Monday, May 19, 2008

Gentlemen, Start Your Tomatoes

I didn't recall how difficult it is to build things on a sidewalk in NYC. Take the moment when I cut myself with the pullsaw and hesitated to run in and get a paper towel and bandage because I didn't want to leave the chop saw and drill on the sidewalk! Finally, I took my chances and stopped the bleeding.
scrap poplar, scrap redwood, and new pine boxes

I made three boxes today, out there on the sidewalk. Rain continued to threaten, sometimes sprinkling. But somehow I managed three boxes, two from scrap wood and one from wood I bought. I have about five more boxes to go and the new vegetable garden will be complete. I've already planted up three new tomato starts.

I'm not much for seed-starting while living in the city; no room and I hate tossing all those extras. So I like to buy good-sized starts. Last week I found the two tomato varieties I had been buying at the farmer's market last summer to the tune of $4.50 a pound. They are Brandywine and Striped German, and although there were other varieties to be had, I needed to be disciplined. I bought only these two starts.

Brandywine and Striped German tomato starts and basil fourpack

This vendor at the Borough Hall farmer's market was selling these starts for only $1.00 each! What a price -and these plants were about 8 inches tall. The container they were in was tiny, but they looked healthy. With tomatoes I do not worry much about this because I'm going to pluck off the lower leaves and plant those babies deep in the soil so that they root from the stem as well as the roots.

I think its important for NYC nurseries to sell single starts as well as the four and six packs. I don't know what I would do with four or six -I barely have space for one! I went to four nurseries this past weekend and vegetable starts were running from $2.50 to $4.00 for individual plants. I bought one last variety at Gowanus Nursery, a San Marzano plum type. Just one.

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