And So It Begins...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bird 2012 Heirloom Tomato Crop (Partial)
Ready or not kids -- the 2012 summer gardening season is now swinging into full gear. Got those tomatoes planted yet? Check! What about those cucumber vines? Check! Watermelon and pumpkin seed planted? Check! Green onions? Carrots? Squash? Beets? All in? Good!

Now you can take a trip to the Bird Back 40 and give Bill and the wife that is Venus a hand! I'd like to tell you that the garden planting is all done but truthfully, with a garden this large and this diverse, there is always another seed to plant and another chore to accomplish. Short and sweet? It never seems to end.

I get the most joy out of watching the wife plant the heirloom tomato seedlings that we nurtured through the winter months. I'm still a poor study at that "hardening off" process, with leaves me with starter plants that look like they went through a northern squall before they reached the Backyard of Bird.

First Stage PVC Cage Construction
Rather than those green, leafy, picture-perfect starter plants that you see by the thousands at your local big box stores and area nurseries -- my plants are more like poor cousins. They are the "poster children" so to speak of a grower who turned on full bore sunlight before the plants were ready for the "Full Monty."

No matter I suppose. They look pretty darn good after the wife gets done with planting them. Add in some tender care, a fertilizer supplement or three, lots of prayer and just good fortune and the little darlings look pretty darn good. I was forced to install the first 16 PVC cages before the month of June -- which is a pretty good start by our book.

The First Stupice of 2012
Not only are they growing large, green and lush, nothing brings a smile to an heirloom tomato growers eye more than the site of actual TOMATOES forming on those great looking plants. Tomatoes we have Ladies and Gentlemen. You can always count on the Czech import "Stupice" (Stoo-Peach-Kah) to produce an early bushel. I discovered this after growing this variety for the first time last year. It's back for a second run in 2012.

Venus and I have set about 28 plants into the ground so far and we are slowly clearing out spring garden space for more. Because in the world of heirloom tomatoes, the mathematical equation of "X number of heirloom tomatoes" yields the answer of "Never Enough."

Tomatoes Love Radishes
I wish I could tell you the exact names of every variety I've planted, but that would force me to run outside with a flashlight to read little sticks where the wife has scribbled something closely related to chicken scratch. I would be forced to return with the report that we're growing the varieties of "Blargh" and "Snizzle," which wouldn't be exactly correct.

It's safe to say that we're growing a lot this year -- which includes a lot of new varieties like the Indigo Rose. This isn't exactly heirloom territory. The Indigo Rose is a rather new entry into the world of tomato culture. Recently developed at Oregon State University, Indigo Rose is the first, true "designer tomato" in garden culture if you will. It turns dark purple when ripe and is supposed to contain high levels of antioxidants.

Indigo Rose Tomato
I guess that's supposed to be good for you, right? I'm all for healthy eating. Especially because I don't do nearly enough of it. I do know one thing, however. It probably won't improve the wife's writing. Which means I'm looking forward to my first bite of "Blargh."

All fun and pranks aside, May marks the start of my favorite gardening season. Gardeners dream of a bushel of tomatoes and peppers every summer -- and that elusive goal of making your own fruit salad with everything harvested fresh from the backyard.

A thick slice of freshly harvested beefsteak tomato on my backyard barbequed hamburger? Sounds like healthy eating to me...

No comments: