Sunday, May 12, 2013

Weather Delay

Today, when viewed from inside, was a beautiful day. Sunny skies, everything bright and green outside. But once you stepped outside, you realized it was much too cool and too windy to be comfortable. Our high was only in the fifties, and currently there is a frost advisory for tonight's clear and cold weather. Despite the cool weather, there was work required for the garden that had to be done today. Many of my tomatillos and tomatoes, planted in soil blocks over the past eight weeks, have grown too large and were starting to show signs of stress: yellowing leaves, roots growing above the soil line. These plants had to be transplanted to larger containers immediately, or they might not make it through the week.

At this time the past over two years, I had been very busy planting in the garden. But this year, the garden isn't even  tilled... And I don't think it will be within the next two weeks. It is still too wet to work. The tractor would simply compact the soil and make it impossible for any plants to grow through. And this is why today's work was so imperative: without transplanting, these plants wouldn't last two more weeks in the seed room. 

So this afternoon, I put all my tomatillos into larger pots. Last year we had 4 tomatillo plants. Today, I transplanted 30 plants, evenly divided between purple and green fruit. I also transplanted about thirty pepper plants that seemed to be struggling in the little plastic cells they were started in. I can't blame them, and hope they grow in their new, roomier homes. I also transplanted about 70 tomato plants. Almost all of the plants I transplanted seemed healthy, and in better shape than plants I grew from seed and successfully planted in the garden the last two years. So, although I am sore, and honestly a little overwhelmed, I feel like we are on track. Once the garden is tilled and I am able to put plants in the ground, things should go like gangbusters! 

I am now more than out of room in the seed room. Not only is all the space beneath the fluorescent  lights taken, but the floor around the set up is now completely packed with plants. And there are more plants in need of transplanting... I may have to start hardening off plants this week, even before the garden is remotely ready for planting. 

It seems that every year the weather, or the plants, provide a new learning experience. Who knew we would get so much rain in April and May that the ground is unworkable. Who knew that I finally got my timing right this year. I planted seeds in enough time for the plants to be viable at the last average frost date (although even that may be off...if it frosts tonight, it would be three days after our general last frost date). And though my tomatillos, peppers, cabbage, and tomatoes are doing great, the eggplants are not. I started about 50 eggplant seeds 12 weeks ago. Right now I have about a dozen plants growing, but they are not very large... And today, I moved almost 40 soil blocks with eggplant seeds that didn't germinate into my leftover soil bucket. I gave up on all those plants, because even now, if they were to germinate this week, they would still be too small to be viable int he garden in June. It was sad, and I realize that I may have to buy eggplant plants if I want eggplant this year. It just goes to show you never really know what will happen with your seeds...

Today's picture are my newly-transplanted tomatillo plants waiting watering, and then one group of tomato plants right after being transplanted. I am growing two varieties of tomatillo and today I transplanted five kinds of tomatoes (Taxi - yellow, Cherry Blend, Principe Borghese, Wapsipnicon Peach, and Puple Calabash). 

I will continue to hope for the garden to dry out enough for it to be tilled. In the meantime, you will find me in the seed room, tending to summer even as this wet spring continues on.

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