Saturday, April 4, 2009

Our Heirloom Tomato Seedlings.

Mr. Hawthorne and I bought some heirloom tomatoes at Harris Teeter back in January.
We saved the seeds and Mr. Hawthorne planted them back in early February/late January in the plastic egg cartons we get at HT. The seeds germinated in about 10 days and ever since then, I've been moving the seedlings around to different windows throughout the house so they get optimum sun all day long. And believe you me, when I say all day long, I mean ALL.DAY.LONG. I'm very OC about this. Mama and Sister Hawthorne, "OC is Obsessive Compulsive." By the way, this is the best deal for eggs I've found. 2 1/2 dozen for $2.89. At Harris Teeter. And the egg cartons are the best. I keep the tops on to create a mini-greenhouse when germinating the seeds. Works like a charm. I'm saving their egg cartons for starting more seedlings which I think I'm going to do tomorrow. After all, it is spring. At least that's the plan. Also, tilling my garden beds is in the plans for tomorrow too. Ooooh ... the planets are all lined up perfectly. The moon is in its proper phase. And the tides are just right. Minutes ago, Good Neighbor Bobby called and asked if he could use ... get this ... my TILLER tomorrow morning. This is freakin' great! I haven't used my tiller for a year. I probably wouldn't be able to start it up by myself. I'd stand out in the yard, priming, yanking, and cursing. Then I'd flood the damn thing. I'd kick the tiller. Then stomp inside and call Mr. Hawthorne and bitch at him that this was all his fault. Then we'd have the same conversation. Mr. H: "You could break an anvil." Rosie: "You know? I'm the only one that uses the ... insert appliance/machine/device/anything here ... damn thing, so it would seem to reason that everything has a limited life and when it's gonna die, it's gonna die on MY WATCH since I'm the only one who ACTUALLY USES it. The only thing that might break on him would be the remote control. I digress. Tomorrow will be different. Bob's borrowing my idling-for-a-year-tiller, with gas in in it, which probably should have been emptied before hanging the tiller up for last season. And Bob will fix my tiller and when he returns it to me tomorrow for my afternoon tilling, that sucker will be purring and humming like all gitout. Whoot! ShimmyShimmy!!
Yesterday, Mr. H. and I transplanted the seedlings into peat pots.
We set them out on the deck to get a little fresh air and sunshine.
They look really happy. We have about 55-60 seedlings now. All are out of the egg cartons and into peat pots with Miracle Gro potting soil. And we're going to plant them all in random places throughout the yard. Dig a hole, add in some fertilizer/manure/compost/humus/egg shells, stick the plant in, water, and you're good to go. I remember when I was a girl on Daddy's farm, there was a wonderful spring in the front yard at his cabin. There was a big depression/hole in the yard with the bottom concreted, and rocks going up the side in what I think was Brother Hawthorne's attempt to create a rock garden. I don't recall any flowers there. Ever. It was a garden of rocks. Anyways, there was an underground spring. Daddy had put in a sort of concrete culvert perpendicular to the ground and there was a reservoir of stunningly cold, delicious, clean, crystal-clear water. And there were always crawdads in the bottom sandy layer, feeding off of whatever they needed to feed off of. The water drained out of the spring through a pipe and into a small meandering creek until it finally shored up a few hundred yards down, and created a pond. I remember in the spring when Daddy would buy his tomato plants. They'd come in Dixie cups. He'd take the tomato seedlings out of the cups and put them down in the wet spring area. There would be probably 50 bare-root plants with the plants wrapped in a rubber band up at the top, next to the greens, to hold them together and wet red clay packed around the roots. That was the soil in the Piedmont of Virginia. Red clay. And I remember Daddy never used a tomato cage and he never staked a tomato. His plants always sprawled everywhere. In red clay. And they flourished. I always appreciated the lesson about irrigation he taught me one day when I was about 8. This was fascinating to me at that tender age. There was a pond a little ways from his garden. He had a long hose which he filled up with water, then told me to hold my thumb on the end. I watched Daddy as he walked down towards the garden with the hose, his thumb on the other other end and then told me to let my end down in the pond and take my thumb out, as he released his end in the furrows between planted rows. The water would suck out of the pond and go through the hose to the furrows and the rows of plants would suck up the wonderfulness of H2O. That suckage amazed me. That's what I first learned to garden in - that red clay. I'd go down to Daddy's farm and clean out the muck in the barns and load up the trunk of my Olds Cutlass with bags of manure which contained huge worms. Then I'd till by hand the manure into the red clay mixture I had in my backyard. And I had a darn good garden that summer. Then I moved to the Outer Banks - a string of barrier islands off the North Carolina coast. And I live on an island. I live between water- the ocean and the sound. I live on top of water. There's a tiny thin strip of land 4 miles away from me which is about 150 - 200 yards wide. Then there's the ocean. To the west of me about 600 yards away is the Albemarle Sound. I'm in a vulnerable place. But back to the garden. Now I have nothing but sand to deal with. Pure sand. So I'm always looking for soil enrichment. Chicken manure was the best I ever found. So here are my happy little plants and my esoteric collection of reading material.
I think they've grown some already since being transplanted.
When we remodeled the kitchen, I had a special cabinet put in just for the trash can. Daughter Hawthorne used to complain mightily about being embarrassed to have people come over because of my open trash can in the kitchen. Apparently her room was not an issue. Just my kitchen trash can out in the open. I still have the nasty open trash can sitting where ever I need to use it. Old habits die hard. I never used the trash can in the cabinet ... until now.
We've started saving all our egg shells which I'll use to till in the garden.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Wow, that is so cool! I am jealous of all the great tomatoes you're going to have this summer. I am going to plant my garden in a few weeks. I usually just buy the little tomato plants, haven't had much luck with seeds.