Archive for tomato

One Towering Tomato

Posted in gardening with tags , , , , on July 25, 2012 by planthoarder

To the left at two feet ( approx. 61 cm) tall, tomato ‘Legend,’ to the right at three feet (approx. 91 cm), tomato ‘Cherokee Purple,’ and in the center at a whopping seven feet (approx. 213 cm) tall, tomato ‘Gardener’s Delight!’ Holy cow! Thanks Adam Leone of  for suggesting ‘Gardener’s Delight.’

There are many ways to grow tomatoes. Some people tie them to a single stake, some let them sprawl over the ground, and some like me give them each a cage of their own, tucking stray shoots here and there in passing. If there was a year to listen to old garden hands that say to snip out the wayward suckers to promote fruit over foliage, this was it, but I never even got around to mulching. Having the tomatoes top the cage is not an uncommon sight late in the season, but there’s a whole lot of season to go here in Wisconsin. Gardener’s Delight seems to demand a second cage. The raccoons are giving it a two paws up. The rude buggers eat half of each ripe tomato and leave the other half to rot. I gave my first full sized tomato from ‘Legend’ to My Love’s mom, the raccoons got the next two and I resorted to picking them just under ripe and letting them ripen in the house so I could have some for myself.

There’s been another “helper” in the tomato patch.

The infamous tobacco hornworm here to help with the pruning. I caught this guy, but there’s another out there lurking in the jungle of my tomato cage devouring what he can while he can. It has been a buggy year with variegated cutworms drilling into peony buds, tarnished plant bugs making daylily buds fall off, corn borers boring into lily stalks, and Japanese beetles gorging on nearly everything else. Still, despite the drought and the bugs and the raccoons and the deer (eating buds off my daylilies), we live in a kind of paradise with genuine amber waves of grain. I hope your garden paradise is just as joyful.

Bring on the Rain

Posted in gardening with tags , , , on May 4, 2012 by planthoarder

The plan was to transplant starting Mother’s Day, but peeking at our ten day forecast with no frost in the near future, I felt emboldened to begin planting immediately. Rain was predicted. What could be better than a nice drink for all my newly planted veggies? (After muddying in, of course, rain just isn’t the same thing.) So, the plants were nestled all snug in their beds, while I was nestled all snug on my couch, when what should appear? Hail! That put a fear in me, but what could I do? I had made my veggies’ bed and now they had to live or die in it. There is a happy ending: the hail was small and did no damage whatsoever. Whew!

Questionable judgement aside, have you ever known better, but somehow forgot? Just like my potato baking mistake, I made a simple gardening mistake. First, you may ask, how can one screw up potatoes? Whenever My Love bakes potatoes, I remind him to pierce the skin so they don’t explode. Sure enough, when I, on a whim, put a couple potatoes in to bake with the chicken, I failed to pierce the skin. Yes, they do indeed explode most dramatically and messily all over the oven. My Love was impressed (by the exploding potato, not by me). On to my garden mistake: knowing it was going to rain, I failed to mulch my tomatoes. No big deal? Well, maybe, if I didn’t know we have suffered from blight. I didn’t think of it until I saw my tomatoes splashed with dirt. Did I rotate my veggies? Yes, but will it be enough to save them? I have my doubts.

Mulch is a good thing, keeping moisture and temperature even, keeping weeds down, and keeping soil from carrying disease to your plants. Learn from my mistake. Oh, and always pierce your potato before baking.