Monday, April 22, 2013

Tomato Tips and the Ultimate Trip

It's Earth Day. Tiny flakes of snow fall quietly outside my window on this dull, grey Monday morning.

I got online for a brief moment but everyone is posting 'Take Action!' pictures and pledges on Facebook, so I decided to disconnect ~ until accusations over who's ruining Mother Earth simmer down a bit.

I'm jaded. Yes, absolutely very jaded. Always have been. Always will be. (Especially on Mondays!)

I do think it's wonderful that we have this day, that inspires so many people to take action, raise awareness, change their habits. I wish I could hop on the Earth Day bandwagon and be all hopeful and optimistic. It's just that I never see any real improvement.

And, I also believe the primary culprit is global population, not the fact that we Americans drive cars that drink too much gas.

But, things are looking up! I saw this little ditty in the paper and thought to myself: Ah ha! Now you're talking!  If there's too many peeps on Earth, let's send a few yahoos to Mars!

They're serious. They already have 1,000+ applications. But, where is the white picket fence?
Note the fine print...
A nonprofit that aims to send the first human colonists to Mars by 2023 will start taking applications in July of this year. Previous training in space travel is not required, nor is a science degree of any sort, but applicants do need to be at least 18 years of age and willing to leave Earth forever. As of now, a flight back to Earth is not part of the Mars One business model.
So, back to that snow outside my office window. Which comes later and later, every year. I'll not complain about the snow because we're in desperate need of moisture but it is messing with safe planting dates in a big way.


Safe planting date in Park City, UT at 7,000 feet is June 15th. Yup. The growing season is half over in normal places and we're just getting started.

What does this mean if you're high up in the mountains and you're hell bent on growing tomatoes?

Grow Veggies in containers. 
* Tomatoes need warm nights in order to wow you with a delightful harvest. When temps drop below 50 degrees (F) tomatoes switch sugar production and you'll end up with totally tasteless tomatoes ~ just like the ones you buy in the supermarket.

Who says you can't control the weather?
Drag those containers indoors, on a super cold night, and thumb your nose at Mean Ass Mother Nature! Move them to a sunnier spot whenever you please. If you love homegrown veggies and you also love the mountains, learn to love containers.

One More Hot Tip:
* Do not go running off to Home Depot to buy a gigantic bag of Miracle-Gro potting soil, in which to plant those tempting little tomatoes. You're planning to eat these goodies. Miracle-Gro and other chemical, synthetic fertilizers, are prohibited from use in certified-organic farming. Amend garden soil with compost and perlite to create a lighter soil mixture, with better water retention.

Well, that's all from here. Have a happy Earth Day and don't forget to send that application to go live on Mars ~ to all those people in your life who need a smack upside the head.

Much love,


Janie said...

I'll pass on the trip to Mars.
I was in college when Earth Day was first celebrated. Sadly, we're still headed in the wrong direction.
We've had our plants frozen in the first week of June, here at 5100 ft.

Anonymous said...

I live at 8000 ft in n New Mexico and pretty much everything is getting planted in containers this year. It is just too dry to water the ground. I do have a few hardy daylilies and iris that do ok with an occasionall splash there way, but my roses and any others are going in containers. Tomatoes like egg shells in the bottom of the little milk jug thing we do too.
I really use to think and still do at times that there at just way too many people on this planet until I saw this piece by National Geographic so I thought I would share it with you .
It made me feel a bit better anyway. Have a great day despite the gloom (we are about to be blown to Mars over here in Taos),

Gail said...

It is suppose to get down to 10 tonight here at 4600 so my plants in my unheated greenhouse are covered with sheets, in hopes of protecting them. Sigh. We can plant out our tomatoes about June 1. I put them out early in wall-O-waters.

Marguerite said...

I like that they bolded and underlined the forever bit - but you know the yahoos still won't read the fine print.

Melospiza said...

Heh. I can think of a few folks I'd like to send an application to.

And after a spring like we lowlanders have had here this year, I'm thinking I might need to plant my entire yard in containers. It could work.