Sunday I thinned the spinach patch. I hated to rip out those lovely plants, but who knew nearly every seed would germinate? I was going to toss the thinnings into a salad, but decided to try transplanting them instead. The next day it looked as though all but six or seven were going to grow. Those that didn't survive were planted next to the peas in the dog kennel garden, where the birds are annihilating all the greens, not to mention nipping off the tops of the pea vines. I wouldn't dare try bird netting there, as the peas would be a tangled mess in the mesh.
Monday I made the final two SWCs from four buckets. I filled one and planted it with a Persey tomato that was looking rather sickly. The brassicas I moved into the north tomato garden looked fine, but the ones in the west garden looked as though they are being eaten by something, and I see dog footprints around them. One was so bad I just pulled it out. I really don't care if these leftover plants grow or not, as I think the small garden might be a bit crowded with all the tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and flowers.
Tuesday it was really cold and rainy, and the tomatoes that were still in their containers looked horrible. I brought all the plants inside, put the shelves back in the plant window and got them all on shelves, except for the two large tomatoes and the four big pepper plants. I gave them a couple days of rest before taking them back outside to the patio. The free tomato seeds arrived from Campbell's Soup, and I saw they are a virus resistant, determinate variety. Since the heirloom plants are looking so bad right now (with a few exceptions), I decided to go ahead and start a new batch. I planted 9 seeds in soil blocks and set them on a rack on the heat pad to germinate. I'm hoping they grow large enough in 3-4 weeks to go out in the garden. I picked 6 ounces of salad fixings for dinner, which included Red Romaine, Red Sails, Buttercrunch and Prizehead lettuces, with lots of baby spinach and a sweet onion. The Red Romaine and Prizehead are especially lovely lettuces, I want to be sure to grow them next year.
Wednesday I checked the seedlings on the heating pad and found the newer heat pad gets much warmer than the old one! The temperature in the tomato container was 100 degrees! I moved it off of the pad and set it on a heat vent, where it has since been maintaining a temperature of 80 degrees in the daytime. I planted three soil blocks of Petit Gris melons and three of Savor F1, both from Dan's Urban Vegetable Garden, and set these on a rack on the old heat pad. Then I planted three soil blocks each of Buttercrunch and Red Romaine lettuce, and set them in the plant window. I planted out the Brandywine that looked so sickly. I figure it will probably die one way or another, so I might as well see if planting it out perks it up. A hill of squash germinated. Unfortunately, I didn't note what kind of squash was planted where. I know the yellow crookneck is under the ladder, and I THINK the front hill is the butternut, and the one that is showing. It's either butternut or zucchini, but I'm almost sure it's the former.
Thursday I picked 2 ounces of radishes, then gave most of the garden a dose of higher nitrogen liquid fertilizer since the bush beans are still looking a bit pale. I filled in empty spots in the parsnip rows. It looks like the parsnips have been eaten by birds, as the rows were full last week. I planted a few icicle radishes in the bare spaces in the radish rows. The fourth (last) SWC was planted with a beautiful Russian Persimmon tomato. Then I transplanted 11 other tomatoes, 4 determinates in the east fence garden and 7 in indeterminate tomato bed. That leaves room for four more determinate tomato plants in the main gardens. Any surviving leftovers will probably get stuck out in the corner behind the compost pile.
Yesterday it was warm and sunny, a perfect day for working in the garden. I transplanted four Golden Calwonder and four Quadrato Rosso D'Asti peppers, then built drip system for the four SWCs and a pot of cucumbers. That was pretty simple, as I had brought my old drip tubing and emitters from Arizona, and all I had to do was purchase a fitting to attach it to the garden faucet. I didn't even change any of the connectors, as I know the sagging tubing won't even show once the plants get larger. All I have to do to water all the containers at once, is to turn on the faucet until the water runs out of all the overflow holes.
My younger son came over in the afternoon, so he helped me turn the compost pile. It had completely cooled down, after getting up to at least 130F last week. We also pounded in another fence post and moved the small wire fence to enclose the compost area so the dogs can't get to it. Of course, there is a small space between fencing and shed, as I have to trim back a bush to be able to make the span. And Annie has found the space. I had to barricade it temporarily, with a spading fork and a shovel, to keep her out of the garden.
I dug the planting hole for that large Tumbling Tom tomato. The last time I measured it, it was 52" high, and by yesterday it almost reached the ceiling when it was sitting on my dryer, so it must be planted outside soon. I raked the last of the leaves from the east side of the yard and mowed/bagged them, along with part of back lawn, for compost material.
I pulled one of my garlic plants for last night's dinner. I chopped it fine, then sauteed it lightly in some real butter. I sprinkled in a pinch of red pepper flakes, then tossed in a bunch of lightly steamed broccoli florets. I heated everything together, and it was delicious. Two of the grandchildren were here, and I had to fight them off for my share of that broccoli!
Today it was rainy, and I was rather glad, as my body felt like it had gone through a ringer after all I did yesterday. This afternoon the sun came out, so I transplanted 4 Jalapeno, 4 Quadrato Rosso, 2 Golden Calwonder and 2 Calwonder peppers into the east garden beds. I pulled two sweet green onion's for tonight's potato salad, and then I planted the giant AZ tomato plant into the garden. If she dies, she dies. And she's not looking good right now. Another hill of squash germinated today, and it is definitely the yellow crookneck.
Now...where am I going to plant the other big AZ tomato? I need a farm.