First things first — here’s wishing you all a safe and happy Independence Day weekend! And next; I wonder how your tomato plants are progressing. Are they producing the fruit of your dreams — or are they fighting the effects of foul weather? Here’s my tomato report, followed (I hope!) by yours:
During late spring and early summer, my tomatoes — most of them heirloom varieties — endured heavy rain and unusually cold temperatures. Mercifully they are growing in a raised bed. Gardening on “higher ground” affords both excellent drainage and soil that warms quickly in the sun.
Thanks to a recent heat-wave, the plants are growing rapidly now. In another week or two, I’ll start tying the vines to their supports. The supports are nothing more than wooden 2x2x8 posts, pounded into the ground with a hammer, and tied in place with twine. No power tools necessary!
A layer of mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil. Furthermore, during a heavy rain, the mulch keeps water — and potential fungal spores — from bouncing off the soil and splashing onto the lower leaves.
Do you remove suckers from your tomato vines? I do. Suckers burden the plants with excess foliage. Too much lushness promotes the shady, damp conditions that inevitably lead to problems (like fungal diseases). If you need a refresher course on sucker-identification, take a moment to be read this post from 2012: De-Suckering My Tomatoes.
As for the fruit, it’s… tiny! But I’m not concerned. Harvest-time in my Hudson Valley region (zone 5-b) is normally mid-August through late September. So there’s plenty of time for the cute green marbles to achieve their monster-size potential.
And why do I bother to grow tomatoes? Because…Tomato Pie. If you’ve never tried it, you must. Here’s the shockingly simple recipe.
In the comments field below, let me know how your own tomato plants are coming along. As always, I love hearing from you.
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