The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Tomato planting day

Transplanting tomatoes

The long-range forecast said "Summer!" (i.e. no lows below 50 for the next 10 days).  Time for my favorite day of the year --- Tomato Day!

Tomato mounds

Twenty-four romas went into my small-scale chinampas.  Since the transplants were bigger than usual, I used a post-hole digger to make relatively deep holes to sink the plants quite a ways into the earth.  These guys will need hand-watering for a week or two until their roots tap into the high groundwater in this area (which is currently right at the aisle surface even though the rest of the farms is pretty dry).  After that, I hope they'll get the best of both worlds --- subirrigation will keep the plants hydrated, but the leaves will stay dry.

The field of rye you can see at my back in the photo above is going to become one more tomato row after the cover crops bloom and are cut in a week or two.  In the meantime, I'll probably pot up the transplants that are ear-marked for that row so that they can keep growing during the intervening time period.

String training tomatoes

String trellisTwo tomatoes went into the hot microclimate in front of the trailer, where I'll experiment with training them using the string trellis system.  (The plastic trellis in the background is holding up some young peas, which will hopefully be done fruiting by the time the tomatoes really fill this space.)  These tomatoes have a head start since one is Daddy's ultra-early-started tomato and the other is a Stupice (our earliest-fruiting variety).  Only time will tell whether the location and trellis system will turn that head start into very early tomatoes.

As a final side note, I realized that the baby grape who survived the rash of winter-kill was the one in this hot microclimate surrounded by rocks.  Maybe this spot really is a zone warmer than the surrounding farm!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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