Labor Day weekend has always been like a bridge to me. It no longer feels like summer but fall is still a few weeks off.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
A tomato in the hand is worth two on the vine
This year is no exception; I began preparing the garden soil in late April with a liberal application of compost. The third week of May arrived and the signs in the sky told me that it was time to begin planting.
Last year my humble garden produced a bumper crop of bell peppers which were enjoyed by us and several of our neighbors. I threw caution to the wind and increased the number of peppers starts planted this spring with high hopes of repeating last year's success. Disaster soon arrived; one afternoon the clouds opened and pelted the garden with hail stones the size of peas. In less than five minutes, the pepper's tender foliage was tattered and torn. My first instinct was to abandon the crop but it was still early in the season. I was still filled with optimism.
About two weeks later, I noticed that the plants were shedding all newly developed blossoms which ultimately develop into peppers. All of the signs and symptoms were there; my pepper plants were infected with the dreaded disease known as bacterial leaf spot. I quickly accepted defeat and with little sadness, I removed all traces of the peppers from the garden.
I turned my sights to the lone tomato plant that was growing in a five gallon bucket next to our house. My home town of Astoria is noted for many things, but a climate suitable for large scale tomato production is not one of them. In the past thirty plus years, I have only attempted tomatoes maybe five times and never had more than one tomato ripen before the fall's first frost.
This will be remembered as the year of the tomato because thus far, I have harvested three tomatoes. With a little luck, we might get at least two more.