Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gardening 2012 - Planting Part 1

It's planting time! It may seem early but in fact night time temperatures have been in the mid-40's for a few weeks and the forecast has lows of around 50 for the rest of the month.



San Marzano Tomatoes, Parsley, Thyme & Basil
This year we're trying red plastic sheets as "mulch" for the tomatoes. The theory (supported by studies at Montana State University and Penn State) is that the red plastic reflects the wavelengths of light that react with phytochrome and encourage more rapid growth. The stuff comes in big rolls and also 3x3 sheets - the exact right size for our little raised beds. It has hundreds of tiny holes to allow water to penetrate to the soil. (In theory anyway - that little puddle in the right foreground doesn't seem to want to cooperate.)

After leveling the soil and pinning the plastic down with landscape fabric pins, we marked and cut three "X" shaped openings where we want the tomato plants. Then we pulled back the flaps, dug planting holes, mixed in a handful of ground eggshells and popped in the tomato plants. Because San Marzano tomatoes are indeterminate, we're using towers rather than the more common cages. There's another almost identical planting in the new "upper" bed with the Cima di Rapa for a total of six San Marzano plants.


Eggplant, Parsley, Thyme & Basil
It's still just a little early for eggplant, but I popped one into a container so I can bring it in if  night temperatures threaten to drop below 50 F. There are parsley, thyme and basil planted around the outside edge of the pot.

Coming soon: Peppers, Zucchini, and the rest of the Eggplant

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