Tomatoes In, Ahead of the Storm

Heirloom Tomato Patch with new walkways.

I had a filming at St. Anne’s this afternoon, and I thought that my morning gardening would be it for the day since severe thunderstorms were predicted, but they bypassed us completely so I had a few hours after my filming and decided to get in the heirloom tomatoes. I hauled ten concrete stepping stones to the garden and constructed two paths through the four rows of tomatoes, I’ll do a third path later this week, but the two paths allowed me to plat all 16 tomato plants. I bought two large champion plants, and one large Early Girl II. The rest were 4-inch pots. Here is what got planted.

Boxcar Willie – Late (Countryside) Excellent Flavor. HYOxheart – Late (Countryside) Meaty, Few seedsCherokee Carbon – Mid (Countryside) Big pink fruit with Outstanding flavorFirst Prize – Mid (Countryside) Delicious 10 to 12 oz. fruit, even when conditions are not ideal. HY DR.
Mr. Stripey – Late (Countryside) Yellow with red-streaked flesh.Hillbilly – Late (Countryside) Heirloom, big pink fruit, juicy, exquisite  flavor. Beefsteak type.Cherokee Carbon – Mid (Countryside) Big pink fruit with Outstanding flavor  Early Girl II – Very Early (Countryside) Tasty fruit, first to ripen    
Mortgage Lifter – Mid (Countryside) Pink variety with meaty fruit and great taste.Brandywine Yellow – Mid (Countryside) Intense tomato flavor. HYCherokee Purple – Late (Countryside) Sweet and rich flavor HYChampion VFNT – Early (Countryside) Great for sandwiches. Best early type. DR  
Lemon Boy – Mid (Countryside) Tasty, sweet, juicy, low acid. HY    Gold Medal – Mid (Countryside) Flesh is streaked with red and flavorful.Black From Tula – Late (Countryside) Rich, salty, smoky flavor.Champion VFNT – Early (Countryside) Great for sandwiches. Best early type. DR  

I completed the two paths and planted all of the tomatoes just as it started to sprinkle. We spent about 15 minutes cooking dinner and as we sat down on the back porch, the floodgates of heaven were opened and it rained harder than I remember seeing in years. The new drainage system was handling the water well and the intersection of Grove and Princeton was totally under water. At least I didn’t need to water tonight.

I leveled the path so that it is ready to install the remaining pavers and I should be able to do that maybe tomorrow.

This planting is 3 1/2 weeks earlier than last year’s tomato planting. I hope it means bigger and earlier yields.

More Peppers, Eggplant, Zucchini, and Cucumbers

I have to film at St. Anne’s at 1:00 today which left me about an hour and a half to get some planting done. The soil is prepared, so I was hoping to get a lot done as there are severe Thunderstorms predicted from mid-afternoon into the evening.

In the bed with the Shishitos I planted six Sweet Cherry peppers from Goebbert’s along with three Gypsy peppers. In the next be I planted six Melrose peppers and six Lady Bell all from Goebbert’s.

The Fava beans in that bed were slow to germinate, but more Bluebells had popped up and were about 8 inches tall. I pulled one up that was where I wanted to plant my last row of Lady Bell peppers and discovered it was a Fava Bean plant. They look very similar to Bluebells. Lesson learned. The Fava beans next to the side of the bed are eight inches or so, while the ones inside the bed are just popping out. Strange.

Sweet Peppers

At the front of the westernmost old beds, I planted three hot banana plants and six jalapenos, again, all from Goebbert’s. I then planted four eggplants from Countryside, A purple Hansel, a white Gretel, a long purple Italian and a White Star. I fenced them immediately based on past experience with the local little woodland creatures. I’ll fill out that bed with 15 Roma tomatoes later in the week. The eggplant is a couple of weeks earlier than last year.

In the easternmost bed I set two hills of three plants of Zucchini, I think from Home Depot, and planted some Cocozelle seeds from Terroir Seeds in the third hill. This filled up half of that bed, which leaves me with the other half for any odds and ends. The planting is almost a month earlier than last year.

Cucumber patch.

In the cucumber bed I planted three Summer Dance plants from Countryside on the eastern trellis. I skipped the next trellis and will plant there later, and then Planted True Lemon Cucumber seeds from Terroir on the two western trellises. Then I planted Cucamelon seeds from Terroir below the wood trellis. That rounds out the cucumber bed and the planting is almost a month earlier than last year.

I didn’t get to the tomato bed, so that will have to be done next week.

First Peppers In

So, the first of the peppers are going in about two weeks earlier than last year. Checking online, Countryside and Goebbert’s weren’t growing Shishitos, so I was stuck trying to find them at home depot. Izabella found eight plants for me in the city, and I found the last four at the Home Depot in Crystal Lake. I picked those up from Jared yesterday and gave him the two Carolina Reapers I got for him at Countryside. On the way back from the city, I stopped at Goebbert’s to pick up the rest of my peppers and found that they had both Shishitos and Carolina Reapers, even though they didn’t have them listed on the website! Oh, well!?!

So, I planted the 12 Shishitos this afternoon in the easternmost of the three new beds. I also planted three Bounty heirloom sweet banana peppers from Countryside. I planted some of the container plants, also, but I’ll lump all of those together in another post since there are quite a few this year.

First Veggies

First Greens

I picked enough spinach and lettuce last night to make a dinner salad or Natalie and I. I also picked some green onions to spice it up a bit. I have cherry tomatoes to plant but ran out of time and rain is coming for the next couple of days. I’m a few days behind in planting, but the weather should clear up by Tuesday and they are predicting sunny and warm into the weekend. Unfortunately, there are three inches of rain forecast for this afternoon. That’s after 4 inches of rain last Thursday.

The fava beans haven’t come up. Possibly the frost did them in. I haven’t had any luck finding Shishito peppers yet. Jared and Izabella have been checking at Home Depot, also, but nothing. Bonnie Plants also sells to Jewel and Walmart, so I guess I’ll check there, too. Today might be a good day to do that with the rain — it will minimize my exposure to Covid-19.

Beds Prepared

I had RT, my landscaper, finish rototilling my raised beds and the heirloom tomato bed yesterday. I prepared the cucumber bed by hand and finished raking the raised beds. Rain is coming in over the next few days along with higher temperatures, so I am hoping I can get some planting done between raindrops.

Frost and Freeze

I covered the herb garden since we are supposed to dip down to 27 degrees.

We had a frost and freeze last night. I brought all of the potted flowers in and covered the herbs and vegetables. The temperature dipped to 27° last night. Everything survived.

Herbs Planted

Here’s a picture of the herb garden a couple of weeks after this post.

I cleaned up the herb garden around the deck today and planted parsley, rosemary and tarragon. I got rid of a clump of garlic chives in the chive bed and moved a new clump of regular chives into it’s place. Last year’s sage plants are leafing out so I trimmed out the dead branches. The chocolate mint is coming up, so I need to find someplace to put the plants that I bought. Maybe in a pot in the herb garden. The oregano is coming up also, but I’m not sure of its flavor. Some crept in last year that had almost no flavor.