Thursday, July 15, 2010
Phew! The Sun Came Out..
Yesterday, I was getting a bit worried about the endless heavy rain.. not only did it flatten all the lettuce (it was 'past-due' though, so I wasn't too concerned about it), but we really haven't had a good sunny day in almost a week! I was starting to think about tomato blight and how easy it can spread in splashing water.. My 2 main tomato beds (32 plants total in those 2 beds, another 42 plants tucked in other places - don't ask! I have a tomato addiction) are pretty jungle-like at this point in the season - most of the plants are HUGE - about 5 feet tall and very heavily branched.
When tomato expert, Craig LeHoullier (http://nctomatoman.weebly.com/) was on the radio show last month, I asked him about the big tomato debate - to remove suckers or let them be.. Craig said that he typically leaves the suckers - mainly as insurance for more tomatoes, especially if deer or other problems arise and nip off some of the buds. The suckers will offer more fruiting branches, thus more tomatoes..
So, I therefore left my suckers, but the plants are thick and leafy.. and with the excessive rain and high humidity, I was worried about tomato blight.. when I woke up this morning though, the sun was shining strong and more sun is in the forecast for the next few days! Woo hoo! The tomato plants are also starting to fruit quite heavily, and I'm very excited about the first harvest - it's a race between Sungold (our family favourite) and Cherry Roma (a new variety for us).. go Sungold!
It was a super hot day, but now that the sun is setting, I just went out and pulled up those old lettuces that were flattened by the rains. I use a mix of my favourite lettuces as an edible edge around the garden beds.. but it was time to pull and replant.. so I did - adding some alfalfa meal and kelp meal to the soil before I reseeded. Now, in a few weeks, new baby lettuce border will be ready to eat! In the meantime, we'll have to content ourselves with the 7th crop of baby arugula, mizuna and the large heads of red and green oakleaf lettuces that are still in their prime.
FYI - I'll be heading down to the annual Seaside Garden Tour this Saturday.. it takes place from noon to 4 pm and features a handful of gorgeous Chester gardens.. It should be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to bumping into other local gardeners - yes, you Donna and Duff! Tickets are available at the Chester Visitor Information Centre or the Chester Pharmasave.