Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tomato Humble Pie

I may have come off like a know-it-all gardener.  My apologies.  I had to admit some mistakes today.

See, my Early Girl has had fruit since the last week of June.  I was excited, thinking I would get to have my first tomato on July 4, like most years.  Not.  Few issues.

First, I didn't quite have the directions quite right when I drew up my plan.  Rather than the front of the row of tomatoes catching the morning sun and the back of the row basking in the afternoon sun... I am off enough that some plants are pretty much in part-shade, rather than full sun.  That would not be the end of the world, except...

Second, my mini-ecosystem method created a jungle, which is fine...when it is getting the sun properly, and when the zuke isn't growing ever taller nearby, and the butternut squash isn't sending up shooters into the tomato trellises.  Instead, I have part-shade+ inside the row, and the indeterminate plants are shooting legs everywhere attempting to get the proper sun, which shades further the plant next to it.  Again, this wouldn't necessarily mean the end of the world, although it makes it challenging, especially since...

Third, we have had the coolest and dampest June-into-July that I can remember.  I almost never have to water, which is nice, but we're getting cloudy days mostly.  So, cool temps and not a huge amount of direct sunlight.

I spent almost two hours trimming back on the creepers and such, re-training some of the legs to go elsewhere, and...gulp, actually removing one entire plant.  I collected the green fruit from that plant and have it sitting in the window at home, hoping that they might ripen.  I am not holding my breath.

Tomatoes never come when you think they should.  On top of that, I planted two weeks later than I usually do.  That makes a big difference, especially when the weather has been so odd.  My husband suggested that maybe the tomatoes are being considerate, and holding off on exploding with Romas until we are moved and truly settled.  And truly, I know that middle August is when I usually start panicking with the volume of tomato production and get into a twice-weekly canning routine.

Arrogance and impatience are my tomato sins.  The plants are doing well.  There is little sign of insects (so far, ha ha) and no sign of serious tomato diseases.  The plants are healthy.  They'll give me tomatoes when they are good and ready.

And when summer comes and stays.

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