Monday, October 7, 2013

The Final Crop of Tomatoes

My tomato vines are not looking so great.




We had so little rain this summer that they struggled to produce.  We started out the summer with good, saturating rains in June.  But by the end of June, that had all changed.  The rain clouds moved out of the area and did not return.  The tomato vines, which were very robust during the rainy period in early June, began to suffer once the rain stopped.  The yield was less than in years past and the size of the tomatoes was smaller.




I stepped on one of them.  That did not make me very happy.  This is a combination of the beefsteak tomato and the black tomatoes.  Unfortunately the one I stepped on was a black tomato.




So, into a container they went.





Snapped on the lid, and into the refrigerator.  These will be delicious in salads this week.  Or BLT's on croissant.  Super delicious.  Aldi sells mini croissants which are about half the size of what you traditionally find in the bakery.  I like the size of these





Back to the lack of rain.  Unfortunately, when you have a season that is as dry at this summer season, keeping the plants in your landscape in tip-top shape is difficult to say the least.  We watered on a regular basis at Crest Avenue, but the gardens have suffered.  When there has been no rain for months (and that is no exaggeration about how it has been this year), the soil is so starved for moisture that when you water it is very quickly absorbed.  So as you stand there with the garden hose watering your boxwood or ornamental grasses or any of a number of other shrubs, the soil all around that plant is absorbing the water before it has a chance to nourish the roots of your plants.  That is why daily watering in these times is so important if you want to keep your plants alive throughout the drought.  If you are interested, take a test in your own yard. Set up a sprinkler of your choice and set the timer for say, 30 minutes.  Let the sprinkler run for that amount of time, turn it off and then choose a spot anywhere in the area covered by the sprinkler and start digging. You will be shocked to see that the water from the sprinkler has saturated only about an inch down.  So it takes an enormous amount of watering to keep things alive and thriving during drought periods.  We will be taking a walk through the gardens in the coming days and marking plants for removal that did not make it through this drought. Fortunately we are expecting rain today, this afternoon.  Later in the week we are expecting a few showers. This will help but we have a rainfall deficit of -3.7 inches in Cheverly.  
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