Returning to planting - the garden is nearly in

Tuesday was busy with a plant sale at The Flower Shuttle on Ridge Road at the Moravian Church (such nice people doing such important work) and lunch with a friend. That's fine, since my Monday planting marathon left me a bit sore and in need of a day off.

To finish the list of what I did plant on Monday - the following went into 5 gallon black plastic grow bags:  Stick, Rose Quartz Multiflora, two different Variegated plants (one from a gardening friend, and one I've had for some years), two different Honor Bright (one from Victory, one from the USDA collection), Surprise, Carrot-Like, Blue P20, Everglades, High Antho pink cherry given to me by a gardening friend while at the NWFGS, two from an odd green cherry sized tomato that volunteered behind my driveway (one regular leaf, one potato leaf), an orange cherry that volunteered near my side garden composter, a tomato I call Jenny that is very likely Kimberly (she found it mixed into a commercial sample of Lillian's Yellow Heirloom), Caitlin's Lucky Stripe, Large Lucky Red, three plants from two different dwarfs out of Ferris Wheel (one last year had regular leaf foliage and white fruit, the other potato leaf foliage and yellow/red bicolor fruit - both tasty).

The next grouping planted Monday are from my great tomato genealogy work - going back to check on how the following varieties are faring after growing them out so many different times - three different Little Lucky, five different Lucky Cross, three different Cherokee Purple, four different Cherokee Chocolate, two different Cherokee Green and three different Brandywine. In some cases I went back to selections very close to when they were sent to me or discovered - there will be a LOT of good eating out of these.

Finally, my Monday planting finished with some familiar names and new family heirlooms: Andrew Rahart Jumbo Red, Aker's West Virginia, Lillian's Yellow Heirloom, Dester, Opalka, Eva Purple Ball, Gallo Plum, Uncle Joe, Aunt Edna, Maris Family, Abraham Lincoln, Yusopov, Hege German Pink, Abraham Brown, Walt Swolka, Springston Heirloom, Czech (from a local friend), Boronia selection from a cross discovered last year (two plants), and Banksia Queen.

That takes me to today - and I decided to focus on peppers and eggplant. Planted in 5 gallon black plastic grow bags were peppers Chocolate Bell (my own from a hybrid - two different ones), Amethyst, Fire Opal, an unusually shaped pepper from my friend Bob M, Brazilian Orchid from a fruit given to me at the Mother Earth News FAIR in Seven Springs last year, Bulgarian Carrot, Gusto, Royal Purple, three plants from saved seeds of the Bianca hybrid, three Billy Goat (SSE asked me to work on this and save lots of seed of the most typical one), Datil, Lemon Drop, Peter, and eggplant Midnight Lightning (three different ones), Twilight Lightning (three different ones), Skinny Twilight, Green Ghost, Mardi Gras (three different ones), a purple and a white from Greece sent to me by a gardening friend, and the weird Rio Market, from a fruit collected on a visit to SSE in Iowa last year.

 Driveway at the end of work on Wednesday

Driveway at the end of work on Wednesday

All that remains to be planted (all?!) are last year's new F1 dwarfs I created (if I can fit them), F2 dwarf selections from the new hybrids (probably totaling up to 50 plants), and 18 more peppers, including those I am growing for my Canada garden writer friend Niki.

A few things: the plants are not in a final location or arrangement - I just wanted to get everything into larger containers before my Pennsylvania trip. Next week I will be putting them into rows of clusters of four grow bags, using a center pot of last year's planting mix to hold the stakes.

I also have a layer of mulch (grass clippings) in eat grow bag, and around each bale tomato. I strive to keep splashing medium off of lower foliage to slow the onset of early blight. Finally, though they are 5 gallon grow bags, I only fill them to half to two thirds, because the planting medium can get costly, and the idea is not to maximize yields so much as get ripe fruit for observations, photography, tasting and seed saving. It really is a research and development garden, and I just love doing it this way.

 mulched grow bag tomatoes

mulched grow bag tomatoes

Please check out the Upcoming Events page - there are some new things appearing, including a tomato dinner at Acme in Carrboro, tomato day at the Carrboro Farmers Market, and a Southern Season cooking school with Kevin, chef from Carrboro. What is not yet listed is a likely tomato dinner at The Bridge Club by Ashley Christensen - last year this event was spectacular, and I am so excited that it could be happening again.

 bale-grown Dwarf tomatoes adjusting quickly

bale-grown Dwarf tomatoes adjusting quickly