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Friday PhotoEssay

Herb Day is tomorrow, so come on out and buy your herbs for the summer, eat some good food, and attend seminars on herbs and pollinators.

I continue t be amazed by how many strawberries are on the plants this spring. I almost think the plants might have too many berries. We’ll have to make sure to give them a little fertilizer in mid-summer when the fruiting slows down.

The black raspberries are also in the process of blooming. It is really easy to miss the fact that they’re blooming, because the flowers aren’t all that big and showy. They are even smaller than red raspberry flowers. Of course, the fruit tend to be smaller too.

The potatoes in the Family of 4 Garden are growing quite rapidly. It’s not quite a potato jungle yet, but I think it could get there by the time they are full grown.

I know I’ve posted at least one cabbage picture every week now, but the blue-green leaves are so pretty and the pointed heads are just too cool.

The grafted tomatoes are finally big enough that the clips are starting to come off. Can you tell where this plant was grafted? I’m not sure you would notice if you didn’t know to look for it.

These four lettuces are looking great. I really like the contrast of colors and textures.

Have a great weekend!

Two Days After Grafting

We took a peak under the plastic this afternoon after the Demonstration Garden meeting. We had to get together and share all the plans for the garden. It was exciting!

They are looking good! One of them is still looking a little bit droopy, but the rest of them look a lot better than I expected them to look.

(I have to admit, I’m going to be a tiny bit disappointed if they all survive…What will I do with 7 tomato plants in February?!?)

Tomato Grafting, Attempt 1

Nothing like a beautiful snowy day to take my first shot at grafting tomatoes. I started the seeds 2 weeks ago, so I absolutely had to get the grafting done today. Some of the plants were really too big, which I suspect will be problematic for success in this batch of grafted plants. (To see the background on Tomato Grafting, visit this post.)

I collected the materials: the plants, black garbage bags, a scalpel, the clips, latex gloves, antibacterial soap, pre-written plant labels.

Here’s a picture of the clips. I had both 1.5 mm and 2.0 mm grafting clips. It was a good thing I had both sizes, because I needed them!

I washed my hands and the scalpel, put on the gloves, and got ready to graft. I didn’t take any step by step pictures for you. Maybe next time. I can definitely show you the carnage though.

These are all the tops of the rootstock tomatoes and the bottoms of the grafted scion varieties.

The grafted plants, complete with labels. I had one casualty while grafting. I cut the rootstock too low and the scion (the top part) split in the clip. Oh well. One total loss of eight isn’t terrible for the first time. (So far.)

Here’s a closer look at one of the grafts. This one doesn’t look like the top and bottom are quite the same size. It’s hard to tell with the different colors.

After the grafting was finished, I put the plants into my extremely rudimentary healing chamber. It needs to be dark (black garbage bags), 90-95% humidity (plastic bags), 70-80 degrees (under the lights in my office). According to the literature, any grafted plants that are not wilted after a day or two will probably survive and develop healed grafts. We should see the results by the end of the week.

Honestly, I’ll be surprised if more than a couple of them make it. Here’s why:

1. I think most of the plants were too big…too big for the clips anyway. I should have done the grafting last Friday.

2. I didn’t get great matching of stem sizes between the tops and bottoms. Only a few of the grafts really matched well.

2b. I didn’t do a great job getting the same angle of cut on both the top and the bottom. I probably should have done a straight cut rather than trying to be fancy.

3. My healing chamber is extremely low-tech. It doesn’t control the conditions very well. I might need to go for something a little more professional than sticks and the cheapest possible black garbage bags.

I’ll try to post more pictures later this week!