This weekend was dedicated to the gardens.
It all started Friday night, when the forecast called for a chance of frost overnight. A few days earlier a surprise frost nipped a few of our tomato and pepper plants, so we didn’t want to take any chances. Thus began the great plant shuffle of 2013- all of the pepper plants and the tomato plants that hadn’t hardened off yet (they were in the half-hoop house) were brought inside. As you can see above, we had hundreds of plants inside, covering literally every available surface in our apartment. The plants we’d had outside hardening off were put in the hoop house. Then, about 12 hours later on Saturday morning we put them all back where they started.
Most of the rest of Saturday was spent at our Sunset Hills garden working on our tomato patch.
We’re using a similar method as last year, utilizing burlap in between the rows and all plants to keep weeds down and moisture levels high. It’s been a cool, rainy spring here in St. Louis so we only planted about 1/3 of our tomatoes for the year, the rest to be planted later. Most of Saturday was spent building trellises.
Last year we staked each tomato plant separately and tied them as they grew, which was a royal pain. The plants sprawled in all directions and we lost a lot of tomatoes that ended up growing on the ground. So this year we constructed individual 5′ tall wire mesh cages for each plant (about 50).
Though we didn’t plant all the tomatoes, we plotted out the rows and fertilized the spaces for each plant. We interplanted some borage, basil, marigold, and calendula seeds today and finished off with straw on top.
After a full day’s work at Sunset Hills we shot over to Iowa Avenue while we still had daylight.
Our bamboo teepee trellis stands 8′ tall and will support our favorite flat Italian pole beans. We’re going to tie string horizontally around the bamboo but leave an opening in front so we can walk into the middle to harvest the beans.
After several brainstorming sessions, we figured that purchasing nylon netting was the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to trellis our new bean section this year. We planted a row of mystery beans (unidentified, collected last year), black beans, bolita beans, and burgundy bush beans, with carrots and salad greens along each row. The paths in between were lined with burlap and straw to keep the weeds down (the evil grass was already starting to regrow- UGH!).
On the other side of the beans we planted popcorn in rows. We haven’t grown corn before, we’re hoping we planted them closely enough to allow for good pollination. We plan to interplant seeds from a wild gourd that Eric found along the Meramec River.
We have a lot to do still, but the forecast predicts lows in the 30s again this week, so we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ll probably go and wrap plastic around the bottoms of the tomato cages in Sunset Hills to help protect the plants over the cold nights. As soon as the weather breaks, we’ll be planting another big wave of tomatoes, all our peppers, and the rest of our veggies. Can’t wait!