- Author: Cheryl A Potts
Time to go.
You've given much, but
Time to go.
Give way to winter.
Time to go.
Now be compost.
Time to go.
Thank you, sungold.
Time to go.
Come back soon, but
Time to go.
- Author: Erin Mahaney
I live in an area of Benicia where it is too windy and cool to grow larger tomatoes. And in the past three years, I haven’t even had much success with smaller, early ripening, tomatoes other than cherry tomatoes. I’ve tried planting in containers, planting in the ground, planting early, planting late, and planting every time in between, without much luck. The tomatoes would set fruit just fine, but then wouldn’t ripen.
So this year, I resigned myself to growing cherry tomatoes. I love ''Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, and they do well in my yard, but I haven’t found a red cherry that I like. Nonetheless, I made the boring, but practical, decision to plant a red cherry tomato so that at least I would have a variety of tomato colors in my salads.
But then I wandered by the vegetable vendor at the San Francisco Flower and Garden show and I couldn’t resist trying a few early varieties. Much to my surprise, one variety really took off – 'Tigerella'. 'Tigerella' is a small (1-2”), bi-colored, early (55 days) tomato. The fruit is red with orange stripes and has a wonderful sweet flavor. My new favorite! I heartily recommend it to others with the similar difficult growing conditions.
I also planted my usual Sun Golds and a new variety of red cherry tomato (yawn) and didn’t pay much more attention until I wandered by the red cherry tomato plant one day in mid-July. Much to my surprise, my “cherry” tomato plant was bearing an enormous beefsteak tomato! The plant had obviously been mislabeled. The first tomato I picked weighed in at 1 lb, 6-5/8 oz. Not bad for a “ cherry tomato!”
Who knows why this summer, which seems like a cool one to me, of all summers, my tomato plants are so happy. And that’s the fun of gardening – there is always a surprise awaiting!
- Author: Betty Victor
The first small garden harvest is in. Picture one shows the beginning of the garden, minus the tomato plants. Picture two is the first harvest.
This first harvest may not look like a lot to some gardeners who have a larger garden area to plant in. I have a very small spot where an avocado tree once grew-this is now the small garden.
In this small garden, you will find growing--Kentucky Pole green beans, which are producing more than we can eat now, so we are freezing them for winter. Growing next to the green beans are yellow string beans. In addition to the beans, there are two sweet green peppers, also a Jalapeño, and a peperoncini, 2 sweet Italian long peppers, that I am anxiously waiting for them to turn one yellow the other red, a medium size Italian white eggplant, that has 5 eggplants that are just about ready to be picked.
Tucked in between a Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) and a (Butterfly bush) Buddleia are 2 tomato plants that are heavy with fruit. In addition to these, I have 3 tomatoes plants in large containers. All the tomatoes were started from seed and are the heirloom variety. Scattered around the yard in containers you can find zucchini, patty pan squash, cucumbers, shallots and a leek, also 3 different kinds of basil, to go with the tomatoes for a caprese salad or tomato sandwiches.
So I have learned if you really want a vegetable garden, you will find the space for it. They need some tending almost every day, especially the ones in the containers, but well worth the effort.
- Author: Launa Herrmann
This past spring, while watering an Ash tree (Fraxinus) I planted in a small side yard several years back, I almost stepped on a Solanum lycopersicum. This tomato had sprouted next to an outdoor rocking chair that sat on a narrow gravel-covered strip of soil that was wedged between a small patch of concrete and the fence.
Over the weeks, as I watched the plant stretch upward and vine outward, this unexpected volunteer won my heart. I couldn’t bear to pull it up. So I did what bleeding heart gardeners do when stuck between rocks and hard places. I pounded in a stake to secure the tomato plant’s voluminous growth and draped its vines across the lap of the chair. When the concrete was no longer passable, I lifted the fruit-filled stems atop two plastic storage bins.
During my research into why this super star of my side yard is outperforming every tomato I ever planted in my entire life, I realize its success is mostly due to the soil, which was fallow for years, despite being gravel-covered clay. But I also learned that volunteer plants can increase nematode populations. Guess what? I can’t even reach the roots to inspect them for root knot nematodes (See UC ANR Publication 3470, Tomato nematodes).
Then I wondered if my volunteer is a disease resistant variety? I don’t know. All I know is what I see. Foliage over 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide and growing by the day. No evidence of chlorosis virus, spotted wilt or yellow leaf curl. No verticillium wilt or Mosaic virus — YET.
So . . . as I reap this year’s harvest, I envision next year’s volunteer — large, lush, lovely, drooping with pick-ready vine-ripe tomatoes. But I know super stars don’t last and reality gardening seldom measures up to the plot of dreams.
- Author: Kathy Thomas-Rico
Whew. It looks as if we may have survived that eight-day 100-degree-plus “hot spell” around July Fourth. It was brutal, and there was so little — other than watering every morning — that we could do for our plants. The big boys — the trees and larger shrubs — look positively shiny and new now that the Delta breeze has returned and nights and mornings are much cooler. Alas, some of the smaller plants did not fare well. They simply and literally were baked by the heat and sun.
It looks as though we have lost a few daylilies, and they’ve been in the back yard since before we moved here in 2002. Just goes to show you how unusual that long heat wave was. Our tomatoes, peppers and squash are much worse for wear, as well, but seem to be rallying. Needless to say, we have some precooked tomatoes still on the vine, and the bell peppers already have sunburn.
I have to look on the bright side: This baking of our daylilies offers me the chance to plant something new, obviously something more heat-tolerant. Cacti need not apply. Any suggestions?