The rains seem to have stopped, at least for a few days. I spent major parts of the last three days doing this and that in both gardens; surveying the impact of so much rain, assessing the plants, checking ripeness, setting things in order where chaos appeared, and tying plants further up their stakes. Here is a general list of observations:
- The heavy rain - and subsequent erosion - hit the bush beans the hardest, but also impacted the beets. I don't have a lot of time to deal with the fallout, and am planning to let nature take its course.
- Rain, humidity, and lack of sun equals an increase in disease on many of the tomato plants. I've spent lots of time removing lower yellowed, spotted and wilted foliage. There are some casualties out there (Dwarf Purple Heart and Dwarf Wild Fred in my driveway - at least, from the Dwarf project - Abraham Lincoln and Golden Queen from the large driveway pots, Golden Queen from the garden, a few others), and each day it seems the critical list grows. It is now a race between the plants living until a decent crop is produced, and loss of the plant and tomatoes that would have grown on it. Even though it is an annual event, it is still disappointing.
- Blossom End Rot....talk about uneven watering! As always, I hope it is just an issue with a few early fruit on this or that variety. But it is out there, and in some cases, pretty serious.
- My garden is once again too ambitious, even given the time I have to tend it. That's not a surprise, and I can deal with it, but it is pretty exhausting, and I always feel behind on something.
- The eggplant and peppers are an absolute joy. Today I picked 4 Skinny Twilight eggplants (that makes 5 total already) and a Snow Globe; each variety has multiple fruit set and plant health is impeccable. The peppers are actually so loaded with fruit in some cases that I had to cut the twine that supports the branches to thin ones that are getting squeezed in the middle; this leads to rotting, which spreads. So we have a few early picked ones for our cooking over the coming days. I've got hot peppers, sweet peppers, you name it - none full color ripe, but they are in an array of lovely unripe colors.
- We are picking Mexico Midget (yum!), Sungold (double YUM!), Inglehart Yellow Cherry (not bad, a tad above average), Lemon Drop (pretty nice - a nearly white, very pale yellow cherry), a volunteer from a friend believed to be from a Mexico Midget/Coyote cross (really nice small orange cherries), Egg Yolk (quite nice), and just today, a Dwarf Pink Passion and Dwarf Golden Heart dwarf and a Cherokee Green that is ripening a bit prematurely due to Blossom End Rot - there is enough of a good area for a decent taste and seed save.
- The health of the plants in the big garden is quite encouraging - maybe because they are getting a more even watering than the ones in pots, and also because it has been many years since tomatoes were grown there. I am not sure how many will be ripe by the time we do the ripe tomato book photographs in a few weeks (fingers crossed for the driveway examples), but it looks quite nice indeed.
- This will probably be my last year growing dwarfs in grow bags in the middle of the driveway, with little support- the pick up sticks effect gets old. Next year's garden is going to be magnitudes smaller, in any event, with no book photography goals to expand its size - perhaps just dwarfs along the edge, where they can be supported, leaving the center for eggplant and peppers, which are far better behaved.
- Our chocolate lab, Buddy, seems to have figured out the tomato on the deck thing - it is a race once they ripen.
I hope to get some pictures taken soon, perhaps a video, especially of the peppers and eggplant, since they are at their best right now.
If anyone is going to the Eno festival tomorrow, look for us (I really like the Mountain Goats and look forward to seeing them live!). Many of our dwarf tomatoes are growing in the Eno garden - be sure to check them out!