So Happy Together

Ah, summer. This cucumber, mint, and tomato salad incorporates so many of POD’s favorite things:

6 oz. cherry tomatoes (in this case, Isis Candy, Black Cherry, and Gold Nugget)
5 cucumbers (in this case, boothby blonde and lemon cucumber)
scant tbs. excellent balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt

Tomato Woes, Part I

Brown Black Cherry Leaves

Any experts out there? Anyone who can tell me what kind of ailment this might be? I’ve visited all my usual diagnostic haunts but haven’t come up with anything terribly promising.

Maybe leaf tip burn caused by over-fertilizing? Or maybe it’s the complete opposite and it’s a nutrient deficiency?

This chocolate cherry was planted in organic potting soil, augmented with a handful of worm casings and a couple of crushed eggshells. It has received near-weekly doses of water mixed with fish emulsion fertilizer and a couple servings of diluted milk.

Or, maybe it’s just damage from the gale-force winds and the chilly nights that the little blue deck has been enduring this month?

Should I lay off the weekly feeding? Should I feed them more? Should I stop obsessing and trust they’ll heal themselves? (Riiiight) Help!

Plants On Deck

Today was a busy day for the little blue deck. Tomatoes (Black Cherry, Isis Candy, and Gold Nugget made the cut — alas, my Kellogg’s Breakfast and Dwarf Tims didn’t do so well as seedlings and were scrapped), beans, (more) lettuce, carrots, oregano, basil, and orange cosmos were all planted.

Unfortunately, Philly’s expecting a week of rain and evening lows in the upper 40’s; so it’s not necessarily ideal, but the tomato seedlings were straining at the seams of their seeding container. And this gardener was sick of hardening. If you can wait until next weekend, by all means, do. Anyway, in preparation for the big day the seedlings were doused fairly generously with water so they’d come out of their containers fairly easily — which one hopes will help reduce transplanting trauma.

The cucumber, pepper, and melon seedlings will join rejoin their friends in a week or two, after the evening lows have risen a tad.

Black Cherry Tomato Seedling
Black Cherry and the Knife

This black cherry gets to call the container filled with 28 lbs of Organic Mechanics dirt home for the next 5 months. The soil acclimated to outdoor temperatures for a week and was augmented with a few eggshells for additional calcium, and a few handfuls of worm castings were mixed in as well. To help the seedling free itself from the bonds of its nursery, run the knife around the perimeter of the container and…

Transplanting Black Cherry
Free the Tomato!

…Gently shake the seedling into your hand.

Black Cherry Strips Down

Tomatoes are one of the few fruits (or vegetables) that actually like to be planted below the soil line. That is, below the point where your seedling meets its original dirt. Strip the leaves that will be buried from the stem and set your seedling deep into its pot. This strengthens the primary stalks and roots will sprout from the submerged stem.

Planted Black Cherry Tomato Seedling

Here, the black cherry has been surrounded with luscious seaweed-enriched mulch (to prevent splash back and, one hopes, diseases) and lettuce seeds have been planted around the perimeter of the container.

Planted Black Cherry Tomato Seedling
Caged Black Cherry