“Blame it on the Rain!”

“Blame it on the rain, yeah yeah.” OK I apologize for bringing up old Milli Vanilli lyrics, but those words have been going through my head for days and I figured I would share the pain. I’m in a state of depression about my vegetable garden right now and it’s all because of precipitation. This was July and is now August but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature.  She either thinks we’re still in spring or Seattle, I really don’t know which! July in Tennessee means dry and hot weather, not rainy with 80 degree temperatures.  Not good for my warm season garden. You see I’m a huge fresh from the garden, mouth watering, red-ripe and juicy tomato fan and this summer my tomatoes have issues.

You would think that rain and the vegetable garden is a good thing but like in so many things moderation is the key.  Too much rain means not enough sun, which means tomatoes don’t set fruit or ripen up in a timely manner and growth slows. This in itself isn’t a recipe for gloom and doom but when you add the moisture that inundates the leaves you add fungal diseases like blight. Blight on tomato plants is cause enough for a tomato loving gardener to enter the state of depression. Tomorrow morning when its cool I’ll start spraying the affected plants. I’m starting with a baking soda solution first to see if it helps then I’ll reevaluate where to go from there. Interestingly it’s mostly the heirloom tomatoes like the Brandywines, Cherokee Purples, and Yellow Pears that are getting attacked by the blight. One of the yellow pear plants will be completely removed while I’ll try to hang onto the second one a while longer. Heirloom plants have been open pollinated for years and haven’t been bred for resistance like many of the hybrid tomatoes. That being said I do have a Jetstar and Jubilee that are among the injured.

I’m just sick of the fact that the tomatoes are rotting before they are ripe enough to pick. I threw away 8-9 Cherokee Purples that were turning into mush the other day. It’s possible that there are some insect issues like caterpillars but I haven’t witnessed any offening tomato worms yet. Needless to say I’ll keep looking.

In addition to the tomato problems the cucumbers have fallen to verticulum wilt as have the canteloupes. I’m going to plant another crop of cucumbers soon to hopefully get a last crop out before the freeze in October. I think I will also be planting a ton of bush beans in an attempt to make use of the real estate vacated by my sad looking cucumber vines. In contrast to the vegetable garden the ornamental areas are looking fairly happy, of course the weeds are too!


Dave has written GrowingTheHomeGarden.com since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Dave, thank you for the info and I feel your pain! Being new gardeners, neither my husband nor I knew what was wrong with the tomatoes. We've been inundated with rain this past week and the tomatoes are not taking it well. On the upside, the red bell peppers finally turned red.

  2. Yes, well, such is the life of the gardener! So far okay with my tomatoes but all of a sudden my green peppers and zuchinni are a problem again. August is supposed to be hot and humid but this summer has been odd ever since it began. Very cool and wet. Hope you can salvage something. I had a bad tomato year last year so this year planted them in containers. So far, so good.

  3. So much rain here that it has ruined most all. Only container plants have survived properly. My maters long gone. Cukes look sick-worms getting into them. Pole beans not too bad. Picked some of them the other day. Sure were good mixed with new taters I dug. Taters didn't do well in the "bag". Planted too late. They need to be planted in Feb here. So next yr. will start over.

  4. Dave, so funny how we gardeners in the same area look upon July's weather in two totally different ways. I am in heaven that July has been so wet and cold! Wet and cold being relative terms of course when you compare them to normal southern weather, but I grew up in Maine and this July would have been a perfect Maine summer month. That being said veggies will usually do just fine. It is strange your veggies are not producing so much. Other than SVB and lack of sun, my garden is hanging tough. I did plant most things late though. That may have been the trick. But hang in there as the weatherman say normal August weather is on its way. There's still time for succession planting and with all this rain it will help the seeds sprout and grow. Good luck.

  5. Tell me about it !! I planted Queensland Blue squash in my London allotment because the weather forecasters said we would have a 'barbecue summer' humph! I'm still waiting for it.

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