Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Here Comes the Rain
We've had several thunderstorms roll through the area, and with the return of rain and the bonus nitrogen from the storm the garden has put on another spurt of growth. I've been somewhat hands off lately because the bunnies got in through the fence again and ate the beans just as they were starting to flower, in addition to leveling one of the carrot patches and de-leafing the cucumbers and summer squash. I've accepted that until I get up a real solid fence I'm just going to lose.
I suppose hands off is relative though as I've been spending a good deal of time trying to wrangle the tomato plants that aren't being supported by the florida weave. The little bamboo supports did not cut it, and its been a race to keep them nicely support. A race that I've lost from time to time especially when they put on a growth spurt.
The rain last night actually toppled some of the purple Cherokee plants as it swelled up their massive fruit set, and they just could stay upright anymore. Luckily I don't see any splitting yet on any of the fruits. With another storm tonight, there's no telling however.
We did finally get some Black Cherry tomatoes, and they were quite tasty. Perhaps not the best I've ever had, but with the soil not being perfect yet I can imagine they'll only get better in the coming years.
During one of my squishing sprees I scared a flea beetle right into the web of a tiny spider, and since the picture came out I figured I'd post it. Like the previous time it ran over and stung the beetle, then retreated and waited for the inevitable.
Early blight has shown up on some of my plants, and I'm both surprised and not surprised. All of the beds are new so crop rotation has nothing to do with it, its just there and I'll have to hope they hang on until the tomatoes on them are ripe. I do plan on disposing of the infected plants either through burning or some other means than adding them to the compost pile, but that's a long time coming.
I found the first tomato hornworm egg on one of my plants late last week and I've been keeping a close eye on it. I haven't found any others to date, so I'm using it as a measure of when I should really do an intense survey for them. When the egg hatches hopefully I'll catch this one before it does to much damage, and it'll let me find the others. I am considering putting up one of my plants with early blight as a sacrificial lamb of sorts, placing the worms on it so they can be parasitized by wasps. Last year every hornworm was nabbed by the wasps, so I'm hoping they have a repeat performance this year.
In this photo from this weekend the caterpillar is more clearly formed, I'm thinking it shouldn't be to long now.