrow I will take and post some pics so that you can see what things look like.
Today I started transplanting the Dwarf project tomatoes into individual pots. What an exciting time of year - and what a beautiful spring this has been!
I've grown to not only love, but rely on, growing so many things in containers. And, judging from the many questions I get (as responses to YouTube videos, on this blog, or email), many of you do as well. So the idea came to me that it would be a good time to try for a very high-level, summary blog post on success with containers for tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Here goes!
Advantages of growing tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in containers
Issues with growing tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in containers
Guidance on container materials, sizes, growing medium, watering and feeding regimen and products and support methods
That should cover most questions.....ask if anything isn't clear!
Weird - I feel like I am blogging every day, then I get to work, my mind gets boggled - and all of a sudden there is a three day gap!
So Happy Monday everyone! It is a lovely sunny day, following a few rather exciting stormy ones that provided much needed rain. I found a way to work between the raindrops, and my latest mini-project is rescuing/replicating some of our best azaleas (underneath many of the plants are newly growing "babies" that emerged from accidental layering of stems). So in our back yard (and well positioned to be pee-targets for our always helpful dog Buddy) are numerous pots of newly dug azalea babies that will size up over the coming year, and be ready for planting out next spring. So much color out there - our deck is deep with "pink snow" that fell from our rapidly de-blossoming ornamental cherry tree.
I know - you want to hear about the seedlings. Well, aside from tonight's possible frost scare (yes, Sue and I will drag out the Reemay for the first time), the warm weather in the forecast ahead should get the plants into a vigorous growth pattern soon; the plants are likely just recovering from being transplanted. So the weekend of April 7 still feels right to me, though it could be advanced - just keep watching and reading this space, as well as the From The Vine seedlings page.
I've added a few new tomato varieties (Green Zebra Cherry, Sungold Select II, Caitlin's Lucky Stripe, Large Lucky Red) - and may add a bit more of this and that as I see how germination is going. I've also set up a Paypal account and am working on a seedlings ordering page for this year's dabble in mail order plants. I am thinking of limiting this to a few dozen varieties, but we shall see.
Off to the gym! Then, a day of more transplanting.....
It's always something - this year it seems that there is some creature that wants to nibble the cucumber seedlings. (I decided to start with the bad news first) - so I've got to relocate them and perhaps replant as well.
However - the good news - I've made a second run around the tomato alphabet and Sue and I did a significant amount of transplanting today. Of course the seedlings are still very, very small - but the upcoming week of continuing warm temperatures should allow them to kick in quickly and start making progress.
Still no definite first weekend at the Raleigh State Farmers Market, but April 6/7 is probably not a bad guess. BUT......IF you need/want seedlings earlier than that and don't mind the risk of getting them small, there is a chance that by the middle of next week you can arrange a visit to our driveway and purchase some....
Just keep watching for updates - it all depends on the weather and the speed that the plants size up!
I was fortunate to receive an invitation from Walter Jordan some time ago to speak at the Sandhills Daylily Club - and tonight was the night! Armed with my laptop and trusted critic (my wife, Susan), we headed into the yellow-green pine pollen cloud for Hope Mills, NC.
We arrived a bit early and were invited to join them in a buffet dinner - which was generous and delicious. After that, I spent an hour speaking to the group about tomatoes - focusing on heirlooms and some histories, as well as some tips and tricks for successful tomato growing. The group of about 35 enthusiastic gardeners asked great questions and the evening was just an absolute pleasure. Sue and I wish them a spring and summer filled with spectacular Daylilies, and hope to see the attendees at the Farmers Market in Raleigh, seeking out our tomato plants, or at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden at noon on April 21, which is my next tomato talk.
Based on a talk we attended at Rock Hill SC in February, as well as suggestions from Sue, I decided to strip all of the text out of my presentation, and just fill it with pictures of tomatoes and our garden. It worked much better for two reasons - it made it feel fresh and new, and created better flow and engagement.
So tomorrow it is back to transplanting!
Well, by the time I crawl into bed tonight, I plan to have at least half dozen of every variety we are offering this year settled into 3.5 inch individual pots - which actually sounds kind of unbelievable for March 21....but, it is what it is! The little plants look quite happy, and the near term forecast should help them to grow quite quickly. With gardening and mother nature, there are no sure bets...but fingers crossed for a nice selection of happy seedlings fairly soon! Keep an eye on the From The Vine 2012 Plants page for all current news on seedling availability.
It's just a lovely sight when I look out into the woods off of our deck - blooming spirea, forsythia, Red Bud, Dogwood, Loropetulum, Azaleas, our Cherry tree - and now our violas and pansies which I started from seed in November. In our shade garden, Epimedium and Celadine Poppy are blooming, solomon seal, ferns and Virginia Blue Bell are emerging along with the white and red Bleeding Hearts.
The only fly in the ointment - the dreaded "yellow stuff" (aka pine pollen) is raining down on us - but last night's rain washed much of it away. This right now is as beautiful a spring as we've ever seen when living here in NC (and that's 20 years this coming August!).
edited to add at 11:30 PM - I've yet to crawl into bed, but I did it! When I planted the Yellow Pear seedlings, I completed my tomato alphabet....and now can start on the next set of tomatoes to fill in those that find new homes from the initial transplanting.
With two trays of Sungold and two trays of Cherokee Purple transplanted, I am digging into the A named varieties this morning, as I move through the tomato variety alphabet. The seedlings are looking great (albeit still very small) - and the weather conditions should lead to some great looking, rapidly developing plants. I even managed to get a good selection of basil transplanted yesterday. And the cukes are already germinating - last year it took several weeks, this year less than one week.
Keep an eye on my blog - we may be advancing our first Farmer Market appearance by at least a week, but it all depends upon how rapidly the seedlings grow post-transplant.....which will depend upon temperatures (especially night-time temps). Even if we hold off on the market until early April, for those anxious...I mean, enthusiastic...gardeners who don't mind small seedlings, we may invite people out to our driveway to do some early bird purchasing. Not yet, of course...but perhaps soon. Even if the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are still small, I may pot up some lettuce (there are some really pretty types sizing up nicely) and various greens.
As far as mail order, the seedlings won't be ready until they get to a safe size for shipping - that will certainly not be until mid-April - and I've yet to work out payment methods and purchase shipping supplies - or determine which varieties are available for shipping. Lots to be worked out yet.
I will post some pics later, but right now, I am off to the garage to commune with seedlings and MetroMix!
I made it to the end of the "L" tomatoes. Tomorrow, on to the end of the alphabet! Some pictures...
top - tomato transplanting progress, seedlings resting in the garage, seedlings in the driveway
middle - pepper transplants, greens, spinach
bottom - lettuce, our cherry tree, and a carolina wren
Making good progress on transplanting - and the seedlings are making good progress with their growth! See here...
top row - Basils, greens, lettuces
next row - more lettuce, seedlings, tomatoes up close