Great weather but…

It’s beautiful outside today! It’s 70 degrees with sunshine and a light breeze — almost couldn’t be better weather. It was so nice, but I decided not to plant my tomatoes after all. First off, the garden looked like this less than 48 hours ago:

It rained almost all day long on Wednesday

Gross, right? Even today every foot step in the garden is still squishy. I decided not to plant when I knew the plants would be waterlogged, plus I saw this on some of my seedlings yesterday:

It definitely looks like leaf spot, as contrasted with this:

Cold damage, tomato leaf

… which is cold damage.

I am actually feeling vindicated. There’s a master gardner who is always reminding people that soil harbors disease. She’s a super nice person, but I always feel judged about it — which is silly, but I do. I work super hard to take care of my plants. I just don’t have anywhere else to plant, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve let the garden sit for a couple of years to try and get rid of any spores in the soil, but my plants got the leaf spot anyway. But this means that the spores are in the air — it’s not a failure on my part. These tomatoes are in clean medium, it’s on different plants so it probably didn’t come from seed, and there’s no soil on my porch or in my foyer for it to splash up from. I’m actually relieved.

But I sprayed the plants with fungicide today to let them start to heal, and they sat in the sunshine all day, which may help. I would pull off the leaves, but these plants are just so very tiny I hate to do it. Plus, the fertilizers I ordered will not be in until Thursday, so I’ll wait a week and see what happens with the leaf spot.

The Italian Grape tomato is still one of my smallest plants, but it has definite real leaves now. I don’t know if it will ever bear fruit, but I’m trying to give it a fighting chance.

My tomatoes are already starting to sucker, so I’m excited to see what happens with them. I think they’ll be very large plants.

Friend Zoned

I talked with friends for literally four hours straight yesterday, as Sheana called and talked for almost 4 hours (I drove to Lorinda’s and dropped off asparagus), then the Kilgores stopped by to say goodby before they go to Alaska, and while they were driving away, Hannah showed up to get tomatoes and to have a visit, and while she was leaving, Nichole showed up to get her tomatoes. I have her some asparagus, too, and she stopped at the store and grabbed paper towels for us because my aunt ran out. It was fun, but a little exhausting. Emily came by Thursday and got tomatoes for her and Delores. After seeing basically no one except Cara in person and Kim and Carol Ann by FaceTime and phone calls with Angel and Sheana, well, it was a weird time.

Today Kelly came by with her dog, Maggie, and Christi came by with her husband and they all got tomato plants. It’s kind of weird to talk to everyone at a distance, but it’s getting easier.

Weed prevention

I spent most of the morning down a rabbit hole of LDS stuff. It started out with Paul H. Dunn and ended with George P. Lee, who I am both revolted by and sorrowful about. But I did go out and cover the garden bed with weed cover. I thought I had a whole roll of garden cover left, but I couldn’t find it. All I had was a piece about 5 feet long. I ended up using what was left of a piece of plastic I must have perforated for the garden some years back and some landscaping fabric, which is NOT sunproof. Weeds will still be able to grow up under it, so I may need to cover it again later in the season. The plastic should be okay now that I am using drip irrigation:

Weeds, be gone!

I cut holes for the tomatillo seedlings I hope I’ll see soon, and left space at the edge where the beans and melon are planted.

Tomato Cages

I sorted out the tomato cages and dropped in a few to see how the spacing would work for plants. I quickly discovered that I need to leave space to enter the middle of the bale garden, so that may take away one plant from the main bed. I also realized I have only three short cone cages for the tomatillos, so I used up the remainder of the two foot fencing from the asparagus to make up two small round cages that will suffice.

Jared went to Lowe’s for a different project, so I had him look at tomato cages. The ones I want are $10 each, which is kind of a lot to spend, since I’d have liked to get ten of them. So, we decided to spend $130 and get concrete mesh to make cages. I’ll be a lot happier with all matching cages (yes, I am that person) and these will be 5 feet tall and should never wear out. I should be able to make 30 of them. Storing them is kind of a beast, but we will deal with it.

I filled up the last grow bag, and I used the remainder of the potting mix to fill one of the small planters and plant the roots from four green onion bulbs we got from the farmers market.

Fun experiment with spring onions

Leeks

I gave my leeks a haircut yesterday:

Tidy leeks

… because I read that doing so makes them grow stronger roots when they are seedlings. Kelly has leeks in her garden and says they are dead easy to grow and super hardy. She doesn’t bother with all that blanching business to get white stems. I think I will try to do some blanching, but I guess I won’t worry too much about it. I read that they can companion plant with asparagus, so that probably where I’ll stuff them in. I think I have 25 or so little leek seedlings.

Squash seed update

My zephyr squash and black beauty zucchini seeds from Pinetree Gardens finally came with this very nice note:

It took a full twenty days from when I placed my order to when the seeds shipped, and I actually had to go back and check my email to be sure I’d even actually placed this order. I do feel a lot less frustrated knowing it was a small business struggling to meet demand. Everyone is going crazy with gardens and baking bread this year — you can’t buy yeast or cherry tomato plants anywhere! It’s crazy!

Author: Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I keep up with three cars, two kids, one husband, and I live on 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where we look after an elderly relative. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs as I pursue a graduate degree. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.