Today was another productive day in the garden. It was very sunny. I managed to get 6 hours of work done, including the following tasks:
· I sprayed the plants on my heat pad with water (I do this twice daily as it gets very dry during the day in this kind of weather)
· I planted more cucumbers around the obelisks to replace the ones I planted a few days ago that didn’t survive. The varieties I popped in today were Beth Alpha from Franchi and Apple from Yates. I discovered Beth Alpha last year. It’s a beautiful long green cucumber with extremely tender skin that you can eat, a bit like a telegraph cucumber. The Apple variety from Yates is an old favourite that we grow year after year. The great thing about Apple cucumbers is that you can’t buy them at the supermarket, making them a useful thing to have in the garden
· I continued to plant tomatoes in the patch that contains tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. In the photo, you can see how this part of the garden is shaping up. Because I had cleared the dying calendula yesterday, I could get straight onto the job of putting in more plants. It can be a bit tedious but sometimes it’s good to prepare for the following day in advance. That way, you can use time more productively. Before I could get stuck in, I set up the work station for planting tomatoes that I described in my post over the weekend, which contains everything I need for the task. I followed Simone’s advice and removed a tomato plant put in awhile ago which looked diseased and replaced it with a new plant. The varieties I planted today were Moneymaker, Potentate, Beefsteak, Grosse Lisse and Roma. All of these plants were purchased as seedlings from Kings Plant Barn during their sale in August. I constantly potted and re-potted them in September and October, so they had gotten quite big by now and were ready to go out. I also inspected my tomato seedlings grown from seeds kindly given to me from Egmont. By far the strongest growers were “Big Beef” and “Dr Walters Special”. I had a tray each containing potted plants of these two varieties. I also have a few each of “Heirloom Marriage Big Brandy” and “Heirloom Marriage Genuwine”, as well as some “Heirloom Red Pear” tomatoes. I planted one each of these varieties today (except for Red Pear, as the plants are still quite small and I want them to grow a bit more first) and will continue to plant more tomorrow. I also need to spend a bit of time sorting out my exotic varieties (more on this later!) and making sure I plant at least one of each. A little tip – for strong healthy plants, try to plant either early in the morning or in the evening, avoiding the hottest part of the day.
· While sifting through my tomato seedlings I found another “Tumbling Tom Red” from Egmont, which I planted into another hanging basket. I was very pleased about this. Now we have two tomato plants in hanging baskets. Last year, we had six and they cropped so prolifically that even if we didn’t have other tomato plants in the garden, we still would have had more than enough for our needs
· I planted more butternuts into the area which I have dedicated to them, making holes in the black plastic as I went. The varieties I planted were Chieftain (Kings), Big Chief (Kings), Babynut (Kings) and the Yates butternut. Of the ones I planted a fortnight ago, one died so I put a new plant in its place. Some of the others had dead leaves which mum cut back for me just a few days ago, but they seem to have come back to life as there’s new growth on them. I left six seedlings in my nursery as replacements incase I lose more plants along the way. They are smaller plants anyway and need to grow a bit more before they can be planted outside
· Hardening off melons and eggplants – by the end of the day, I decided to leave the biggest plants outside overnight as the next step in their life. If they survive, I will be able to start planting them outside soon. Perhaps this will be a task for next week.
What did everyone else get up to today? Hope your gardens are progressing nicely.