Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tomato Dreaming

Those are my tomato plants there, in the cardboard tubes, and I'm dreaming of tomatoes. Lettuce and tomato sandwiches on whole wheat toast with mayo. Sliced tomatoes with fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. Chili mac made with fresh tomatoes and Huron County beans. Salad, salsa, marinara -- the list continues.

On Tuesday morning Ed tilled the lake garden for me. I got busy and planted green and yellow beans and two kinds of lettuce, Mesclun mix and some sort of romaine, under the anti-deer tepee assembly that you see in the background.

I use stubs of chives plants as row markers. One of those is visible in the foreground to the right. The rectangle of stones is where I planted an entire package of basil seed -- sort of a raised, warmed-by-stone bed. There are radishes and beets in the first row.

Ed suggested that I write down everything as I planted and I thought that was a good idea. I remembered that I bought one of these "write in the rain" spiral notebooks about five years ago.

I resurrected that notebook and sketched the garden layout. I kept turning the notebook so north would be north, so some of the writing ended up upside down but it made sense to me and to the diagram.

Then, and only then, did I venture up to Dorothy's Flowers on Schock Road south of Harbor Beach to purchase tomato plants. Twenty dollars and seven plants later I was piercing holes in the black plastic and tucking plants into the ground. It was windy, though, and I knew the plants needed protection.

So I devised a way of curling cardboard into a sort of protective anti-wind column that I wound around each tomato cage and taped in place with packing tape.

From a distance the garden looks like a small graveyard. Those tomato plants are pretty glad for a chance to concentrate on growing roots instead of drying out in the winds.

Here's a list of the tomatoes that I planted:
  • 1 -- Yellow pear
  • 2 -- Red grape
  • 2 -- Box Car Willie (heirloom)
  • 1 -- Pineapple (heirloom)
  • 1 -- Sweet 100
With all the travel in May, I didn't attempt to raise tomato plants from seed, so I was very pleased to find this kind of variety of plants close by. This garden is largely in sand so it will need frequent watering. Ed plowed up grass two years ago to make this plot so I will be battling weeds and quack grass all summer. I'm going to put squash and sunflowers on the south end and maybe add some rows for some errant perennials that need a place to spend the summer.

Anyway, the garden is in and I'm dreaming of tomatoes.

Copyright 2012
Wanda Hayes Eichler

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