May 3 was officially tomato day for 2009 as all of the tomato plants that I've been nurturing along since March were finally planted out in the garden. Here are all 10 of the plants sitting back by the shed, ready for planting.
There are two beds that I prepped for the tomatos, with 5 plants going in each. I decided that, since there were two seperate areas I would prepare each area a little bit differently as a comparision test over the course of the summer. The first bed I prepared by buying bags of mushroom compost and topsoil from a local garden shop and incorporating them into the soil. This more traditional method should insure that the bed is really fertile and rich for growing some serious tomatos. On the downside though it was fairly labor intensive because I had to dig the materials in, and it also was more expensive from having to purchase the bags at the store. This is the first bed prepped and with the tomato stakes in place:
The second bed I prepared using a version of the "no-dig" technique. I did not add any extra materials to the soil and, with the exception of pulling some weeds, left the bed largely untouched. What I did do though is spread a 2-3 inch layer of chopped leaf mulch over the top of the bed. This method was less labor intensive, and less expensive, then the first bed as I already have a big pile of leaves in the yard and just had to spread them out over the soil. The idea here is that the leaves will act as mulch (retaining moisture, blocking out weeds) and will eventually decompose into the soil adding to it's fertility. I am pretty sure that this technique is healthier for the soil in the long term, but I'm interested to see how the two techniques will stand up against each other in the first year. We'll see!
Here is the second bed prepped:
Yesterday was a wet day, it wasn't raining as I was planting but everything was pretty soaked. Here are the two beds with the plants in place.
Closeups of both beds. The 'No-Dig' bed:
The traditionaly prepared bed:
As for the other things growing in the garden. Here are some tiny carrots coming up.
All of the lettuce types are doing well.
And the first beans poking up.
Haven't seen any sign of the potatoes yet, but hopefully they'll emerge soon. The peas are growing safely in their enclosure and will soon be scrambling up the trellis.
Looks like more rain this week.