Gardening… OUTSIDE!

Today was a big day in the lives of the tomatoes of Maple Hoo, as we could no longer deny that they have grown too big for the little trays we started them in. Knowing what a mess the three of us are capable of making with a few peat pots and a bag of potting soil, I suggested we use repotting plants as an excuse to bring the outdoor furniture out of storage. I know it’s a tad bit early for, say, grilling, and theoretically we could get that “last big snowstorm” Boomer keeps ominously saying could happen, but honestly our empty deck was starting to get depressing.

Empty Deck

The furniture was put in storage early last summer because of the kitchen remodel so it’s been a long since the deck has been usable. I’d never thought of myself as a deck person but after having our picnic table and benches sitting like this for a year:

Furniture in Storage

I can’t help but being antsy to be out sitting out on the deck in the evening, nursing a beer while Schnookie grills up some pork and bacon kebabs. Mmmmm pork and bacon kebabs… So it is with much glee and anticipation for warmer weather that I present the Maple Hoo Deck Furniture — restored to it’s former glory!

Deck With Furniture

I can practically taste those kebabs looking at that!

For today though, the table was less about Summer food and more about Spring gardening. The tomatoes have grown up a lot since before dinner — here they are ready to bid fond adieu to their old seedling trays:

Baby Tomatoes

They look (and smell) like happy, robust and strong paste tomato plants, but beneath the soil, so to speak (no, wait, literally beneath the soil) they look like a cry for help:

Bustin’ Out

They’re bursting at the seams in those tiny trays!

Roots!

All 32 plants (of which we’ll probably only plant 8 in the big garden and maybe 4-6 more in the back) got re-potted in bigger peat pots, or as Schnookie dubbed them, “big boy beds”. We took great pains to label them with tags tied to their mini-skewer steaks (those skewers could be holding pork and bacon kebabs… O! When will it be grilling weather?!) and carrying them down to the yard to water them.

Big Boy Beds

Looking at the paper tags and thinking about a steady steam of water being poured over the plants, Schnookie sighed, “If only we had those little plastic garden label things.” That’s when I remembered moving some garbage off the picnic table before moving it to the deck. That garbage, I was fairly certain, contained little plastic garden label things that came free with the peat starter trays. Heh. We may not solve the problems we face in the most efficient manner, but in the end we usually get it right! The tags were removed, and little plastic garden labels added.

For Christmas, Schnookie and I gave Boomer new watering cans, fancy ones, to replace the crappy ones we’d all hated using the last two years. Turns out spending a little extra on a watering can is worth it, as these work like a dream. (At the same time we gave Boomer the watering cans, we gave her ForzaMotorsport2, an Xbox 360 driving game. She and I had played it a bit, driving the starter car, a Volkswagen Golf. On a whim we fired it up last night and fumbled our way into getting enough points that we we awarded a 1961 Jaguar. The thing about these new-fangled computer games is that they’re considerably more sophisticated than the MarioKart of my youth. I stupidly thought the difference between driving the Golf and driving the Jaguar would be the Jaguar would be cooler to look at. I was wrong. Damn, but that Jaguar handles differently than a Golf! And that’s what I felt like using this new watering can. It’s a 1961 Jaguar compared to the Golf watering cans we’ve been struggling with. Watering the garden this summer is going to be like joy-riding in an Aston-Martin!) Schnookie commented, and I agree, that there is something just so very zen about watering plants with a nice steady rainish stream. And when you’re watering in the sun, and there are little beads of sunlit water collecting on fresh green leaves? Well, there’s not much better than that.

One thing that is better than that, though, is seeing the plants you water grow big and strong. The tomatoes weren’t the only seedlings getting a new home today. The onions got to take the new wood-and-glass cold frame (as opposed to the tent-y thing we wrote about earlier; that threatened to blow away in a recent wind-storm and has been relegated back to the garage) out for a spin. We plunked them down outside at around 2:00 or so.

00

The cold-frame supposedly will be about 20 degrees warmer than the outside temperature, meaning cold weather crops (like onions and lettuce) can be put in it starting, well, now. It’s supposed to get wicked cold tonight, so we’ll bring the onions back in for the night, but we figured they might enjoy some fresh air for a few hours today. We were right! Two hours later, we’re all convinced they look considerably perkier.

00

Look at them! They’re ready to be harvested and served alongside some pork and bacon kebabs! Seriously, we’ll be putting them out permanently starting tomorrow, along with the lettuce and the second set of onion seedlings. That’s right. We’ll have plants outside. Spring has certainly sprung. And the Bounteous Bounty is well on its way!

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Filed under 3. March, Garden

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