IMG_3274Here we are well into summer for our area, the heat is climbing more consistently into the low 90s, and high 90s are sure not far behind. Things are good, but now we enter that stage of jungly growth and fruit damage. By fruit damage I mean when the whole plant flops over under the weight if its fruit. Staked tomatoes do this, and while unsightly, the plant can handle it and sprawling tomatoes taste as good as well-supported ones. I anticipated this, and I don’t like it, but as I mentioned when planting my tomato plants, I cannot afford to buy 50+ cages. Cages are ideal.

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I harvested my first arm load of tomatoes today, mostly Romans but also some Rosso Sicilianos. These will be combined with some garden fresh basil and the yellow squash my son grew. He harvested his own bounty today for the first time.

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This is the time of the year when mature tomato plants begin shedding unproductive, diseased or pest-damaged foliage. The troubled leaves and stems turn yellow and wither to brown. Some parts of the plant just look ragged. A few of the varieties I am growing have been cranky and showed curled leaves, and they are still doing so. They are fruiting just fine though. With all of these plants, I prune unproductive foliage, yellowing and damaged foliage. I try to keep the jungle less dense that it would be without tending, as this limits damage and promotes good growth. I also want all the plant’s effort to go toward the fruit at this stage, not excess foliage.

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My bell peppers are growing OK, as I mentioned in the last update, peppers seem to grow slowly in pots. I have some nice ones forming however.

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I transplanted many of my fig cuttings and smaller plants to larger containers. I hope this will spur on faster growth. There are many figs on many of my plants, and my big fig tree out front is loaded, so hopefully this summer and fall will be very good for figs.

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As for my micro vineyard, I am very pleased. Two of the four chief vines are almost up to the wire, the third is making good progress despite my poor pruning, and the last straggler will emerge from the protective tube in a week or two and hopefully make the wire by the end of the season. I am very happy to have these vines growing so well, and have applied the appropriate fertilizer according to Bill Ison’s methods. This week they get a dose of Calcium Nitrate to help with vigorous growth. I am thinking seriously about adding two more plants along a new trellis, but I need to consider lawn maintenance difficulties the trellis poles will add. Already I anticipate some unpleasant issues weed-whacking under heavy vine growth. We’ll see.

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There’s an update, I will begin showing fruit and harvests as they come in, I am especially excited about some of the larger tomatoes like Old Italian and Royal Hillbilly, the green ones look amazing so far.

Keep on tending your garden!

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