Mainely Mulch trial

I grow my tomatoes in the same beds every year so when I was planting them before a week of wet weather, I knew I needed to find something to mulch with and find it quickly.  Soil borne diseases are the problem when you can’t rotate.  Mulching, to prevent the soil from splashing on the leaves, is a good way to minimize their impact.

Salt marsh hay is the preferred mulch here in New England but almost impossible to find.  Mainely Mulch (you can google it) is what my Agway offered as an alternative so I bought a bale of it.  I applied it just as the rain was coming in, which was probably a good thing.  It’s chopped quite finely and on a dry and windy day, I think it might blow around a lot.  Also, dust, for those of us with tendencies toward asthma might be an issue, too.  The biggest problem, however, is that about three weeks later, it’s full of a particular kind of weed.  Whatever it is does dig down in the soil and breaks off when you pull it.  No way to get the root without seriously disturbing the mulch and that would defeat the purpose.  While it would be difficult to say for sure where these weeds came from, since they are not growing in the areas of the bed that aren’t mulched, circumstantial evidence would say they were imported in it.

Mainley Mulch and weeds
Mainley Mulch and weeds

Lancaster Garden Club Plant Sale

I recently joined a local garden club, with apologies in advance as I don’t have much time to volunteer.  However, I did find time to help with setup of the club’s first ever plant sale on Saturday.  There were so many capable people there that I found time to take some pictures and videos while waiting for someone to tell me how I could help.  I’ve put them together here. 

[wpvideo idw9sEcp]The Choice plants included some really nice woodland flowers; I didn’t buy because I’m still working on cleanup of the garden adjacent to the woodlands.  Hopefully it will inspire me to get the poison ivy cleaned out and to create some growing places for special plants like these.  Assuming the volunteers will have energy enought to do it again; I could tell that it was a lot of work!

Always something to look at

Behind the driveway

I am not a tidy gardener and always experimenting so I almost never have a perfect picture.  But there is always something to look at.  I love the color combination of the chartruese hosta and the dicentra.  The blue hosta helps.  From left to right along the bottom, the hosta are:  Elegans (very large leaf) Hadspens Blue, and the chartruese is one I call Danny Boy.  A neighbor grew it from seed, so technically, it’s a no-name.  It will grow darker through the season and the hosta that’s just above it, a gift from a friend near Toledo,  Paul’s Glory, gets lighter and lighter. It also gets much bigger and fills in where the dicentra dies back.

Updated August 21, 2011.  Notice how Paul’s Glory, upper right in both pictures, has switched colors with “Danny Boy”  on the bottom.   Haspen’s Blue just gets darker blue.

Three hosta
Three hosta

Tomatoes are in the ground

As of yesterday and these may be some of the best starts that I’ve grown.  You can see they have little in common with the ones you buy in sixpacks.  Some of the credit has to go to our weather.  The storm that churned around in the ocean for a week or so didn’t come this far inland but it did create some substantial winds.  Which made for some very sturdy stems on the tomatoes as they hardened off.

So it’s a couple of weeks earlier than I would normally plant them but they look ready and the nights are forecasted around the 50s for the next two weeks.  Days not a lot warmer but warm enough.  With all of the rain in the forecast I need to get them mulched.  I do not have room to rotate tomatoes and most diseases that bother tomatoes are overwintered in the soil.  Mulching will keep the rain from splashing the spoors back up onto the leaves.

As always, I have more plants than room and a couple of the tomatoes jumped into the new asparagus bed when I wasn’t paying attention.  Naughty; naughty. 

The tomato in the picture is Black Krim, a favorite of mine for both color and flavor.  I hope that either the Pineapple or Virginia Sweets will act as a beautiful contrast on the plate.

Varieties I’ve planted

Old favorites:

  • SuperSweet 100
  • Sun Gold
  • Yellow Pear
  • Black Krim
  • Brandywine (Suddith’s Strain)
  • Pineapple


  • Black Cherry (I’ve grown Black Prince but it was a bit larger and slower to ripen than I like.)
  • Green Envy (Never grown a green that I thought was worth the effort.  Trying again.)
  • Lemon Cherry
  • Balls Beefsteak and Chapman (I’m still looking for a reliable, high producing, red beefsteak)
  • Virginia Sweets (a red/yellow bicolor)