No more risk of frost!!

Or so says the 15-day weather forecast, which takes us through Mothers Day and our frost-free day. I am thrilled!!! So I’ve gone ahead and transplanted two Silvery Fir heirloom determinates into containers and am hoping to be eating homegrown juicy tomatoes with my Fourth of July burger. They’ll live in the garage at night until I figure out how to keep them out of harm’s way (ie deer.) I hope to get a few other varieties in the beds later today. (I’ll hold a few back just in case the forecast is really wrong.)
We’re heading into our fourth day of temperatures in the 90s, so a lot of the daffodils have wilted. But some of the later-blooming ones, including the gorgeous Tahitis, are looking great.

A Tahiti daffodil
A Tahiti daffodil

Forget-me-nots are blooming, as are the creeping phlox. And the first bearded iris flowerheads are out, so blooms can’t be far behind. Last year, the first one bloomed April 30. Think we’ll match that this year. Plenty of irises to split this summer, though, and plenty to give away to whoever would like some.

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And now for the words

Even if the pictures below are each worth 1,000 words, I have to add a bit of text.
We have more than 150 daffodils blooming along one side of the front walkway, about 65 on the other side. I have no idea how many are packed in what we call the iris bed under the mimosa tree, but I know there are 10 different types and am guessing there are well over 100. Some are past their prime, others have yet to bloom (and yet others, unfortunately, seem to be all leaf. Next year.). More orange-tipped and peach ones are coming out, and the mix is much nicer than an island of one or even two varieties. The front beds could definitely use more orange. Or those beetroot red hyacinths I’ve seen.
The six containers packed with tulips (only way to keep the deer away is to keep them on the porch) are just starting to bloom — a wonderful mix of colors!
The fifth raised bed is finished and filled with top soil, just waiting for the risk of frost to pass (Mother’s Day) so I can get in those tomato seedlings. Much to my surprise, the Brit decided it should be 12 feet, not the 10 feet I was expecting. Room for two more tomatoes! So 22 there shall be, 12 in that bed, eight in another and two in containers. And you think there will be a glut?!? Send your favorite tomato recipes but don’t count on getting any extras. 🙂
We’ve transplanted some salad greens and sown parsley, beet, broccoli raab, bok choi and spinach seeds. Probably something else too.
Next up: mega mulching of the flower beds.

Tomato update

(This is for you, Zoe)
Just counted all the tomato seeds that have germinated — 55, including some Ramapo hybrids that Amy asked us to start for her. Some are still in seed starter, almost ready to move to potting soil, but others could go outside if it was a month later, the risk of frost had past and we’d built that new raised bed (that, at least, is happening soon). Note the prize tomato plant so far:

Our largest tomato plant, a Silvery Fir
Our largest tomato plant, a Silvery Fir

I have room for just 20 plants, so there are plenty of extras for everyone. (And extras of every type too.) So place your requests. And if you ever buy a bicolor yellow heirloom this summer, preferably with red in it, think of the 2010 garden and save a few seeds for me.
Next: basil to go with the tomatoes. Have started the Genovese; lime and Thai to follow.

Basement=greenhouse

Mad growers!
Mad growers!

This is what some of the shelves in our basement have become: a propagating area. Two pairs of fluorescent lights (two different intensities, one daylight, one cool — check the kelvins on the box if you want to try this; the hanging bulb holder attached to the rafters costs about $8 at Lowe’s), as many containers as we can fit under them, placed in plastic containers, generally the lid and bottom of germination sets when not in use that are lined with capilary mats for ease of watering. Lights are on a timer for about 18 hours a day. Below those shelves is a grow mat to heat the bottom of the germination containers (two, each with room for 72 plugs, can fit at a time).
Are we nuts?
The Brit must have 50 zinnias and more than two dozen coleuses under the lights. The first salad greens could be picked and eaten, if we wanted. The first set of tomatoes (Silvery Fir determinates, some Lynn’s Beefsteak indeterminates) are doing well, and I am anxiously waiting for the tomatoes planted a few days ago to germinate: ‘peach’ tomato seeds that we were given, oxheart, orange gold-ball-sized ones that I saved, Brandywine, all the rest of the Cherokee Purple, Super Marmande, cherry tomatoes and German Queen from another seed saver.
And that’s just some of what will start in the basement!
Finally, admire the bird bath we bought yesterday. Finding the right one (something simple, worn-looking) is harder than you’d think.

Open for bird baths
Open for bird baths