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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tomatosaurus Rex Extension Office

I decided to plant a few things while I was at transplanting my the zucchini I started in cups and three of the four tomato clippings Julie gave me.

The fourth cutting is two pitiful leaves in the cup, I don't think that one's going to grow up and go to college, but the other three look about like the others did when I transplanted them on May 9. So figuring I'm getting the first sign of ripening fruit two months later, by mid-September maybe I'll have some Berkeley Tie Dyes and Japanese Black Trifeles.

The soil was far too wet for tilling, and I'd already ridden 21 miles this afternoon, and I had to supervise Mo, so I probably couldn't have tilled anyway, so I did the newspaper trick.

I hope I did it right, Worley told me about it back when I got my plants and I probably forgot an important detail. But what I did was mow the grass where I decided to put the extension office (which will be framed by another 8x4 raised bed, I'm sure, by next season; in fact, I might do three or four more beds to accommodate my dreams of adding watermelon, cucumbers, corn and whatnot to the monster). Then I laid down a layer of newspaper, and dumped 200 lbs of high test compost from Suburban Lawn & Garden on it.

This stuff is much more like what I wanted when I got all that cotton burr compost for the original three beds. It's dirt, but so rich and black that when I stuck my hand in it I grew a sixth finger.

I had a couple of old six foot 2x2 stakes, so I drove them in for the two tomatoes going into the Extension Office. The other tomato I added in where my Aussie got assassinated by, I think, a cutworm who pulled an Oceans Eleven on the cardboard collar I put around my plants.

I also planted some garlic, snow peas, cilantro, sage and mint. The mint was another gift from Julie, and while it didn't spring roots sitting in water, I drove a dowel into the ground, peeled off a few lower leaves, and put the plants in the holes and watered them in. Seems dicey to me, but what I hear, mint is like the government: the trick is not getting it to grow, it's how to make it stop.

The peas and garlic are a bit off season as far as planting. I'm told the garlic should go in the fall, the pea package said March/April or 'late July.'

But, I reasoned, if it's sensitive to heat, what's so much worse about July than August? The weather is chaotic and unpredictable in this part of the country, and what the hell? If I don't have peas, I won't have any fewer than I have now. If they grow, I get tasty pods to throw in salads. Ditto the garlic, what did one bulb cost me? And that could potentially be a dozen plants (I busted it up and put the cloves in a row and covered them up).

I didn't put collars around the zucchini, I guess we'll see how insane that decision was. I got the sense from Worley's instructive comment on getting them in the ground immediately and carefully that starting them in cups wasn't my best move. Again, I wasn't counting on zucchini this year, so no heartburn, if they work it's a bonus.

I had Mo come out and 'help' me. By help, I mean she stayed in my sight and didn't hurt anything. She likes being outside, though perhaps not as much as she likes wearing out When You Wish Upon a Star on YouTube. When I asked if the tomatoes where exciting, she said yes, but when I asked if she'd ever eat one, she said, 'No-no.'

She also answered yes to such questions as 'Is dirt awesome?' and 'Do you want to go back inside and wear out When You Wish Upon a Star on YouTube?

And yes, some of my tomato plants are taller than Mo. A couple are taller than me. I did some tying, and I'm having to reach up like a short date on the Limony, Paul Robeson and Beam's Yellow Pear.

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