Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Latest Garden Report - Transplanting Tomato Seedlings

I knew Mr. Ferdzy couldn't bring himself to compost all the extra tomato seedlings that came up and that we would end up with massive quantities of seedlings clamouring for light and water. We went out and bought a shop light and some more full-spectrum fluorescent lights, and he made this makeshift set-up for them. There's also a bunch of seeds that were stuck in the fridge over the winter down there as well. Specifically, we put sour cherry, damson plum, peach and apricot pits and quince seeds in damp soil and stuck them in the fridge last summer. I opened up the cherries last week and discovered that they had all germinated and were beating on the lid to get out! We potted up 6 of them, and planted the other pits and seeds, minus the peaches and apricots which seemed to have vanished utterly. I think I cracked the pits before putting them in the fridge and so will make a note: don't do that next time. On the other hand, the quinces are sprouting after 2 days out of the fridge. I think there's only about 48 of them, lol. I'll have to thin them when Mr. Ferdzy isn't looking.

Here are some of the seedlings on the official seed-starting stand. The onions and leeks are doing fine and most of the peppers and eggplants and pretty much all of the tomatoes have come up and are doing well. This photo is actually out of date as shortly after I took it we potted up a bunch of these tomato seedlings, and started a new flat of brassica seeds.

In addition to all the seed-starting going on inside there are starting to be signs of life outside too. We were amazed to see that the last of the lettuce survived the winter in the cold frame. Unfortunately, it will just get pulled and composted as it has turned tough and bitter. But still, we're impressed.

The spinach we planted in the hopes of overwintering did indeed overwinter very nicely. We're planning to eat it for Easter, or rather the week after when Mr. Ferdzy's family comes up to celebrate it with us.

Mr. Ferdzy's other big project so far this spring was to build a hoop house over one of the vegetable beds. He used the ABS pipe sections we've put in the corners of the beds to support hoops made by bending 10 foot pieces of 1/2" electrical conduit. He ran rope, looped around each piece of conduit, from one long end to the other, and staked it into the ground to hold the whole thing tight. Then he covered it with 6 mil plastic, and weighted it down with various heavy objects to prevent it blowing away. We did this in the hopes of keeping the cauliflower and broccoli plants which survived the winter under the snow. Too bad; the cauliflower took one look around and promptly croaked and I don't expect the broccoli to amount to much. Still, I think we'll use the hoop house to start early spinach and lettuce.

My own project this week was much more modest. I took the Christmas tree that had been tossed out into the 4 feet of snow on our back deck early in January, and cut off all the smaller branches and green bits, and laid them on top of our blueberry bed to mulch them. They like acidic soil, so I hope it will help.

That's about it in the garden for the moment. Most things have too much sense to be up yet, except for a bunch of little crocuses in the front lawn, and some bright red rhubarb buds. Spring is coming though! Soon we'll be out there doing the bed-digging thing again.


Kevin Kossowan said...

I'm envious of the stage you're at with the seedlings. I'm still waiting for some of my soil to defrost!

Ferdzy said...

Well we're still waiting for the soil to defrost too... for about the third time though! It's been up and down like a yo-yo around here this spring. And we do start them too soon, no question. They'll be pretty leggy by the time they actually make it outside.

Marnie said...

I see I have some dandelions up in my garden. That'll be about the extent of my success, I daresay.

Dallas said...

Hmmmm....why have I not come across your blog before?

Check out my blog at www.southwesternontariofoodie.blogspot.com

I just posted about Picards peanuts and when I google Ontario peanuts I came across your blog. Interesting!

I will definitely follow!

Ferdzy said...

Thanks for the link, Dallas. It's always exciting to see someone with another local blog.

Wendy said...

It looks good so far. What will you use for pest control this year? I'm looking for a way to keep aphids off my tomato plants. So far, I found Safer Brand's Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer online. Have you heard of it? I like how I can spray it directly on them, right up to the day of harvest.

Ferdzy said...

Wendy, so far - *knocks wood, crosses fingers* - we haven't had enough trouble with pests to think about anything other than hand-picking and drowning them; that was a small outbreak of asparagus beetles last year. We haven't had any trouble with aphids. I've used Safers insecticidal soap in the past, but I'm probably just as likely to look up some old "home remedies" if it looks like we need something. For aphids, I hear if the plant is sturdy a good hard spray of water will dislodge most of them.

So far our biggest pests - in all senses - have been the deer.