Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mr. P. & Tomatoes & Peppers

Well, we managed to carry out my neighbour Mr P.'s instructions more or less to his satisfaction by the end of the week.

It took Monkey Man many days to get around to taking out the kids' slide. But now that he has, I have more veggie space. Yippee! Is it wrong for me to get excited when the kids grow up and relinquish more of the garden space for me?

The state of my garden must have been worrying Mr. P. because following my last post he visited and told me that an idea had come to him in his sleep. My soil was not up to scratch. He informed me that I needed to organise Romeo. (Romeo is Mr.P.'s nickname for Monkey Man - who is still a playboy in Mr. P.s eyes despite being married to me for 10 years.) Anyway, I needed to organise Monkey Man to dig up the soil on his vacant goat block and to wheel at least 6 barrow loads full of it to deposit on my tomato patch. And this needed to happen on Sunday morning. Now Monkey Man is a musician and he has gigs on Saturday nights and he doesn't get to bed til 4am on a Sunday morning. So it goes without saying that Monkey Man was mighty unimpressed with Mr.P.'s instructions. Come Sunday morning I let him sleep for a few hours and started the digging myself with a little help from Eldest Monkey Boy. And I received a compliment (I think it was a compliment) from Mr. P. that I "should have been born a boy".

Anyway, by lunchtime Monkey Man had woken bleary eyed, eaten his muesli and came to help. By the end of the day, the kids' slide had been removed and the tomato patch soil level had risen. And on Monday night Mr. P. came over with a bunch of tomato and pepper seedlings and planted them all over the place for me.

I learnt a few more things from Mr. P. about tomatoes. Firstly, because we had too many seedlings and some of them were looking wilty, Mr. P. suggested we plant two in the one spot and and then pull one out later - keeping the "master". Mr. P. also first plants his tomato seedlings in little trenches. This is so the water can get to them at the beginning. As they grow, and to help them get stronger, he gradually pushes the soil up around them until they are on little hills and the trenches are either side for the water.
tomato seedlings (only the master will be kept) in a trench
hilled up tomato seedlings with mulch
Mr. P. and I also discovered that my veggie patches are extremely dry. And that I don't know how to water. I thought I'd been giving everything a good drink but when I was done Mr. P. pushed aside the dirt (something I never do) and everything was bone dry! My watering was barely penetrating the surface. Mr. P. gave me remedial lessons in watering which involved holding the hose right to the ground where the seedling is planted and virtually drowning the thing.

So, now I have a load of tomato seedlings planted much more closely than I would have thought right. And they have damp soil. And I have masses of peppers. I don't know what sort of peppers they are because Mr. P. wasn't sure himself - except to say that they would be beautiful. I sure hope they turn into red capsicum or chilli plants 'cos I am not at all fond of any other peppers.


  1. You are so lucky to have this lovely man for a neighbour. He is worth his weight in cocky feathers,or should I say peppers.:) Sounds wonderful

  2. Ooooo! It makes me feel so much better that you have just planted tomatoes and capsicums out...I haven't any in the garden yet!

  3. See, what a fabulous neighbour he is....Italian man tomato seedlings...I am a little envious Mrs Vegie.....sounds like he gave you more info in a day than my FIL has given me in all the time Ive known him.....although, half the time I am a bit unsure of what he has said to me have to listen realllly well.
    And that in fact was a great compliment....Old Italians think that it is strange that us skip girls want to garden..............

  4. Awwwwwwwwwwwww so very sweet! All that good goat poop. Good man is your Mr P. I often think myself I should have been born a boy. Keep that water up! 32 this saturday!! (woo hoo!!!!!)

  5. I am loving these 'Mr P ' stories . I wish he would come and live next door to me! How lovely that you have invited this man into your lives, I am sure he is enjoying your family's company as much as you are enjoying his extensive knowledge. Stories like this me of that community is such an important part of our lives and we are lucky if we get to experience it.

  6. That Mr.P knows a thing or two about gardening I think. Great neighbour to have!

  7. I do like his trench idea very much, it would certainly help with my watering which I suspect is remedial as well. I shall dig around my plants tomorrow to see how much good I'm doing..... It is seems really dry at the moment, the parks locally all seem to be turning brown.

  8. Bless that Mr P and all his tips and help. If you are having trouble with the water getting into the soil your soil might have become water retardant. You can buy soil wetting agent in either a liquid that you water on or in a granular mix. I found that I had to use this and I have had not trouble with the water getting through since. The extra organic matter from the goat poo should help.

  9. Sounds like Mr.P is slowly taking over your garden VG. Better watch out, he'll be wheedling his way into the kitchen next!

  10. Sounds like you have a fantastic neighbour! I have finally convinced my well meaning neighbour that I don't need my veggies secretly sprayed (there's no fence between properties) and for the first time have so many ladybirds in my garden it's amazing!!

  11. Great post VG, lucky girl to have such a wonderful neighbor, will be interesting to see what your pepper seedlings turn into. I can imagine Mr P has a special sauce recipe for your tomato crop too !


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