I spent a good bit of the morning taking stock of the post-deluge garden. We didn't get hit like Chapel Hill with the latest round of rain, but what we received wasn't too shabby. In general, the big garden is doing well except for the rear two rows (beans, beets, greens) - the heavy rain is causing erosion and loss of topsoil and some plants. Oh well - we will get from it what we get. Fortunately the tomato plants are looking really good; there are only a very few that are on the "disease watch" list (one is just completely kaput - Golden Queen; sadly, both of my GQ plants - big garden, and driveway pot - went down to Fusarium wilt).
The small grow bag indeterminates that are sprinkled here and there (about half of them are on our deck) look pretty good. Most have decent fruit set; quite a few are plagued by blossom end rot. I've picked ripe tomatoes from Lemon Drop, Inglehart Yellow Cherry, and Egg Yolk, with an orange Coyote/Mexico Midget supposed cross from a friend (came from a volunteer) about ready to pick.
The eggplant and peppers all look pretty spectacular - again (I sound like a broken record), I am reminded of how relatively trouble-free they are when compared to tomatoes. Most everything has fruit already set, and a few of the eggplant are either being picked (Skinny Twilight) or ready (Snow Globe). I could already make train cars-full of very hot salsa with the hot peppers already sitting on the plants.
Which brings me to the main event - the driveway large pot indeterminate and grow bag dwarf tomatoes. There is much more lower foliage yellowing and spotting, and a few plants are in real trouble - not surprising considering the amount of warmth and wetness, and the crowded nature of the growing arrangement. The dwarfs are already beginning to topple on to each other, as they are weighing down with fruit set. Blossom end rot is a real problem on some of the varieties, particularly the indeterminates. It is just one of those seasons, it seems...As far as ripe fruit, Sungold and Mexico Midget, as expected, are now ripening (and delicious).
So, looking ahead 2-3 weeks, my main concerns will be: agonizing over whether the varieties I wished to feature in my book will work out (a few are iffy), wondering how I can keep everything in half decent order, and keeping up with observations/seed saving/watering/tending. What fun...and what stress!
Oh yes - a SPECIAL REQUEST - my book photographer will be showing up in mid July for a week or so to take pictures of ripe fruit, disease and insect issues, and anything else that will fit the book - including different growing methods.
If you are not too far from North Raleigh - and have examples of diseases, critter damage or critters, growing methods other than staking or short caging (I'd love to find examples of straw bale growing, Florida weave, tall caging - raised beds, etc), let me know - I'd love to set up a time to come out and photograph appropriate subject matter.
FINAL REQUEST - for that same time period (July 15-22, say), if you have or plan to have ripe fruit for the following (see below), I'd love to swap, buy, "borrow" a fruit or two for book photography. My list of tomatoes I am featuring for the book is as follows:
Green Giant (I may really need this one; mine is suffering badly from BER and in a small pot only)
Bisignano #2 (if indeterminate; the ones I am growing look like plain-ol' Roma!)
Golden Queen (I lost both of mine to disease)
Livingston's Magnus (one of mine is struggling with disease)
Livingston's Favorite (disease issues with both of mine)
Coyote (I only have one plant in a small container)
Big Boy (one of mine is diseased)
Lillian's Yellow Heirloom (mine may end up being too late)
Nepal (disease issues on one of my plants)
Yellow Brandywine (I only have a plant in a small grow bag that is suffering with BER)
Red Brandywine (ditto)
Stump of the World (ditto)
Abraham Lincoln (lost one to disease, other is struggling)
Dwarf Sweet Sue
Dwarf Mr. Snow (mine may not ripen in time)
Dwarf Wild Fred (one of mine is diseased)
Ruby Gold (aka Gold Medal)
note that the ones with comments after the name are particularly at risk for me.
Thanks, all - remember this is for the period of July 15-22 only...I will repeat this request weekly and try to highlight it when the time approaches.