There's no day like tomato planting day!

Wow, am I sore. Lugging 50 lb bags of composted cow manure, filling my most wonderful new Gardeners Supply Company garden cart with Super Sod compost (this is a first for me - I was generously donated a Big Yellow Bag full last fall and seemed like really nice planting material) and then mixing with the manure, soreness is a given (I am certainly over my winter time out-of-shape condition!). But is a really "good sore" - evidence of lots of progress.

Today was the end of straw bale preparation, meaning that they were ready to host Dwarf tomato plants. Everything was therefore in place - bales, planting mix, and 5 gallon black plastic grow bags from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply

This morning, I woke up with the garden consisting of last fall-planted garlic in straw bales and pots of greens and beets in the back yard. As I finish this brief blog, added to this and ready to grow are 36 Dwarf tomatoes in straw bales and 72 tomatoes in the grow bags - 108 plants. That represents roughly the half way point....so there is much to be done!

 One view of today's progress

One view of today's progress

No planting is on tap for tomorrow - I will be bringing a selection of plants available for sale for The Flower Shuttle members, then lunch with my wife and a friend, ending the day as a guest on a radio show. I really want to finish planting on Wednesday and Thursday, because I need to get ready for my tomato course at Longwood Gardens on Sunday. 

So - what did I plant today?  

In the straw bales are newly released dwarf varieties Kangaroo Paw Yellow, Kangaroo Paw Green, Kangaroo Paw Brown, Loxton Lad, Loxton Lass, Dwarf Mahogany, Tanunda Red, Waratah, Kookaburra Cackle, Sturt Desert Pea, Dwarf Orange Cream, BrandyFred, Tennessee Suited, Dwarf Golden Gypsy, Dwarf Crimson Sockeye, Dwarf Wild Spudleaf, Lucky Swirl, TastyWine, Maralinga, Dwarf Russian Swirl, Dwarf Lemon Ice, and Dwarf Scarlet Heart. Joining those new releases are a few that are close but still in development - Dwarf Beauty King, Dwarf Caitydid, Dwarf Firebird Sweet, and Saucy Mary. Then there are those that didn't do well, or my plant was crossed, last year - these are therefore released varieties that I want to take another look at...Chocolate Lightning - two different striping patterns that emerged on my single plant last year (could be a mutation - so confirming if these are different), Wilpena (looking for a red tomato - still could be some pinks mixed in), Sweet Adelaide, Boronia striped cross from last year (I suspect it was Boronia X Sarandipity), Rosella Crimson, Dwarf Blazing Beauty, Dwarf Pink Passion, and Sweet Scarlet Dwarf.  That should total 36 plants, 2 per bale.

That's enough for now - tomorrow I will blog about what I planted in the grow bags today. 

This was a great day - feet and hands stubbornly stained with planting mix, and persistent sound of the birds still echoing in my ears, the warmth and humidity of a typical early May day in Raleigh....the promise of the harvest to come.