June 24, 2015

Papa Tomato and the Tomato Factory

How can I quickly tell the Papa Tomato's story without so much background? Suffice it to say that I first had ripe tomatoes indoors in the winter of 2013 from  plants started late summer 2012, on nice determinate plants that were meant to grow in containers.

Summer of 2014 I took a Better Boy sucker off a garden plant and started a new venture with an indeterminate tomato that would have no ending point. I'll spare you its baby pictures.



By the end of August, it was in the greenhouse corner. 5 feet tall, corralled by shelves and GH walls with a metal fence post and a piece of PVC pipe as stakes in a 4 gallon bucket.

Before mid-December, we were eating tomatoes.


By mid-April of this year I'd already decided that first tomato plant could not last forever and had 4 rooted suckers growing, planted in containers and on their way toward producing tomatoes enough we could share with the neighbors.



I didn't reckon with Papa Tomato's determination. The other day I mistook some of his branches for new growth on one of the newer plants. Not so. Papa Tomato reached out and mingled and produced tomatoes, hanging onto a bungee cord that secures the roof vent.

Lower branches look dead but there is a green canopy above.



This trunk supports life and tomatoes.



I do not expect that Papa Tomato will last into next winter. 
The heritage of Papa Tomato will persist as new plants put on tomatoes. These plants are experiencing stress from heat and bright sunlight -- the blue is a plastic tablecloth for a little shade from afternoon sun. I've already passed on Papa Tomato's DNA in tomato plants produced from suckers off these plants to Marvin's Gardens. 

 Papa Tomato will soon be a year old. How many years is
that in people years?






June 23, 2015

A Summer Peek into the Greenhouse

It takes  much effort to keep plants from frying in the greenhouse when outside temperatures are in the nineties with 'feels like' temps in the hundreds because of the humidity.


Bits of rooted Iberis cuttings, a red Pentas that finally decided to grow, a seedling Gerbera daisy that may or may not be white and 4 Purple Alternanthera seedlings need homes outdoors.



  
The Tomato Factory is doing quite well I think, considering the heat. Last summer's tomato plant that fed us all winter is about to finish up the last fruits and be discarded. I'll need to start another to put in that corner.


Amaryllis are just marking time and growing bigger until time to rest a bit before blooming again. Most of them are labeled this time around except for seedlings.
They seem quite happy inside with moderate watering.


Just outside the door is a white echinacea, a daily reminder that in a month or so I'll need to plant seeds to start more of these from seed. We'll have to see if they remain true to color.


I'm thinking that I need to pull culms off this Areca palm
and grow more palms for indoors. I started one last year when I accidentally pulled a piece out of the pot. It thrived. This one might be happy just divided into 3 or 4 new plants with new potting soil.


Despite the heat, I find it hard to stay indoors. Then I find it hard to remain outdoors long enough to do everything that wants doing. Blueberries are begging picking, weeds need pulling. Dead limbs need picking up. 

June 14, 2015

Greenhouse Report

Tomatoes started ripening all at once.


Blueberries of course are from outdoors. We are weary of picking; 6 pints yesterday. Every day there are more.

Only a few plants besides the potted Tomato Plants and too many pots of Amaryllis remain. Bits and pieces of Burro Tail Sedums and Mistletoe Cactus are growing. Little cuttings of all kinds dot the benches.

The Meyer Lemon seeds I planted in spring are nice little plants now. Curiously, most of them have rounded leaves. The biggest one has leaves that are pointed at the tip. Six lemon plants may present a problem as the greenhouse fills this fall.



Pelargonium and Lemon seedlings

As I watered my lone Red Geranium this morning, I remembered that I meant to start cuttings from it. It blooms steadily and asks for very little other than occasional watering.

The outside needs a good washing. Being near a Juniper tree does not help.

I am beginning to lose my enchantment with Bromeliads now that they're outdoors.

June 04, 2015

Hot Plants in and around the Greenhouse

They definitely get warm, even with mist and exhaust fanning. Many have moved out to shady spots, like the Burro Tail Sedum and Mistletoe Cactus.


Inside the greenhouse, all those little 'beans' I collected when they fell from the long tails, have turned into tiny plants, all clumped together in a yogurt container. How does one prick these babies out and plant?


Blooms in a Bromeliad

If you are not blooming, you're a prime host for a tiny frog calling for rain.

I tired of watering Calla lilies and they kind of outgrew their pots, so I planted them out along the Gardenias on the north side of the greenhouse.
Gardenia blooms are about done.











Inside, there's this:


The first tomato to start ripening on the plants I started 
early spring.

June 03, 2015

Agapanthus Update



Still waiting for buds in the Front Beds where Storm Cloud and the regular blue grow. I think this fall I'll dig and pot some of those. Maybe the rest need to be in a sunny bed somewhere. I think I have just the place: front of the Mule Barn.

We get all excited about spring bulbs. Summer bulbs are just as marvelous. I am enjoying Kniphofia and Gladioli right now. Oh, and Lilies! The Asiatics bloomed and now LA lilies; the longest lasting are the plain white. I am more appreciative of white flowers than I used to be. 




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