Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring fever

Peach tree in bloom

It's spring! The peach trees are blossoming, daffodils and dandelions are nodding, and the bushes are starting to bud out. Early planting season was about a month ago, but now I'm starting to get that spring fever itch. Time for planting another round of lettuce and onions, cilantro and peas, arugula and radicchio. Time to get a little dirt under my fingernails and get the first blush of sunburn on my neck.

Seriously, the tomatoes are getting out of control. I'll never try to "get a jump on" the tomato season again by starting them so early (10 weeks out). I had to transplant them again because they are getting so big, they didn't fit under my growlight any more! I'm worried that they are getting a little spindly even in a South-facing window. This is my first year to grow from seed, so I don't expect to be perfect, but I hope that my mato babies do OK when I transplant them into the garden. In another week or so I'll start trying to harden them off by putting the pots outside for a few hours every day. I'm crossing my fingers for the countdown until April 15th.

Tomato trees
I found another way to plant tomatoes if I run out of room in my new lasagna garden. My parents and I went to the new Organic Gardening place on NW 36th and Penn, Organics OKC, on Saturday. They just happened to be having an open house, and I got a free sample of this cool thing called a SmartPot.
The manufacturers claim that the SmartPot is superior to other types of pots for container gardening because of the better drainage, reduced heat retention (a benefit in our climate), and better root aeration. I can't comment on that, although there are some linked studies on the SmartPot site, but I am willing to try it out with a tomato plant. My problem with tomatoes is that I am always running out of room for them. There are a limited number of garden sites that are both sunny and which were not used for tomatoes or peppers in the last two years. So I'll give it a go and let you know how it really performs.
How's your spring coming along?


Sylvia said...

I have a few smart pots, and really like some things about them- but! Because of the extra aeration, they need lots of extra watering, even in our Northern Ca climate...

Sena said...

Don't worry if your tomatos get spindly - when you next transplant just pinch off the lower leaves and bury the lower portion of the stem. Once buried it will root off and create a stronger root base and thicker stem. I did this last year and ended up with tomato plants higher than my head and so heavy with fruit that they needed multiple tie-offs, in MN no less!

Sharlene T. said...

Sena's right. Bury the stem and get really strong roots with heavy yields. I'm building two more lasagna gardens, this year, and my French Intensive container garden is already sprouting. I've had to stop sequential plantings because our spring is so short, and then we get really hot weather. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Sena beat me to it! Definitely just bury 3/4 of your tomato plan (minus leaves) when you transplant. It'll set roots all along the stem and be fine.