Still too cool

So much for nuclear power. I guess since coal is no longer correct and we’ve quit drilling for oil and gas, up go the windmills. Uh huh.

I’ll be a bachelor again for a couple of days. Tom is taking Nancy to see some pre-season baseball down south. My plan is to fish my little heart out. It’s going to be a bit cool but nice and sunny. This is the bedding season for largemouth so I’ll probably be into some serious action. I got one earlier today that was between 5 an 7 pounds with a big, egg laden belly. Luckily for me, she decided to make a run for deeper water and towed the poke boat away from the shore. Had she gone the other way into the lily pads, no doubt I’d have lost the fish. This is the biggest one I’ve landed this season – lost some that I know were quite a bit bigger.

The gurus say that in our zone the date of the last frost is March 20. But it’s been a bit warmer than usual for the past 3-4 weeks so seemed to me like the danger was past. Nope. Looks like some chance of frost for the next 3 nights so I’m covering up all the tender stuff (not too much right now) and bringing in the seedlings I’ve been hardening off on the porch. I’m really not too worried about the garden but would hate to see the young foliage on the citrus trees to get hit.

I noticed some blossoms on one tomato plant and on a couple of the Yukon Golds today. That surprises me because those particular potatoes were the last planted, about 6 weeks ago, and I wouldn’t have expected to see blossoms for at least another 6 weeks and more likely 10 weeks. What also surprised me was that the plants with the blossoms are among the last planted. Those particular plants had not germinated at the time of the cold snap in early February so maybe the earlier ones were set back when the foliage was frost burned. I have no idea what the (time) relationship is between blossoms and tubers forming underground.

I now have a dozen tomato plants in the garden comprising three varieties. You might wonder why anyone would need a dozen plants. Well the truth is that last year I started a dozen and ended up with three. Between critters and weather, I haven’t had a good track record for producing tomatoes. I learned plenty of tricks along the way – like putting egg shells in the hole before planting – but so far the results would not lead you to believe the farmer knows what he’s doing. This year will be different. One reason I believe that to be true is that the plants I put in last September grew beautifully and were loaded with fruit when the early freeze hit and wiped me out. If it had been a normal year, we’d have had a record harvest. Another precaution I’m taking this year is to distribute the plants all around the garden rather than co-locating them. My theory is that if something nails one plant, the spatial differences could keep it from happening to others. Also the soil is not homogenous so by spreading them around, if the conditions aren’t optimum in one location, then another will likely be totally different. Here’s the thing – people expect you to be able to grow tomatoes. They are wowed with Brussels and chinese cabbage but if you can’t produce tomatoes, you’re bush league. If you only have space to grow one plant, it has to be a tomato plant. That may be changing a little because, for whatever reason, everybody I know that tries to garden is bending their pick on tomatoes and have been for the past few years.

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