For the past two weeks, I've been in Albuquerque on business (hence the brief posts, which I wrote months ago but didn't get around to publishing). Later this week I'll write about the southwestern cuisine I sampled as well as my fun visit to the Gruet Winery, maker of fine sparkling wine.
While I was gone, my tomato plants arrived. The Roommate was kind enough to keep them green and alive for me, and I spent the better part of Saturday getting them planted. First, I grabbed a shovel and dug a trench 12 feet long by 1.5 feet wide by one foot deep, which comes out to eighteen cubic feet of dirt removed.
I filled the trench with a combination of compost, manure, bedding soil, and some of the dirt I had previously removed. I mixed everything as best I could, surrounded the trench with bricks, and measured off the planting spots. I planted them deep--all the way to the first set of leaves (this helps get them started faster, as the stem will quickly sprout roots and help draw more water). Finally, a few stakes and some twine, and I had a makeshift trellis.
In the photo, you can see the completed garden right off the porch, along with one stake that broke as I was driving it in. From lower left to upper right, the tomatoes are as follows: Big Rainbow, Little Mama, Supersteak, Black Krim, Golden Mama, Brandywine, Napa Grape, and the gigantic Porterhouse Beefsteak, which can get up to four pounds per tomato. I didn't grow any of these types last year (though I did have a Brandywine hybrid). I'll have to wait until the middle of July before I have any tomatoes, but I'm really looking forward to tasting these beautiful and unusual varieties.
Additionally, there's the tomato patch I planted last year, up beside the house. I pulled out all the roots and churned up the soil at the end of the season, and have used the patch as a compost pile all fall and winter. Various vegetables have sprouted since then, and I'm now happy to report that a few of the tomato seeds from fallen fruit managed to survive the winter and have sprouted into foot-tall plants. Also I have fingerling potatoes growing, as well as some other things that I'm pretty sure aren't weeds. I will find out later what they are and look forward to the surprise.