Friday, April 10, 2009

My first SWC completly built and planted/ Weather Rant

Last week the weather stayed warm enough ( and hubby felt well enough) to finally sit outside and help me assemble a SWC, make some planting mix and fill/plant it. Hooray, 1 down, a bunch more to go. ( in these photos the soil lvl is a little low, I went and mixed up some more then filled the bins to the brim. )

I need to have hubby go buy and cut me some more PVC pipe for the watering tubes. I had 4 already cut to 2ft lengths ready to go but to save my life I have no idea where I put them, they arent outside where I thought I had them, and no one else has seen them either. Bah. Once I get those the other bins are cut, drilled, and ready to assemble.

I just hope these SWCs drain well enough internally. I'm concerned because when I dissassembled the first "prototype" SWC I built the potting soil at the bottom of the SWC was moist but had the most aweful smell! It was that stinky anerobic bacteria smell from the water stagnating in the bin for 2 weeks. I have a drainage hole in it but I guess somehow that bottom layer of dirt wasnt waterlogged except what was in the wicking basket but phew did it reek. I thought anerobic bacteria was bad news for plants and/or a sign of poor drainage, so I'm hoping waiting to fill the SWCs with dirt until I can put plants in at the same time will help so the tomatos get their roots down deep quickly to keep air and moisture moving thru the soil. *crosses fingers*

I am saving the cages for the indeterminate varieties, and hoping they thrive as well as everyones photos show they do. I am especially hoping the 'carmelo' and 'cherokee purple' tomatos do well, everytime I read people's great reviews of them my mouth starts to water.

These tomatoes I planted in my first SWC are "Jaune Flamme", and indeterminate that yields small, intensely flavored persimmon colored tomatos that supposedly make wonderful dried tomatos.

This week the weather has been a bit of a disappointment, it suddenly got stormy again and cold- it was down to 48 the other night and I was terrified my seedlings were gonna die, but so far they seem to have hardened up enough to be handling these chilly spring temps we've been getting. I have them against a south wall thats out of the direct wind. They are just starting to get a bit yellowed at the bottom where they are outgrowing the peat pots I planted them up in. They need to be in their permanent homes soon.
I am really boggled by our Spring weather this year. Usually the Los Angeles area doesnt get much of a spring- usually its just 80 degrees instead of 100. Last 2 years it was already in the 70s and 80s weeks before the spring frost date. I planted my tomatoes in the begining of March with few problems and was harvesting my first basketful of cherrys around June. This year the spring frost date was between Mid March- Early April but even now I'm nervous to set them out in their planters for fear we'll get another one of these freak storms which isnt really a storm: no rain, just cloudy, cold wind and cold nights. The plants aren't as large or vigerous either, only about a foot tall and rather leggy even tho they are in the sunniest part of the deck, the sun's warmth hasnt felt very intense at all with all the haze and clouds. We had that freak week of 90ish degree weather in October, and it hasnt been that warm since. Very odd for around here.
I can normally count on Jan-Feb having some rain and cold 50-60 degree says mixed in with 80 degree days, then in March & April it quickly warms up to the 70s & 80s and everything planted takes off and gets well settled before the heat sets in. May/June we get some " June Gloom" of odd cloudy haze from the marine layer getting trapped over the valley then my Jun-August its full on summer with 90-110 being the common highs. September it stays in the 90s, October/November is 80s-90s, then December is the coolest month averaging about 65.
My Birthday is Jan 3 and for the last 5 years 4/5 it was hot enough to have a BBQ and a pool party outside, all except this year. Bizare.
C'mon Sun, come back! My tomatoes & basil are waiting for you!

1 comment:

Sinfonian said...

Looking good! We're building ours tomorrow. Makes me want to make sure the drain hole is low enough to allow for air at the top of the reservoir. Not sure but that could be the issue. My SWC never smelled last year.

Keep up the great work!