This weekend we took the walls of water off our tomato plants. Half of the plants were growing out of the walls, and it is easier to make the transition to cages and stakes all at once. The tallest tomatoes are my mystery heirloom and pink tomato (right back), followed by the Sweet Chelsea cherry. The yellow heirloom(right front) and green zebra (left front) are the shortest, though the green zebra was most productive with suckers already.
I had four cages from last year, and three red bases from my mom. We didn't want to buy more cages, so we're trying out the stake method using bamboo stakes which we had on hand. I'm using the green velcro fabric ties for plants (thanks to mom too!) to tie the tomatoes to the stake. I made sure to do one Roma with a cage and one Roma with a stake. Right now they are pretty even in height and we'll see if the method of support makes any difference as the season progresses.
For now, we kept the walls of water on the peppers for extra heat protection. Temperatures have been in the 60s to 70s with cloudy days and rain showers for the past week and the forecast for this week doesn't look any better. Peppers will need all the help they can get. One has signs that blossoms will form soon.
We recycled strapping that was used to make tepees last year into a trellis for the cucumbers to grow up. Matt cut one piece to make two cross bars and screwed them together. Then we screwed the uprights into the box. They had to go inside the electric fence which reduced the width of the trellis. We strung twine between the nails that were still there from last year. It is a little tall, hopefully my cucumbers don't grow six feet up because it will be hard for me to pick them.
You can see the walls of water in the background of the picture above. After moving them off the tomatoes, we put them around my sesame seed plants in the extra bed. These were started from seed, put into the cold frame and are still only one inch tall. The packets say they get to be three to four feet, but I'm not sure we're going to get there. I figured some extra warmth and protection wouldn't hurt. We weren't ready to dump all that water from the walls onto the already soaked ground. We'll wait until things dry out.
I missed including the swiss chard blossoms in the last update. Here's a photo. I don't think it has officially bloomed, but it looks close. Maybe I'll be able to save some seed from it.We also had another harvest: 7 oz of kale which we cooked with italian sausages for a satisfying dinner. The garlic scapes really needed to be harvested and now I need to decide how we'll use them.
I spent the afternoon on Saturday making a spreadsheet for timing of fall and winter crops for the garden and cold frame, using Eliot Coleman's Four Seasons Harvest as a guide. Once I figured out when plants needed to go in, and where they might fit as space opens up, I started some seeds.
6 Freckles Romaine
8 Winterbor Kale
2 Italiko Rosso Chicory (Italian Dandelion)
5 White Vienna Kohlrabi
The indoor lights are back on their timer and everything has already sprouted. Our winter garden experiment is off to a good start.