Settling In

There comes a time in every seedlings life that it must move out on its own and into the great big world. Like kids, you know it is time when they can’t help but rebel at their current surroundings. For the tomato seedlings that time came last weekend

The tomatoes were getting too big for the pots I had them in. Leaves were drying out even though they had lots of water. And soon they would just be too big to fit in the car to move up to the garden. Since we are projected to be 100+/- degrees this week in Phoenix, we made a spontaneous trip last Saturday and planted the tomatoes.

When we arrived up by the garden the air was alive with the bzzz of bees and the whirl of hummingbirds. After an afternoon of planting we were sitting out in the courtyard and saw at least four different looking, and different sounding, hummingbirds. I think I saw more birds come to that feeder that one afternoon than all of last summer. Hopefully they know where it is now and will continue to visit.

Over the past couple of years we have worked a fair amount of compost and manure into the garden. Because of all that it was easy digging the trench to add a little more composted manure, tomato fertilizer, and epsom salt and work that into the soil. I then ran a drip irrigation line below where the roots will be, and another towards the top of the roots, and planted away. The only thing that made it harder than years past was the grafted tomatoes cannot be planted deep – the graft line has to stay above ground.

The other change with planting tomatoes this year was that the Avamatoes were planted in the ground instead of containers. We had a few rogue Avamatoes pop up in the garden last year and those did much better than those in the pots. We also decided to cage the little Avamatoes now before they sprawl all over and staking gets almost impossible.

I also planted some red storage onions I started at home months ago. I can now see if I ordered the right seeds for our latitude. Different onions do better in different lengths of daylight. The garden is about on the edge of the zone for the seeds I ordered.

Some of the remaining herbs were moved up also. We planted the sage I started from seed, the tarragon from the store, and thyme from cuttings. I still have very small basil and cilantro to move up to the garden but that is a few weeks away.

This coming weekend it will be time to move the tomatillos and various peppers up to the garden. I anticipate having a few tomatillo plants to trade since I have more than the allotted area will fit. I will be able to pick our first pimento pepper this week before the move. I should also have enough serrano peppers soon to make a hot sauce. The original recipe calls for using just habanero peppers but I figure I can make a milder version with serrano peppers. The ghost pepper plant keeps getting bigger and producing lots of blossoms. That might move up to the garden also, but stay in a pot, to see if the temperatures are right to set fruit. Jake has it all planned out what we can do with the peppers. Of course that is mostly limited to me eating a few and him watching me squirm, so we might need a few different ideas.

The other noteworthy event was that the tea plants arrived healthy and in good shape in the mail over the weekend. They will be moved up this weekend also. We will see how fast they grow to see if we can harvest enough leaves to make our own tea this summer.

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