Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Free Bale of [STRAW]

We went to a birthday party for our friend’s daughter a few weekends ago; a cowgirl-themed party.  At the end of the party my friend asked me if I wanted to have the straw bale they had purchased for decoration.  SCORE!!!  How often does a question like that get asked and result in pure joy to other person?!  Luckily, my wife let me load it in ‘her’ van to take home, which of course resulted in a mess of straw all over the back area that I, of course, promised to clean up that day but took me two weeks to get to.

The straw has come in really handy!  I am getting ready to grow some fingerling potatoes in 5-gallon buckets (using this tutorial).  I didn’t have any gravel to put in the bottom of the buckets to help with drainage so I used a couple inches of straw.  110_5206

I also used the straw as a nice mulch for the pathways in between the beds in my garden, which looks WAY better than before.  Also, it will keep the weeds down and make it easier to walk around after it rains (which, of course, we won’t get anymore of because I put the straw down).


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

[Tomato] SALE!

I’ve been (computer) lazy recently but I’m kickin’ in my blogging second wind now.

Thanks to former Governor Schwarzenegger and current Governor Jerry “Don’t Call me Eddie” Brown, I have get to take three furlough days a month off work so on Friday March 4, I headed down to the Fullerton College Tomato Sale.  It is the initiation of the spring gardening season for me here in southern California.  If you live in somewhere currently white with snow, I apologize.  110_5081

110_5068110_5072The amount of people who show up BEFORE the sale even opens always astounds me.   Tomatoes have become so important to these people, they rearrange their day, show up early at the sale with their boxes and wagons,  and surge in once the gates are open.  Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to get my tomatoes and did make an effort to get there slightly early but I was glaringly lacking a towing device for my seedlings.

BUT it turns out I had something most of the 60+ year olds didn’t have.  I had Polly, a friend of my wife’s who volunteers with the horticulture department who had already set aside the seedlings I wanted so there was no danger of reaching the appropriate tomato table and standing there slack-jawed at an empty tray of Roma tomatoes with only a wilted leaf or two to mock me as to what could have been.  Turns out I really didn’t /need/ Polly to set aside my plants as there was enough since I got there as the sale opened.

Anyhow, my tomatoes for this year include:


San Marzano Redorta


Costoluto Genovese

I tend to mainly use my ‘maters to make sauce for use throughout the rest of the year and we also use a handful of fresh tomatoes for a few batches of salsa every summer, so I picked up 2 seedlings of each.  Last year I did 3 tomato plants (2 – San Marzanos and 1 – San Marzano Redorta) and found myself wishing I had more.  So I went with the Redortas since they are bigger than the usual San Marzanos and the Costolutos just looked too cool to pass up, especially for a paste tomato.  I waited a week or so before putting them in the ground since we were having lows in the 40s that week and wanted to be sure the ground warmed up a bit before I planted.  Does it really matter? Nope!

My wife also wanted me to get some grape tomatoes (Juliet and Jelly Bean) just to have for salads and such.  I have no idea where I’m going to put the grape tomatoes in the garden.  I kinda maxed everything else out before she put in that command request.  Oh well… it will be all fine (as my son says).