Our cabbage transplants from last week looked good, and there was no sign of the potatoes yet (perfectly normal). After a small bit of weeding and light raking of the unplanted areas (to keep the soil from caking up), we planted two ‘Green Magic’ broccoli transplants over by the cabbages, and a ‘Tycoon’ tomato. Please refer to the agenda to see how much fertilizer we used this session, and where.
By the way, have you started planting your spring garden yet? It definitely isn’t too late…here’s a list of spring vegetables varieties that are perfect for our area, and when to plant them.
Before we planted the broccoli, we soaked the broccoli six pack in a bucket of water until it was saturated and had no more air bubbles rising to the surface. This is especially important to do if the peat pot and/or soil is dry.
Just like we did last week with the cabbage, we planted our broccoli slightly deeper than the soil line, covering the purple part of the stem. We made sure that our peat pots top edges were not exposed, or they would act like a wick, drawing moisture away from the soil inside. As a side note, why don’t we just remove the peat pots? Because there are roots already growing through them, and damaging the roots would stress the plants.
On to planting the tomato plant! These were healthy plants in 1 gallon containers. Please see the agenda for very detailed planting instructions. Here’s a picture of one after it was planted.
There are three things I would like to mention about the tomato plants. First, we use tomato cages, and very large ones….in past years, these plants have gotten 5’ or taller. Adequate support is critical to preventing branches from breaking under the weight of the tomatoes we will be harvesting.
Next, we build a soil berm or ring around the tomato plant, a little beyond the outermost leaves. You might be able to see it in the picture above. When we water, this berm will keep the water near the plant as it is being absorbed by the soil rather than letting it run off if the surface is uneven.
Lastly, we are using an N-sulate cover, clipped onto the tomato cages with binder clips or clothespins, to protect the young tomato plants this early in the season. We could still have cold or windy weather that could damage the young plants. This covering will protect the plant from wind damage, and maintain a warmer microclimate around the plant. And, as you can see from the picture below, it helps to have at least 2 people put the covering on, especially if it is a little windy. 😊
At the end of our time together, we shared some kale harvested from some kale beds at the CVG with our gardeners. This crinkly variety felt unexpectedly soft, to the gardeners and they though it was really neat.
Bonus picture time! This flowerhead almost looks like fireworks, doesn’t it? Know what it is?
Until next time,
Lyn Komada, Bexar County Master Gardeners