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Tomato Update

Our tomatoes are generally looking great this year! After 2 years of tomato heartache and heartbreak (heat one year, herbicide injury and heat the next), we finally have some great looking tomatoes again. We’re starting to see a touch of Early Blight here and there, and there’s also a little bit of residual herbicide damage that is just now showing up. Most of the plants have fruit set and are growing like weeds! We haven’t fertilized at all, other than a little bit of a liquid starter fertilizer at planting and working in some compost this spring.

The ‘Taxi’ tomato plant (orange fruit) is the early leader as far as fruit set. I’m withholding judgement until they ripen without excessive cracking, however.

I’ll be honest that I’m excited about this funky tomato. This is one of two fruit that I’ve seen set on the ‘Limmony’ plant. It is an heirloom that can get up to 1 pound in weight! There will probably only be a few fruit from this plant anyway.

This is the ‘Arkansas Traveler’ tomato, and I’m a little confused so far by the shape of the green tomatoes. It is supposed to be a pink, round tomato at maturity, but the fruit are giving the impression of being a little more oblong. The number of fruit set so far is great for an heirloom.

This is our Chocolate Cherry plant in the Pizza Garden. It has some suspicious looking brown lesions on the stems and some brown, wilting leaves. I rather suspect it looks like Bacterial Canker, which is largely a seedborne disease. I knew I should have kept using the old batch of seeds, rather than buying new ones. A boiling water treatment before planting would also have helped. I’m still waiting for a confirmation on the diagnosis, but there’s a high probability that this plant is going to be removed. Sadness!

That’s just a quick overview of a few of our tomatoes this year. I’ll keep you posted on the poor Chocolate Cherry plant.

Friday PhotoEssay

Another Friday, another photoessay. Even though we are experiencing more normal summer temperatures, it hasn’t seemed so bad. Maybe because it’s in the 80s and 90s rather than 100s? As long as we don’t have those 100 degree temperatures stretching out as far as the eye can see on the long-range forecast, I’ll be happy.

Here’s the whole garden for this week, but from the other side this time. You get a better feel for how the tomatoes have grown from here. They are huge! There are some really nice green tomatoes set on.

This is a branch of green tomatoes on the ‘Golden Honey Bunch’ grape tomato in the vertical garden. Isn’t that truss of tomatoes neat? It seems to just keep getting longer!

Our bush beans and pole beans are both busily blooming away! This purple flower is from the ‘Emerite’ pole beans. We haven’t had great luck with pole beans in the past, so I really want these to succeed.

It looks like we have a touch of Early Blight starting on a couple of our tomato plants. This was on the ‘Jetsetter’ tomato. We pruned off the affected leaves, but I think we are getting just enough rain that it will keep spreading up the plant. Oh well, these are the trade-offs we make for a cooler, rainier year!

We are getting close to being ready to harvest the shallots, but it is pretty neat to see them growing. They are partially grown out of the ground, so you can get a sense of how big the bulbs are.

We jumped right in and planted some squash seeds in the area where we have been harvesting the garlic from the Pizza Garden. Since it is a small area, we also took the opportunity to try out the barrier method of preventing squash vine borers. I don’t know if it will work, because we had squash in this area last year. They overwinter underground and the moths emerge in the late spring or early summer, usually late May. Then they fly around and lay eggs at the base of the squash plants. Putting the row cover over the plants (in this case seeds) keeps the moths from getting to the plants. If the moths haven’t flown off yet, this method won’t work because I will have trapped them with the plants instead of away from the plants. Since we are planting late, I hope it works. We’ll leave the row cover on until the squash plants either outgrow the hoops or until they start blooming, whatever comes first.

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay

Yet another Friday is here, and it is also the last Friday for Lunch in the Garden this summer. We’re featuring peppers, and we’ve definitely got a good crop of peppers in the garden!

These gorgeous bell peppers are from the ‘Big Bertha’ plants. The bell peppers seem to go in flushes, but this week was obviously a heavy harvest.

Look! The tomato plant laid a golden egg! Okay…this year, that might almost be true. The yellow “egg” is a Golden Rave Roma tomato and the red pepper behind it is actually a purple ‘Merlot’ pepper. Yes, really. We left it on the plant long enough, it turned red! Pretty neat!

Something decided that this melon was ready to eat, even if we didn’t! I think it is getting close, but I’m waiting for those dark green sutures (the stripes) to fade to something a little more creamy. It’s probably edible right now (well, obviously), but wouldn’t be very tasty. The melon are taking a lot longer to ripen than I expected them to – maybe a combination of how heavily they are set and the lovely weather.

We picked this ‘Black Krim’ tomato on Tuesday when it just had a tinge of pink. Good thing, because the rain the other night might have caused it to crack.

Here’s that same tomato this morning. It’s almost ready to eat. My past experience with the Black Krim is that it should be a more purple/brown color when ripe, but either the heat is causing the colors to be bleached out or the seeds we got were a little more genetically varied toward pink instead of purple. These tomatoes remind me a lot of the ‘Rose’ heirloom tomatoes we grew last year, at least in color. (Haven’t eaten one yet, so not sure about flavor.)

One of my coworkers brought this cool tomato in last week. Aren’t those designs artistic and cool? Anyway, this is an extremely characteristic example of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. The tomatoes are still fine to eat, they just look bizarre. Usually the plants are infected while still in the greenhouse, and the only thing to do is to pull the plants out when you see a problem.

Have a great weekend! Posting will be light for the next couple of weeks, but don’t forget to check back occasionally!