I am not a hot weather person. When it gets up to around 100, I’m perfectly happy not to be out in the garden with the sweat rolling down, counting cherry tomatoes and analyzing strangely colored leaves.
Not even picking, which is usually my favorite thing about gardening, gets me excited.
From the looks of things, the plants seem to agree.
We’ve been picking like crazy since early July, but just a few days in the high 90s/ lower 100s have slowed things down. It’s just too hot, and to conserve energy and water, the plants have gone on a little production slow-down–a sort of sick day strike–until conditions are better.
Ergo, I have time to write a blog post. So here are a few updates.
Tomatoes–I had so much tomato puree and salsa left from last year that I decided to cut way back on the number of plants for canning, and instead plant some unusually colored varieties.
A couple of them have been outstanding. Black From Tula, a very dark fleshed old-fashioned variety I bought on a whim from the Seed Savers Exchange, was earliest, with big fruits the first week of July. Well, okay, they weren’t really black. There was a red blush on the outside, a greenish core and a dark purple for the areas in between. And they were delicious.
Mr. Stripey, another old-fashioned type, finally started ripening just as Tula tapered off. The Stripeys are more of a yellow tomato shot through with pink. They are huge and also very, very good. I’m still hoping for a chance to get both these on a plate at the same time, perhaps along with a regular red tomato.
Beets, potatoes and carrots–This was a banner year for beets. I planted Lutz purple beet and Touchstone golden, and both of these did very well. I’ve become a particular fan of the golden ones.
The wild colored carrots didn’t turn out as well. The trouble with ordering a “rainbow” mix is you never know what color of individual seeds you’re planting. It’s been my experience that one color seems to dominate, and that’s the way things were with the carrots. Instead of a mix of orange, yellow and reddish, we got mostly white. Oh well. Maybe all the colored ones hid at the bottom of the packet.
We did have a fine year for white potatoes, though.
Sweet corn–We put in a patch that was unclaimed in a new community garden started by our church and school. It was Silver Queen and it has been a huge success. But I’ll leave the details to Mike, who is writing a bigger post about this.
Squash and Cukes–The butternut squash and pumpkin are on a quest to take over the whole garden, where cucumbers and cantaloupe struggle mightily against them. I already have more sweet, dill and hot pickles made than we could eat but that doesn’t matter. I’m picking the tiny babies now to make into sour cornichons.
Onset of powdery mildew
Last year, we experimented with a diluted milk spray on the vining plants to control powdery mildew. We decided it worked better as a preventative than as a treatment.
Fast forward to this year. Mike started spraying in mid July, before any of the telltale gray showed up on leaves. And he’s kept spraying at regular intervals. So far, no sign at all of the troublesome disease. (knock wood)
We’ve also carried through on our resolution to do more preventative spraying of the cherry tree with copper sulfate. As of today, the leaves looked healthy with no sign of cherry leaf spot.
Not so the currant bush, which has lost a lot of leaves quite suddenly. This is a mystery to us, since nothing has bothered this plant since the day we put it in the ground 8 years ago.
I’m unsure what to do, since it looks like it could be either a fungus of some kind or tomato ringspot. Both of these make sense. Fungi do well in this type of weather. But ringspot is carried by a nematode, and we’ve had some pine trees killed by disease-bearing nematodes. But I don’t think it’s the same type of nematode.
The ringspot would be the worst, because it it viral and can kill the plant. So let’s hope it’s not that.
Anyway, I guess break time’s over. Some clouds have rolled in, the temperature’s dropped a few degrees. Time to get back outside to work.
Posted by: Roxie
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