I’m Late, I’m Late for a Very Important Date, Or Am I: Is the Garden Planted?

June 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Right now, it’s all about the weather. It’s been hot. It’s been cold. It’s been wet. I mean the kind of wet that washes seeds away before they take root wet.

It’s all just a reminder that it’s still spring! While we like to mark the beginning of summer with Memorial Day ( the first warm, sunny one I can remember having here in a very long time) it’s still spring until June 21st this year. That’s right, we have almost two weeks left of spring, which seems to have worked out to my advantage for planting. I’ve gotten a late start, how’s that for irony a newly tested Master Gardener Intern and…nothing planted until the end of last month. In fact, I’ve felt like a day trader, except I’m constantly looking at the weather forecasts instead of whatever they monitor.

I’m trying to accommodate the forecast highs and lows, right up to the solstice. Perhaps a great gift for a gardener could very well be the premium service on accuweather.com or some other weather forecast site. I’ve used this information to delay planting my very tender eggplant and tomato seedlings.

Very tender vegetables are those that don’t manage to thrive when temperatures are too cool. Eggplants and tomatoes won’t grow if it drops below the mid-50’s. While we’ve had some record breaking warm days, we’ve also had those same days coupled with extraordinarily cool nights in the 50’s and below.

As of right now, only one variety of tomato (I’m planting five at home in the Earthboxes) has been planted. It’s the only non-heirloom variety I’m planting. It’s also the only variety that I didn’t grow from seed (I think I will grow from seed next year, but tomato seedlings can be tricky). Sungolds. Have you seen them? Have you tasted them? This tomato is perfect. We keep them in a basket on the counter and eat them like grapes. This tomato is the gateway vegetable. It’s the one you give to children and grown-ups who despise vegetables. Believe it or not, I didn’t like raw tomatoes growing up. That’s because I’d tried so many watery and mushy ones as a child that I just thought tomatoes just weren’t for me. Once you try this low-acid and down-right grapey and firm sweet tomato you will be hooked.

It’s also one of the earliest producing tomatoes and one of the most prolific. At one point last summer, it looked like our gangway was littered in these sweet fruit that had fallen off the bush before we picked them. Maybe this year I will use a few to put up some preserves. It’s difficult to imagine cooking these tomatoes because it’s difficult to pick them without eating them as you pick them.

A bunch of Sungold tomatoes

A bunch of Sungold tomatoes