August 29, 2013
Finally, tomato season began for my fog-ridden coastal garden.
These are my five tomato plants in mid-July: Early Girl, Stupice, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra and Black Cherry. May and June were warmer and less foggy than usual.
And exactly one month later, mid-August here’s what things looked like. It’s been a sorry, soggy summer for tomatoes. Unseasonably cool and foggy weather in July and August promoted the growth of powdery mildew. Even Early Girl and Stupice which usually perform reasonably well along the coast were ravaged.
The leaf-to-fruit-ratio is definitely suboptimal and I wondered if it would be adequate for the fruit to ripen. Note the gray skies also. We’ve had weeks of this. Barbara Pleasant of GrowVeg.com reminds me that “tomatoes are tropical plants that run on sun.” After reading her piece on growing tomatoes perhaps I should consider staking my tomatoes next year.Growing more hybrids might help avoid this plight but the virtues of heirlooms may outweigh the risk of crop failure.
Then, when the first Cherokee Purple was ripe, someone else beat me to it. That’s what keeps us coming back every year, right? The challenge.