The garden committee was texting back and forth about the very issue of the last post of what to do with the ever growing plants and the limited headroom in the car for a lot of tall plants as I wrote the last post. Turns out, we had 2 inches of room left. The committee decided to make a quasi-emergency run up to the garden to get the largest plants up there. I am happy to report that not only did they survive the trip well, but that they also survived the week fine. They were stashed in an area protected from wind and potential frost, and because they were hooked up to temporary irrigation, they faired perfectly fine, and were even larger a week later.
Because of the limited room, we only transported the 6 or so tallest tomatillos and tomatoes. That left another 30 or so plants getting too large to transport the following week, aka, last weekend. So, most of the rest of the tomatoes and tomatillos were whisked up to the garden and promptly planted. Some of those plants were even larger than the ones the week before, but, with some gentle bending of the tops, seemed to survive mostly unscathed. Last weekend was by far the earliest we have planted the frost tender plants in the garden. It is a good six weeks earlier than last year; but, last year was a ridiculous weather year.
Because my backyard functions as a greenhouse every spring until the plants are moved up to the garden, they had been enduring the Phoenix sun for a couple of months, so they were well used to intense and constant sunshine. That conditioning combined with the healthiest root system of any of my seedings so far, resulted in minimal transplant shock. All the plants were upright and perky later in the afternoon. This is always a relief and never really happened last year. The further good news is that a number of the cherry and even beefsteak tomatoes have little tomatoes on them. Assuming nothing untoward happens, we should have an early harvest this year.
That leaves only what is still at my house. I have the various sweet and hot peppers, but they live in pots now and generally don’t get too large until September. They can also endure the heat a bit better than tomatoes, at least for a couple of weeks, so I have time to move them up. I also still have the eggplants, which I have already started harvesting from. While they will be planted when they make it up to the garden, they stay small enough to fit in the car and don’t seem to mind warmer weather. I also have a few tomatoes left, but they grew slow so they will fit also. I just don’t know where they will find a home in the garden as most locations are already spoken for. Maybe some will have to double up.
The last plants I start every year are the cucumbers and squash. I am happy that they are doing very well. They were moved outside this morning so I can keep an eye on them as they acclimate to more the intense light of being outside.
Overall, I am very happy with how things are starting. This narrows down potential concerns to a failure of the irrigation and/or predation by the ever present deer. Hopefully they will move into the forest soon and leave the garden alone. If not, we will have to monitor the fencing to make sure it is up and strong.
Here’s to hoping all of your gardens produce well.