Nancy’s Tomato Chronicles – Week 1 of 2010
(Week 1 is Jan 4th to 11th)
It’s New Year’s resolution time, but I’m not going there. I’m not good at repetitive tasks so why ask for trouble? However, in my quest to grow bunches of great-tasting veggies and tons of delicious tomates (that’s French for tomatoes) in my organic garden, I realize for my plants to stay healthy I need to be proactive rather than reactive.
After the attack of late season blight, I pulled all my tomato plants, roots and all, and picked up all the old tomatoes lying on the ground and dumped them in the trash. Late blight will not survive in the soil but will overwinter in the plants and fruits.
The new products AzaMax (for bugs and caterpillars) and Actinovate (for fungal diseases) I wrote about last season work best when applications begin before the plants are under attack. These organic products are so environmentally friendly when used according to directions I needn’t worry about early applications harming bees, birds or other beneficial organisms, including my grandson.
So over the next few weeks, I’m putting together my gardening calendar. The dates aren’t written in stone, but will act as reminders to begin to track the temperatures of the soil and air, along with the rainfall.
Underground activity begins to heat up when the organisms break dormancy, and that begins when the soil temperatures reach 50 degrees. So when using a soil drench, adding them too early is a waste of time and money. Heavy rains can wash the product away. I plan to start monitoring the soil temperatures in March, and if we happen to have an early spring, I will be ready to hit the ground running.
My tomatoes were terrible this year, thanks to the cold, wet weather. They failed to ripen for lack of sun, and the fruit lost its flavor because of too much rain. We were drenched with rain all season, and twice our rain gauge that measures up to 10-plus inches of water overflowed.
I have lots of tricks up my sleeve to get things going if we suffer another cold, wet spring and summer, and over the next couple of months, I’ll let you in on my plans. If you have any tips or tricks that worked last summer or varieties of veggies that rocked in your garden and you would like to share them, e-mail me.