Tag: Tomato

Transplanting is Transformational

The Micro Farm is a “buzz” with activity.

Pollinators are enjoying the black raspberry flowers
Pollinators are enjoying the black raspberry flowers

The strawberry patch is also producing lovely berries this year.  Such a nice crop mean I need to protect the ripe berries from animals nibbling.

The strawberries protected
The strawberries protected

I use a bird netting purchased at a local nursery.  It keeps most of the critters from eating the ripe fruit.

I spent a good deal of the week transplanting seedlings.  One evening while working on the Micro Farm.  I noticed small movements near my neighbor’s shed.  Sure enough two small rabbits.  I knew I needed to do something to protect my tender and young plants.  Fencing is what I needed, but I wanted to avoid the traditional woven metal fence.  A local home store had landscaping timbers on sale, decision made.

New "fencing"
New “fencing”

Hopefully this will keep the rabbits out.  We will have to wait and see.

I transplanted tomatoes, peppers, celery, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Cabbage transplants
Cabbage transplants
Cauliflower transplant
Cauliflower transplant
Tomato transplants
Tomato transplants

I also planted five pounds of seed potatoes, another 75 onion sets, beets, edamame,  popcorn, and carrots.

Growing greens has been a failure so far this season.  So I am tried putting some seed in six-packs to determine the quality of the seed.  The seed produced well.  I In another week I will put them into the ground.

Lettuce seedlings
Lettuce seedlings

As the rain falls tonight.  I am excited to see how the young plants spring to life over the next week.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.


True Leaves and Soil

The onion, tomato, and tomatillo seedling’s plastic was impeding growth so I removed it for good this week. It is exciting to see them progressing well.

Tomato seedlings
Tomato seedlings
Tomato seedlings.  You can see the "true leaf" starting to develop.
Tomato seedlings. You can see the “true leaf” starting to develop.

While taking pictures this evening I noticed there had been a small water accident and a number of my seed packets were wet.

Wet bottoms of my seed packets
Wet bottoms of my seed packets

Well, mistakes typically force us to create a better method.  I will have to work on developing a better storage plan.  I should be keeping seeds in a more water tight containers anyway.  So I will be thinking about how to do this efficiently and cost-effectively.

The weather has been difficult to work around.  On Friday morning I went cross-country skiing in my neighbor’s field.  By noon that same day most of my tracks had melted from snow to grass.  Looking back over four years of pictures about half the years I am working the soil, but this is not one of those years.  Until the soil thaws I will not be working the soil.  Walking on wet soil just compacts all the air pockets and makes it the harder for roots to push through the soil and for them to get the nutrients they are desire.

I did order another type of tomato seeds.  I have been growing Pruden’s Purple the past few years.  I like the tomatoes, and I find it is fairly disease resistant.  So they should be arriving soon, and I will get them started so they can be big and strong going into the soil.

I hope we will all be getting hands dirty soon.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

A Season of Hope

I took full advantage of the weather today.  I started to finish the work I started last fall.  I clipped, trimmed, and pulled lots of dried and dead plants.  The Micro Farm is starting to look like it should.

Clean up was partially motivated by seeing the seedlings starting to pop up out of the soil

Tomato and onion seedlings
Tomato and onion seedlings
Onion seedlings
Onion seedlings

Seeing the seedlings has brought excitement to the new growing season.  I was feeling overwhelmed by the clean up I would have to do.  After a few hours of clean up today, I know (with a little good weather) I can get everything done quicker than I then I thought.

After clean up I had energy and decided to keep going.  I started a few more seedlings.  My order of Yankee Bell pepper seeds arrived late last week so I planted those.  I also ordered container strawberry seeds.  I started those.

In the next couple of weeks they will sprout and we will see how many plants I have.

Peppers and strawberries under a plastic blanket
Peppers and strawberries under a plastic blanket

I always start a new journey with such excitement and with dreams of all that could be.  I know there will be difficult times ahead.  I know there will be days when I do not want to go out and do the work I should do.

I hope you are excited about this growing season.  What are you excited about?

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

Surprise In the Compost Bin

Reviewing last year’s information I planted my three weeks later than this year.  I also planted about 20 fewer cloves this year.  What do these differences mean?  I do not know.  I am glad to have the garlic in the ground and have it checked off my to-do list.  Today was cold, but sunny.  It was nice to be outside and working, even though I had to wear a winter hat.

Garlic cloves seperated
Garlic cloves separated

The first step to growing garlic is separating the gloves.  Then plant each clove about two inches deep and about five inches apart.

I needed to prepare the planting bed.

