Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The smallest garden beginnings ever

We've done less garden prep this year than any other year, even the year we bought this house and had the whole yard torn up for 6 months! (Okay, so we had started plants but they pretty much all died since we didn't have a place to put them.)

This year we decided not to start seeds indoors, just direct seed outside. I haven't even looked into that yet, when we should do it and what I'm going to plant. In the meantime, I'm taking advantage of dear friends that planted too much and they're giving away starts.

I picked up three lovely healthy looking tomato plants on Friday afternoon: a Brandywine (red), a Moonglow (orange), and a black tomato the name of which I can't remember. Throwing caution to the wind, I planted them outdoors immediately.

I know we haven't hit our last frost date, but I have nowhere to put these indoors and we don't have grow lights (since we lent them out). I was a little worried in case it got too cold at night for them (or if we have hail or something) so I needed to figure out how to protect them.

I thought of building a little green house of sorts around them, until I realized our extra glass windows are stacked around the chicken coop to make sure they have a dry area. Scratch that plan. My brain started running, thinking about what I could use to build some sort of structure, what see-through materials I had, and I struck on this idea:

I took some of that decorative green border fence stuff (we have gobs of it), cut a smallish piece and formed it into a tiny fence to go around each tomato. Then I pulled a clear plastic bag over the top and secured it on top with clothes pins. Do-it-yerself!

I'm pretty proud of myself.

So now we have in our garden a total of three tomato plants. Let the 2011 gardening season begin!


Julie said...

I know I'm so behind too! In fact I'm working on getting caught up today! 80 degrees and sunny it's about time.

Jane said...

Very good use of materials and design. You get an A in homesteading today ;)

Aimee said...

Julie - I know, it's about time we get some warmth! I swear all the flowers bloomed today and everything has grown 6 inches since yesterday. Obviously the plants are making up for lost time too. =)

Jane - aw, you are so sweet. I get an A, wahoo!! =)

Dr. Momi said...

Love your idea!!

Iris said...

It ain't any better here in the Northwest, (or maybe that should be NorthWET), Aimee! Your mini-greenhouse for your tomatoes is great. That's exactly what we do to have any hope of ripe tomatoes before fall. We got this advice several years ago from a successful Northwest tomato-grower. She suggests keeping the cage wrapped for 4-6 weeks, but to leave the top open so the plants can breathe. She also recommends Alaska Fish Fertilizer every other day for the first two weeks only and watering deeply (if no rain, haha) no more than once a week, until the end of July. I don't know if these suggestions will work where you are, but we've had good success following them here.

Aimee said...

Thanks Dr. Momi!

Iris - thanks for passing that on. I remember hearing about the deep watering thing recently and I certainly think it works here as well. You want to encourage those roots to go deep!
Of course we do well with tomatoes here because they love heat and sun and we generally get plenty of that in the summer!