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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Busy As Bees We Is, Part 1

This is one on the busiest times of year for me in the yard and garden (the "Yarden").  No matter how I try to organize things, the week around the average last frost day of the year has too much to do.  This year (someone hit me with a "stupid stick"), I added to it.  I bought more flowers to plant.

In the past few days, I did too much and every joint and muscle is sore (I Love Ibuprofen and non-smelly muscle rub).  But I think I've gotten over the hump for this year, so I have time to post about it. 

First, I should say that I am not a very efficient user of time these days.  Oh, in the office, I was great at it.  I could multi-task with the best.  Switching from scrolling through telephone call data to answering a telephone question from a regional office, to joining a quick meeting on some other subject, no problem.  I was at the office and that was all I was doing.  Office stuff.

Second, at home, forget it!  I'm in bed 10 hours to get 7 hours sleep, I spend a lot of time preparing fresh meals, I play with the cats, I watch some TV in the evening (political commentary, baseball, documentaries).  I have to fit all the yard and house work around those.

When I plant stuff outside, I am very detailed.  Take planting tomato seedlings, for example.  I don't just jam a trowel into the dirt and stick a rootball in there.  No...  I dig a hole a foot wide and deep.  I put a handful of compost in the hole, add a sprinkle of crushed eggshells I saved (to reduce blossom-end rot), add sprinkle of 2-6-6 fertilizer (for stem and root growth - the compost provides the nitrogen).  I add the lovingly-grown tomato seedling, add a mix of compost and topsoil, and repeat that 2x until the seedling is buried with only the top leaves showing (tomatoes will grow roots from all buried stem). 

Then I form a wall around the seedling to hold water and stick a metal label in the ground with the variety name on it.  Then I put in a 3' stake to hold the seedling as it grows, and go on to the next seedling.  When I finish a row of tomato seedlings (3, 4, 5 whatever fits in the space).  Then I cut holes in a red IRT plastic fabric that both suppresses weeds AND reflects red light upward into the tomato plants (increases yields about 10-20% - I need all the help I can get with my limited sunlight). 

Then I place heavy-duty wire cages over each seedling.  Forget those cheap flimsy tomato cages they sell in catalogs.  Mine are made of concrete reinforcement  wire mesh.  The openings are 6" square, and the cages are 24" diameter and 5' tall.  Each cafe is then anchored in place with a 6' metal stake pounded at least a foot deep to prevent summer storms from blowing the mature plants in the cages over. 

And I'm doing all that rather bent over perched on a piece of plywood to distribute my weight so I don't compact the lovely soil around them!  It takes about 20 minutes per seedling overall from start to finish and I'm in awkward positions most of the time. 

That's the difference between a hobby and a business, LOL!

So, over the past few days, I planted 12 tomato seedlings - 4 hours just for that.  But they are good to go for the season...

Part 2 tomorrow...

1 comment:

Megan said...

Well, you're committed to excellent, Mark, and that's gotta be a good thing. How about a pic of the seedlings?

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