Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Don't Worry, Kyoko, Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow

I* today ate the first tomato we have grown in three years.
He seemed to find it pretty tasty - he gummed it for a while, then threw it aside and started chasing the dogs.

We pick tomorrow, and when we do, we'll be picking cherry tomatoes. That's momentous because we lost our tomatoes last year - every blessed one of them. Ditto for the year before. A pernicious little influence called phytopthera caused the disaster, a somewhat highly evolved little fungi that thrives in cool wet conditions - just what we had the past two summers. So the first tomato harvest of the year, usually celebrated and feted with baccanalian abandon, is this year a zillion times as joyful.
I kinda just like to go up and look at them - rows of little tomato plants held upright in weavings of nylon twine. Their leaves are a lush dark green, the tomato leaf dark green (but for a thin layer of copper sulfite that adds a blue tint and wreaks havoc on the sex lives of fungus.) They're fairly well weeded - their stalks are visible coming up out of the ground. The stalks are kinda sparse - I've pruned away all bottom leaves to deny fungus spores any kind of a step ladder up off the ground, and to promote good air circulation. They're laden with tomatoes, all of them. Light green tomatoes clustered up tight to the lower branches and filling up every day with sweet summertime goodness, waiting for an off-stage cue from the Gods, when they turn a vibrant, rich red and are dinner plate bound.
It's nicest late in the evening, right before the sun sets behind the mountain. The light hits them sideways, filtered through the poplars at the top of the ridge and playing gently with the plants, making them glow just a little, almost making them smile.
The weather has been kind this year. We've gotten plenty of rain, but the rainclouds have invariably dissolved right away just as the last drops fall, letting the sun shine down and drying the plants. The days have been warm - downright hot, sometimes, and any disease that may be lurking has wisely opted not to show itself..
Even the hurricanes have been harmless - at least in this little valley, they have. Last year we found ourselves pummelled left and right by every possible disaster caused by man and weather. We lost the tomatoes, the squash was hardly worth fooling with, the potatoes rotted in the ground - even the okra looked like crap. (How can you not grow okra; it's a weed?) Perhaps the tides have turned our favor. If that little liquid gem of tomato juice dripping down I*'s chin is any indication, they have. There's an old saying in this business, something about the correct timing of counting hatching eggs, but I think I'll disregard it for a while. I've no time. I'll be too busy picking tomatoes.


  • At July 13, 2005 2:51 PM, Blogger Laurie said…

    Is that fungus neon yellow? If so, it might have migrated east to my backyard.

    As for okra being a weed, *sigh*

  • At July 13, 2005 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mmm...tomatoes. I'm feeling the strongest urge to mosey over to your house. Is that shameless? Should I wait a couple more days?

  • At July 13, 2005 11:34 PM, Blogger Frank said…

    Neon yellow spots? On the leaves or the fruit? On the leaves it could be powdery mildew, or, less likely, stemphylium. Alternatively, if you've got genetically modified seeds, they could've crossed a tomato with a firefly.
    As for okra being a weed, rest assured that is in no way a reference to okra'a taste or usefulness. It merely refers to okra being one of the less cultivated of the cultivars.(I suppose you'll take offense at me say okra is "less-cultivated" ...)

    Mosey over to my place for tomatoes? Anytime.
    If the main crop comes on as expected, we're gonna have a tomato luau, complete with those flower things you wear around your neck and drinks with little umbrellas ....

  • At July 14, 2005 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Woohoo!! Tomato sandwiches! Little stuffed cherry tomato appetizers! Tomato daqueries (How the hell do you spell daquiries daquieries daquerees dacquiries????!!!!)!

  • At July 19, 2005 9:14 AM, Blogger Laurie said…

    Oh, no offense at all! I love okra and for some reason I cannot get it to grow this year. The first sowing was eaten by rabbits, I guess. The second and third only produced two sickly plants. They are all from saved seed. That's the reason for my sigh.

    The fungus is bright yellow on the ground. It looks like a pile of alien poop.

  • At July 19, 2005 10:38 PM, Blogger Frank said…

    Bastards! As if crop circles weren't enough.


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