First tomato of 2013.
Your Winter Bounty blogger has been spending most of the summer away. Reports from the greenhouse crew back home indicate that it has been rainy, hot, and sticky. “It is so hot and humid that any exertion leaves you dripping. I guess this is the future,” Logan writes.
The weather has left the outside garden a mess, with many plants just rotting from the heat and moisture, she says.
But once again, tomatoes are ruling inside the greenhouse. If it seems contradictory to be growing heat-loving tomatoes inside a greenhouse, here’s a refresher on why we do it, taken from a post last year entitled “Why a greenhouse in summer?”
The tomatoes and eggplants, both in the summer-loving nightshade family, were planted inside intentionally. That’s because Logan has found that these crops do better under cover. The greenhouse provides some concentrated heat to jumpstart them early in the season, and later, we can control when and where they are watered. Drip irrigation provides a steady amount of water delivered to the roots. Rain doesn’t touch the fruits or leaves, nor does it bounce up from the soil, which might deliver blight or other diseases to the plants.
Proof that this approach has worked once again: Marsha just sent me a photo of the first tomato of the season (above left), and she reports that they are ready to harvest several pints of Sungolds. We are usually 2-3 weeks ahead of traditional gardeners, and we are even farther ahead this year.
Marsha also sent photographic evidence of the annual infestation of tomato hornworms. Usually, parasitic wasps take care of them, but perhaps because of the excessive rain, they haven’t been present. We hope that those predators will arrive, find our hornworms, and get to work on them pronto.
Given the wet weather so far this summer, it seems probable that early blight will become a widespread problem. We’ll report later in the summer on how are tomatoes are faring.