If you have "no place to go," come here!

Hoorah! Sun!

I've been gone for a week, and -- says the taxi driver, who also had strong views of the state of the country and the virtues of barter -- it rained every day.

And so, almost nothing ripened, but on the other hand, almost nothing split or rotted either. And today is sunny, and we are only going to have two days of intermittent thunderstorms next week -- says

So, I'm trying to cultivate a Zen-like calm, because, apparently, the plants are smarter than I am:

I'm working on the theory that the tomatoes didn't split because I didn't cut back the plants at all, so the water had "someplace to go," that being the leaves and vines, not the fruit.

And by the same token, I'm going to resist the temptation to cut back on the vines so that the sun can get at the tomatos and ripen them (since somebody here told me that the real danger of splitting comes when the rain stops and the sun comes out).

And my winter squash are doing great. Did I mention I put little planks under them so that they didn't contact the earth and rot? That seems to be working, and it's amazing how fast the things can grow in a week -- from a flower to the size of a tomato. The planks may seem obsessive, but on the other hand, winter squash as $2.79 a pound in the market, and half of one is a meal.


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badger's picture
Submitted by badger on

everything is completely opposite, of course. We've had 1.35 inches of rain so far - since about March (the rain guage doesn't measure snow). We had a cloudy day last week - or maybe it was the week before. Right now, it's 100F and 14%RH. It's only 2PM, and the high is usually around 5PM. Hit 101 yesterday, might beat that today. Great weather for hanging out laundry.

We have a flower garden in front of the house, not a veggie garden. However strawberries flower, and we got pints if not quarts of those. We have one tomato plant, which I don't believe is ripe yet. My wife got the first (small) cuke yesterday - I'll wait for the pickles. She expects to can 4 or 5 jars from the one plant. Peaches and apricots are already canned, berries frozen, and apples (applesauce, pie filling) and pears will be ripe next month. Most of that we barter for.

We don't water much, as most of what grows in the garden is climate appropriate. Since we've thinned our woods, the pine and fir reproduction has been growing 6 inches to nearly 2 feet every year, depending on how much runoff a tree gets in the spring. And all of the young trees are amazingly lush, deep green, getting fat and no cones (which is more or less perfect).

gyrfalcon's picture
Submitted by gyrfalcon on

Lambert, don't even think about cutting off leaves in hopes of ripening tomatoes! It works the other way around. Tomatoes hide under the leaves for a reason. They don't much like direct sun and too much will give you tough yellow "sun scald" on the top of the fruits.

It's the leaves that need the sun, and the tomatoes need those leaves to soak in the sun and transfer the goodness to the ripening tomatoes.

I think you may well be right about the water, though. I also let my tomatoes go nuts since I've never had any success wrestling and pinching them into submission anyway, and I've got far less cracking from all our rain than I would have expected.

OTOH, I've got horrible, horrible tomato blight on most of my plants. The worst hit ones have no leaves left at all. I've avoided mulching anything because I have a terrific problem with voles and shrews, and mulch is just an invitation to them to tunnel around the garden to the tasty stuff. But with regular hard downpours like we've had this winter, there's just too much soil getting splashed up onto the leaves and the blight spores, or whatever they are, got all over everything.

So some kinda mulch next year. Maybe I'll spring for landscaper fabric, which will let water through but won't let mud splash back up, and presumably won't give the voles as much comfort as straw or shredded leaves or other organic mulch.