Tomato planting, burying the
stem half way up
May in the Trial Garden
by Lindsay Del Carlo, Trial Garden Manager
Many of the spring sown varieties in our trial garden are starting to grow
actively; there are lettuces in a myriad of different shapes and colors like our
tall, crisp romaine lettuce 'Jericho', and sweet, tender butterhead lettuce
‘Kagraner Sommer’, frilly red Lettuce ‘Redina’ and Heirloom Cutting Mix, all
varieties in Renee’s Garden organic seed line available this fall. The organic
leeks have tall, deep green tops and long, juicy white shanks. We just
started to harvest them. There is such an abundance that the ones we do not make
into soup, quiche or some other tasty dish, we will be slicing up to freeze for
One of the most impressive trial varieties so far this spring is a fine broccoli
variety, ‘Gypsy’. It is ready to harvest just three months from sowing and
transplanting, producing gigantic, sweet and tender blue-green broccoli heads.
After the huge initial head is cut, plants will continue to produce many side
shoots. We will also grow Gypsy again for late fall harvest to see how it does
at the other end of the season.
In another part of the garden, we are gearing up for main crop summer tomatoes.
We first amend the growing beds with compost, and with each plant we add 1 cup
of Sustane, our favorite organic granular fertilizer, and 1/4 cup of earthworm
castings for extra nutrients. Each plant is buried half way up the stem which
causes it to sprout roots where it is underground. This helps the plant uptake
more nutrients because it has more roots, and aids it’s stability in the wind.
We will then train them onto our tomato fence, a method that we tried last
season that worked brilliantly. We planted our tomato seedlings in one long row,
then ran a roll of 6 ft tall wire fencing that rests at the base of the plants,
then lays diagonally and rests on sturdy posts, with the fencing supported every
5 ft with bamboo. This helps these large plants spread out, provides
better air circulation and sun exposure, and, very importantly, makes harvesting
Heirloom Lettuce Cutting Mix
Lots of Organic Leeks