Over grown marigolds
Over grown marigolds and various other plants

I pulled the frost killed marigolds out.  They were really amazing marigolds, and I enjoyed them this year.  I pulled several failed plants that did not produce as well.  Most of those plants went into the compost bin.

Marigolds destined for the compost bin
Marigolds destined for the compost bin

The finished row looks good.  Later this week I will cover the garlic with two inches pine needles and straw .  The mulch will help keep a more constant temperature and protect the cloves from freeze and thaws.

Finished bed.
Finished bed.

My compost bin often has un-expected vines and plants growing in it.  I often let them grow out of curiosity.  When I was carrying marigold to the compost bins today I found a tomato vine with a one green tomato on it.

The last tomato
The last tomato

I brought it into the house, mostly for the novelty of it.  It is small and it is unlikely to ripen.

What has surprised you recently?

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.


Bending but not Breaking

All of us at Cohocton River Rock Micro Farm thank you all of you who have served our country.  Memorial Day always encourages me to reflect on the sacrifices people have made for our country.

After two days of, almost, constant 20 mile per hour wind everything seems to be settling down.  I had really hoped to transplant the tomatoes, peppers, and celery.  The night temperatures have been almost frost levels, but the wind was really the problem.

Leaning Garlic
The picture is not leaning the garlic is. They are all leaning from the constant wind.

After seeing what happened to the garlic I thought it would be best to wait until the wind slows down.  Monday is the warmest day without strong winds.

The wind did not slow down work around the Micro Farm though.  Thursday I rented a “mulcher” to clean up my collection of brush.

Me mulching. All the mulch went to create new walking paths.

My friend Dylan helped me get work done around the Micro Farm.  It was really great having a second pair of hands on Saturday with the wind blowing.

New netting over the strawberry patch.

Last year the chipmunks ate all of my ripe strawberries.  Dylan and I covered the strawberries with netting to protect them from getting eaten.  I will let you know how it works.

We also purchased two bags of mulch for this walk way.
The marigolds are doing well. We also added straw to the walking paths between the growing beds.

In the walking paths I lay newspaper down first and then lay straw over the newspaper.   I held the newspaper down while Dylan would lay the straw down.  I could not have done both steps on Saturday without Dylan.  The wind would have had me running in circles.

Today was a beautiful day on the Micro Farm.  There is something about the sunlight this time of year.  I really enjoy it. I hope you do too.

The 2013 Cohocton River Rock Micro Farm.  Click to enlarge.

I hope you are able to enjoy to the weekend.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.


Wicked Beefy Tomato Cage (Pardon the Mainer Accent)

Editor’s Note:  If you are looking for information regarding tomato cages I recommend you check out this link.  It describes the “Florida Weave” which I think is a better tomato trellising method.

I spent most of the afternoon wrapping up my tomato cage prototype. I wanted to build a cage that was more substantial than th poor wire cages I used last year. In an effort to be sustainable, this entire project was completed with hand tools. Completing this project with hand tools took much longer compared to if I used power tools. However, I definitely feel a greater sense of accomplishment and got my arms workout.

I used a marking gauge to measure what I wanted to cut off. If you use hand saws and have not used a marking gauge you are missing out.  Using a marking gauge makes it easier to keep the saw in the line you want.

The marking gauge – creating a small cut for the hand saw to follow.

Then using a Rip Saw I trimmed the legs.  I did not really need to do this, but I wanted the legs to look “right.”

My Rip Saw – rip saws have a different tooth pattern and shape compared to a crosscut/multi-use saw

Then I cut approximately a 45 degree angle at the bottom of the four legs so they go into the ground easier.

The legs with the angle cut

I cut the stringers (the boards between the legs) 20 inches long.  I drilled pilot holes with a hand drill. The pilot holes help prevent to wood from splitting.  Then I used wood screws and drilled them in with a hand brace.  I would have used outdoor or galvanized screws, but I did not have them on hand.

The Hand Drill is on the left and the Brace is on the right.

After putting the sides together I started to complete the box.

The sides put together
Completing the box or putting the sides together
Three sides completed.

I ran out of screws so I have not been able to complete the fourth side.  This is a very beefy tomato cage.  I find the second time around the work goes faster.  I also think I will use some thing shorter than 20 inch wide I used on this one.  I am looking for any feedback on my design.

I am sure many of you were affected by the difficult weather this past week.  Here in Upstate New York we did not receive as much snow as others.  The best part has been the warmer temperatures.   The  snow and ice have been melting off the driveway and roads.  We had recent highs of 32+ and are expecting high 30’s tomorrow.  I think I can start to sense Spring is on its way.

Stay warm.