Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oh, yeah, that's better

It was a matter of mild frustration that I had not had time between travel and hospital to get my tomato plants started. I had only gotten as far as bringing a tub of seed starting mix onto the porch last Monday when I remembered that I still needed to plant the bare-root rose that had arrived in the mail while I was out of town. This week the seeds sat at the foot of my bed taunting me. The problem was that I needed some small pots, and a propagator of some kind. The Overprotective One (TOO), while willing to fetch whatever I needed from the barn or the tool shed, isn't too good at translating vague requirements, or at finding things even when their location is well described. TOO is also The Sensitive One, so you have to make do with whatever he brings back from the mission, or deal with hurt feelings for-friggin-ever. So, when TOO headed out to run some errands yesterday afternoon, I saw my chance.

Armed with a plastic grocery bag I set out on crutches, carefully down the 12 front steps, across the yard, first to the tool shed, then to the barn, avoiding the soggiest patches whenever possible. In the barn I hit paydirt--a stash of 4" pots and a 20" round plastic platter with a clear, domed lid, whose possibilities as a propagator I'd recognized several weeks ago, and had even drilled out several vent holes in the lid. Carried the 4" pots back to the house and rummaged around until I found a canvas tote bag big enough to hold the platter and lid and made another trip out to the barn. Stopped to visit the plants in the greenhouse--someone hasn't kept up with the watering there--grab a handful of arugula to munch on, then back to the porch, where I switched from crutches to rolling chair.

In no time at all I planted up eight varieties of tomatoes (5 seeds each), two kinds of peppers (jalapeno and salad mix), eggplant, and celery. I don't usually start peppers and eggplant from seed as they need a tremendous amount of coddling (and a greenhouse to live in all summer long) if I'm to get anything but leaves, but the seeds were freebies, so I thought I'd plant them and see how they were doing come late May when I would otherwise be buying plants.

So there they are, tucked inside the Costco Vegetable Tray Propagator, on top of a heating pad, where I can keep an eye on them from my bed/office.

The tomato varieties are mostly experiments, with some standbys. Super San Marzano did well for me in the greenhouse last year, and I've never found anything better for making sauces. The long season heirloom varieties I tried last year, thinking they'd thrive in the greenhouse, were duds. This year it's back to the short season tomatoes, such as Stupice, which ripens dependably even outdoors. The Totally Tomatoes catalogue touted the virtues of "Early Goliath" (58 days) and challenged me to compare it to Early Girl, which I have grown before, but never in my cold-summer garden. I ordered the bush version, which should make a nice patio plant. Anna Russian (65-70 days) intrigued me. I'll try it both outside and in the greenhouse. tempted me to try Legend, a new blight-tolerant determinate variety. Finally, I planted up some gift seeds from Thompson & Morgan: Sungella, which I am looking forward to because people around here rave about it, and another blight-tolerant variety, Ferline, this one an indeterminate, that is said to do well indoors and out.

He has to leave the house again today. I think it's time to start some more flower seeds.


Blogger Carol said...

Get well soon! You are a brave one to venture out on crutches, but the garden can't wait, can it?

By the way, what zone are you in that you can't grow peppers without a greenhouse?

21 March, 2007 17:49  
Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

That's some foot work you had done there! Love the propagator! I used plastic Costco cookie boxes. They were easy for me to set them somewhere warm as needed and them move to the window. THe heat pad is a great idea.

Oh be careful, but I love the secret barn excursions!

21 March, 2007 18:21  
Blogger InlandEmpireGirl said...

We tried seed starting in the greenhouse, but had lots of problems with the seedlings thriving, so we just start seeds in the ground. What zone are you? What flowers do you think come up best from seeds?

21 March, 2007 19:29  

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