The weather prediction looks perfect for newly transplanted seedlings over the next week: rainy or cloudy, never too hot or cold. I had been “hardening off” the early tomatoes since Thursday, i.e. putting them outside in a shady spot so they can get used to temperature fluctuations and the higher levels of light. There was some other business to take care of first, however.
On Saturday, we harvested the rest of the kale. Some went into the freezer to be used later in soups, and some was baked with olive oil and seasonings to make a crunchy, chewy sort of kale “chip.” The kale was making flower buds, so it had to be harvested now or it might become tough and bitter. This happens with mustard greens, so I expect it would be a problem with kale, although I’ve never left it in the garden long enough to find out.
With the kale gone, I could prep raised bed number three on Sunday (April 28th). Garden beds one, two, and four have already been prepared and partially planted, so this is the last vegetable bed to be prepared. As before, I dug the soil with a garden fork, raked it out flat, and used the garden rake to make dikes around the edges. Something that I did differently in this bed was to add about seven pounds (three kilograms) of gypsum and rake that in. Gypsum contains calcium; a lack of calcium can cause blossom end rot in tomatoes. I also added about twenty pounds of cow manure (1-1-1 N-P-K analysis) and two pounds of 5-10-10 fertilizer. Finally, I covered the garden bed with landscape fabric. Rocks around the edges help hold down the fabric until the bed is fully planted; the plastic stakes will pull out in a wind storm.
The early tomatoes are actually four plants together in one pot. I was afraid that they would be root-bound because the plants had grown very large in their pot, but they weren’t too bad. I used my fingers to separate the roots around the outside of the soil ball before I transplanted the tomatoes. For a series of photos showing how this is done, see my post where I transplant the rest of the tomato seedlings. I put a tomato cage around the plants and secured it to an electric fence post with some orange twine string.