“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!