I usually wait till Mother’s Day here to plant my summer veggies, but unusually warm temps both day and night have warmed the soil up to 70 degrees and it is looking like it might be here to stay for a while. I hope we get some rain and no frost and gardeners in northern California will finally have a good year for tomatoes. The last few years the weather has not cooperated. The blossoms on my roses are bigger than usual, I am told it is because of warm weather followed by just enough cold after the buds came out to stop them for a while then it got warm again and they exploded. It is a beautiful site!
I wanted to bring in more soil so that I could eventually (not this year) make my raised beds a little higher so I bought some rice bails and had some garden soil delivered and put together these giant beds. I layered the soil with compost and the plan is that next year I will have giant piles of good garden soil to add to my raised beds after I build up the sides to 12”. I am planting squash and potatoes in one and pumpkins in the other. I also added nasturtiums at the edges to make them a little prettier. I read that they attract beneficial insects that help keep squash and cucumber beetles away so it seemed like the perfect combo.
I planted my first tomatoes about a month ago and used wall o’ waters on them to protect them which was a wise choice because we did have a few cold nights. This week I took them off because the plants were about to grow over the top. I have planted squash, tomatoes, peppers and even cucumbers and my fingers are crossed that this weather carries us through May as the weather men have predicted. I grew extra plants as usual and have been giving them to co-workers, but I think I will sell this last batch.
I am growing the following varieties of tomatoes this year:
Dr. Wychee’s Yellow, Indigo Rose, Moon Glow, Black Giant, Csikos Boterno, Cherokee Purple, Black Brandywine, Zebra Heart, Chocolate Stripes, Black Cherry, all of these I have grown before and really enjoyed them. There are 3 new varieties I am trying this year 2 from a local seed supplier in Manton, California, Redwood Seeds…Zapotec and Peacevine Cherry and the 3rd is recommended by a friend for making good sauces, Nonna’s Pride. The Peacevine Cherry has really taken off and is trying to climb high! Working at a nursery and talking plants to people all day always tempts me to try new things so there may be more added to this list and that is just the tomatoes. I now have to decide just where I am going to put all the melons I want to grow this year and I know that I want to keep them away from my squash,
I am also trying several new beans that I am growing both for fresh eating and for drying. Going through the Seed Savers catalog was just way to tempting so I have planted seeds in all kinds of weird places between things and will hope for the best!
We have been seeing a return of butterflies so set up this little butterfly watering station near the butterfly bushes. I put small gravel in the bottom the a few larger rocks on the edges for them to sit and drink from. I haven’t seen any butterflies at it yet, but I hope they will find it to be a real treat on a hot day.
I am hoping that with all the newbie vegetable gardeners and those of us that keep growing hoping for a bumper crop year that this will be that year and we will be sharing all sorts of ideas on what to do with the plethora of fruits and veggies we will be harvesting in the next few months!