Let's start off with the three 4 foot x 12 foot raised beds which still have lettuce growing among the tomatoes … or is it the other way around? As the tomato plants grow, I need to put the 4 foot XL Burpee tomato cages around them to hold up the plants. But those darn lettuce plants are in the way. As you may recall, I transplanted quite a bit of lettuce into another 4 foot x 12 foot bed to make room for the tomato plants. Now what to do with their siblings? The solution … give lettuce to everyone I know … friends at church, fellow employees at work, several banks we do business with, my pharmacists, about 10 of my neighbors on the street where I live, my vegetarian hardware friend where I buy most of my plants who absolutely loves lettuce … you name it (I should say them) … they got lettuce … some more than once!
Now let's see how the tomatoes looked three weeks later. The tomatoes have taken over. The Big Boy & Sweet 100 tomato plants are nearing the top (approx. 50 inches) of the XL Red cages. I will need to add the 24 inch extenders so the cages will reach 74 inches. I raised the canopy for the Early Girl, Big Boy & Sweet 100 tomatoes from 6 feet 8 inches (80 inches) to 7 feet 4 inches (88 inches), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar height! Actually he was only 7 feet 2 inches. The Grafted Celebrity & Sunmaster tomato plants have 15 to 20 tomatoes that have set so far. Followed closely by the Celebrity with 8 to 12 tomatoes per plant. Could be a great year for tomatoes. The big variable is the bugs! If I notice leaves being eaten, I look closely for little brown/green worms. We'll see what the next 6 weeks bring! By the second week of June, it will be too hot for tomatoes to set. Sunmaster is supposed to be heat tolerant. We shall see! This is the first year I've planted that variety. By mid July, it will be time to take down the tomato plants. I may add 6 Solar Fire tomato plants in another 3 weeks. They are heat tolerant and should produce tomatoes until mid November or the first freeze.
Let's briefly check on the Bell Peppers & Cucumbers. I covered the Bell Peppers early this year with 30% shade to prevent the sun from burning any exposed peppers. This happens when temps get above 90 degrees. Shouldn't happen for another two weeks or so … better to be safe than sorry they say. And the cucumbers are about to bloom. There are male blooms & female blooms. Need the help of bees to pollinate. Not an issue with tomato & pepper blooms which self pollinate.
Enough about vegetables … how about some flowers … Let's start with the snapdragons which were literally ripped out of a friend's "A Special Garden" (see webpage on memu) May 13 a year ago and the bare roots planted in my garden. Well they survived and did fairly well last year in their new home. One plant actually survived the winter. The others reseeded and voila … you have the beauty pictured below! Alas, the white snaps didn't reseed. But all the other colors did!
Enough writing … just show the pics! By the way, the pansies did look a little down after 88 degree high on April 9 followed by 89 degrees on April 10th. The weather has been cooler since & they have recovered. But their days are numbered. Fortunately, I planted some White Wedding Zinnias seeds on April 19th. They should be ready to transplant into the garden to replace the pansies by the middle of May.