Last season we planted in ground in the greenhouse and by the end of the season it was a jungle in there… difficult to get around without a machete. This year Dad wanted to create defined growing beds, and to get the infrastructure in place for aquaculture. Yesterday we finished decking the center path, which will eventually be flooded and hold fish, and built a 30″ wide tomato bed next to it. The final step, another trough on the far north side of the greenhouse, will be built later.
Once we had the bed built, we planted tomatoes. Dad had started way too many, but we have fun names like Black Krim, Brandywine, Chocolate Drop, and Italian Heirloom. They were mostly in gallon pots, so we have some that are already flowering. We will have tomatoes in a matter of a couple weeks. Some will go into the farmstand, others we will eat and process for storage. We made gallons of tomato sauce last year, and I’m down to my last two jars, so I will have to make at least that much this year! This morning we will plant peppers and tender herbs (basil, mostly) in the big bed next to the second row of tomatoes. The outer bed is reserved for squash and other veggies.
The finished tomato bed. The Center path is quite done here.
The center path completed. We wil be able to take a wheelbarrow up it once we install the ramp.
Tomatoes set on the bed for placement
As we planted the tomatoes we gave them a shot of what Dad calls Ferti’gator. We took a bucket half full of rabbit manure, filled it with water, and gave each plant a couple of quarts of the resulting liquid ‘n bits directly on the rootball before backfilling the hole. We grow naturally around here, so the only other fertilizer they will get is a sheet of compost applied to the bed later in the season. The potato-leaved tomatoes in the foreground are Brandywine. As you can see, the gallon starts are raring to go.
While we were getting the bed ready I pulled a bunch of Catnip out. Dad had put in just a couple plants last year, and this year I pulled a half-dozen starts out of the other bed. I cut the tops, and will dry those to make into cat toys, but we’ll put the starts in pots to sell at the farmstand. Nice, big guys, but they are a mint and will spread! I left Dad’s original plants in, so no doubt I’ll be doing this again next year. Speaking of volunteers, we had a ton of baby tomato plants. We decided not to keep them, as goodness only knows what they would have given us. If we want to save our own seeds, it won’t be in the greenhouse. We also had a perfect bok choi volunteer. I really should take a picture, it is so pretty.
Nepeta cataria, intended for recreational kitty use