The Unconventional Tomato

May 15th Update: New Gate & Sod Cutting the Old Fashioned Way

Last year I had huge germination problems with sweet corn. After sowing countless seeds of Ambrosia and Bodacious in the loose, friable soil I’d established at the remote garden and getting virtually no result, I tried planting some in the recently tilled hardpan Carolina clay. I waited with skepticism and was shocked to see every single seedling come up. I had to thin them because I had planted two seeds per hole. While tomatoes and peppers might enjoy loose, fluffy soil loaded with peat or coir, corn seems to prefer concrete.

In Houston when I needed to clear garden space for a new raised bed, I would visit the nearest big box store and borrow a Sod Cutter. It’s a self-propelled device that saws the top inch of soil off the ground so that the grass can be neatly rolled up and transferred somewhere else. The one I had rented weighed about 100 lbs and could be loaded, with difficulty, into my SUV. Sod must be serious business in the Carolinas because the two places I checked here (Home Depot and United Rental) only had an industrial grade unit that weighed upwards of 350 lbs. I had no choice but to go old school and use a shovel (and a few choice words in the process).

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In other news, I was not satisfied with the garden Gate I built, specifically the 6 foot posts that supported it. When opened or closed, it wobbled dangerously. So I went back to formula and built a new gate of thicker material and drove 8 foot T-posts into the ground for more stability. I’m very pleased with the result.