Our 2021 garden: transplanting tomatoes and onions

After we got the sunflowers transplanted, the girls and I decided we would transplant the tomatoes today, too.

This is the area we prepared for the tomatoes, back in April, so that we can use the chain link fence to support them. You can read what we did to prepare it here. Though we have been wetting it down fairly regularly, there just hasn’t been enough moisture for the straw and cardboard to do much breaking down, and the soil layer was relatively thin.

Since the new garden soil is alkaline, and tomatoes like slightly acidic soil, we decided to make use of the last of our bale of peat. Before heading in for lunch and out of the heat, we took the time to mix the peat with garden soil and soak it down.

Basically, we made peat soup. šŸ˜€

The seedlings were brought over to wait in the shade, then we headed inside to let the soil and peat mixture absorb more water.

Do you see that cup with the itty bitty tomato plants in it? That is a cup with Mosaic Mix seeds in it. It took forever for one seed to germinate, so when the plants got moved to the sun room, we decided to keep it. Then, just about a week ago, the other seeds planted in the cup germinated! They’re really too tiny to transplant, but the girls wanted to, anyway. We’ll see how they do!

When we got back to it, the transplants were separated and laid out, after getting their bottom leaves and branches trimmed off. We did dig small holes for each one, but there wasn’t a lot of depth before we hit straw. Each transplant got some of the peat mixture built up around it, up to the lowest remaining leaves, so that the buried stems will grow roots and the plants will be stronger.

Then we added more garden soil in between each plant, to build up the soil depth in the bed, and to make sure the peat mixture won’t wash away when we water them.

The first things we started from seed were onions, but we lost all of our Red Baron bunching onions, due to cats. When we started using the Solo cups as pots, I decided to broadcast sow the last of the seeds we had in a couple of cups and see what happened. With one of them, nothing happened, but with another, they did actually sprout. They’ve been hardening off along with everything else, and onions are supposed to be good companion plants for tomatoes, repelling insects, so we decided to go ahead and transplant the onions, too.

Some of them are REALLY tiny, but the girls went ahead and planted them anyhow. They’ll either make it or not.

The onions got planted in where we added more soil, but you’ll notice a gap in the middle. The tomatoes in the foreground are the tiny Spoon tomatoes, while the ones at the far end are the Mosaic Mix tomatoes. In the middle are the super tiny, sprouted really late, Mosaic Mix tomato plants. They’re so small, no extra soil was added around them; they would have been buried completely! We’ll see if they survive or not.

As always, we thoroughly watered the soil before putting in the transplants, so when we did our evening watering, they only got a misting, to help settle the soil.

We did hit 29C/84F today. As I write this, it’s just past midnight, and we’re still at 20C/68F. Our expected overnight low is 17C/63F. Instead of having to watch out for a last frost hitting our transplants, we have to watch out for excessive heat! We’ll be doing a lot of careful watering over the next while.

One thing the girls and I did finally remember to do; we put our poor, bedraggled umbrella tree outside. It took three of us. One to carry the pot, one to open and close the doors, and one to keep the cats away! šŸ˜€

Tissue was watching me through the door!

Yes, the plant is on the stairs in front of a door. In this spot, it will get full sunlight in the morning, while it’s still relatively cool, but be shaded during the hottest parts of the day. We don’t use this door, so it can stay there. Right now, during the day, we open the inner door and set up a little step ladder, so that cats can sit on it and look out the window. The window is open just enough to allow a breeze through the house to help keep it cool. The outer door has a tendency to unlatch on its own, so to make sure the cats don’t accidentally end up outside, we have it secured with some cord. It has become a favorite place for the cats to see and watch all the birds outside! šŸ™‚

So the tomatoes are now transplanted. Between them and the sunflowers, I had a lot fewer plants to bring back into the sun room for the night! šŸ™‚ The rest cannot be transplanted until we finish the squash tunnel for the climbers, and build beds for them, but they are all hardened off and ready for transplanting. So we need to get those done as quick as we can! Friday and Saturday as supposed to be scorchers, too. Ah, well. Better the heat for transplanting, than frost!

Little by little, it’ll get done.

The Re-Farmer

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