Saturday, May 1, 2010

Gardening: Transplanting Tomatoes and Raspberries

It was a dark and gloomy day with occasional teases of sunshine. It didn't matter, I had plants to transplant into happy homes.

A friend of mine got me 2 Heirloom tomato plants from an annual plant sale. They were only $1.95 each. Score! I've never grown Heirloom tomatoes before so I thought, what the heck. She got me a Red Brandywine (top) and a Cherokee Purple (bottom). I transplanted them today. I surrounded them with a wall of water to keep them warm at night. Cross your fingers for me that they'll grow. I'm interested in tasting them as I hear they're mighty tasty tomatoes!
I also finally transplanted my raspberry plant. I bought this guy a few weeks ago at the nursery. Believe it or not, he looks better than he did back then. When I got him, he was just a stick in the ground with 2 leaves on it. I had to find a pot big enough to accommodate him. I hope this is big enough. I didn't want to plant it directly into the ground because they can grow like crazy, just like the blackberry. I didn't want a crazy raspberry patch. I hope he likes his new home.

This is a Meeker Raspberry plant. It's June bearing with large, bright red fruit. The fruit is supposed to have excellent flavor and the plant is vigorous and very productive.
While I was in the yard something did a fly-by on me. It sounded like a big bee. It freaked me out. I turned to see a hummingbird taking a drink at the feeder. I had stopped feeding the birds during the winter. When I started feeding the songbirds, I decided to fill up the hummingbird feeder too. I hadn't seen any around. For a few days I was convinced there weren't any. However, a few weeks ago while I was out in the yard, I saw maybe 4-5 different ones. They all buzzed by, drank their fill and moved on.

For a money-saving tip, make your own hummingbird nectar at home. It's super easy. Just dissolve 1 part sugar in 4 parts boiling water). After it has cooled, the nectar can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Be sure to change the nectar out every 3-5 days to prevent mold. Don't add red food coloring to the nectar. The birds can't tell the difference and it maybe harmful. Never use artificial sweeteners or honey.

Experts say that hummingbirds will choose to starve rather than eat out spoiled nectar. However, to keep them coming back, be sure to clean your hummingbird feeder regularly. Refill and toss old nectar every 2-3 days. If the solution is cloudy, toss it. It's likely spoiled.

Each time you change the nectar, rinse out the feeder with hot water and scrub with a bottle brush. Don't use dishwashing soap (hummingbirds don't like the taste of it and will avoid the feeder). If there's mold inside the feeds, soak in bleach to clean it. It's also a good idea to give the feeder a soak in a mild bleach solution at least once a month.

To make a mild bleach solution, mix 1/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon water. Soak the feeder in this solution for 1 hour, then scrub with a bottle brush. Rinse the feeder well with warm/hot running water, then refill with nectar.

I've continued to see a half dozen different hummingbirds on occasion but I never have my camera handy. They're all different colors. I think there's one that hang out in the tree in my front yard. I can hear him singing every once in a while. Today I just happened to snap these pictures of a very pretty hummingbird.
The rest of the yard is doing well. I think we're all waiting for sunny days. My peony is so close to setting its bloom. I'm excited! They're so pretty!

My fuchsia hanging basket is doing well too. I pinched back the leaves last week and they seem to be sprouting tiny leaves in its place. I'm trying to make the plant bushy and full.
My lavender smell good already. I can't wait till they start to open. The bees are getting impatient too. I see them buzzing by hoping it's soon.

The weigela are also close to blooming. One plant seems to be faster than the other. These flowers were popular with the hummingbirds and bees last year.

My direct sow root vegetable are coming along. Here's some radishes and carrots.

These are radishes and beets.

Topsy Turvy is doing it's magic with the strawberries. Here's some flowers.

The Pretty in Pink variety of strawberry really had pretty pink flowers.

I took down the wall of water on my cherry tomatoes to see how they were doing. They're growing really well except they're getting smashed by the wall of water. Some of the branches are growing down. Oh well at least they're not frostbitten!

Here's some swiss chard I transplanted last weekend. I covered them to keep the flies off but they don't look so hot. I think they need sun so I uncovered them.

Here's an organic seaweed fertilizer I bought online. I decided to try it out. I watered my vegetables with it today. We'll see how it works out.


Jami said...

Oh, Cherokee Purple is my favorite- I'm sure they'll do well for you in the W.O.Ws- anything to keep them from our 36 degrees this morning- yikes! You've got a lot going on and it all looks good-

Thanks for linking to the Tuesday Garden Party!