Bounty and Blight in the Garden

There’s lots happening in my vegetable garden this week – the carrots are out, I’ve started pulling my bulb onions, the spring crops are going gangbusters, and we’re finally getting some rain after a very long hot and dry period.

Last year at this time we’d had a fairly cool and wet spring, which really put a damper on pepper production, but this is a good pepper year. I’ve got lots of poblanos and hungarian banana peppers and quite a few nice sweet red bell peppers ripening. The first zucchini has been harvested and the yellow bush beans, which had a very slow start, are now producing magnificently. The black beauty eggplant has also set some fruit.

But of course, the main event is the tomatoes! I’ve now harvested the first 4 of the orange Flamme salad tomatoes. The Cherokee Purple plant is absolutely laden with large fruit and the Cream Sausage and Mortgage Lifter are producing heavily as well. I’m disappointed in the Amish Paste. It seems to have very few fruits, but maybe it’s just getting shaded too much by the Cherokee Purple. The Isis Candy finally has, like, two cherry-size fruits. So this looks to be a season of mixed successes with the tomato varieties. (You can see what I planted in my post Reap What You Sow.)

The good news is that the reflective tape seems to be working so far to keep the birds away. (See How To Protect Tomatoes From Birds.) The bad news is that a couple of the plants are showing signs of stress and/or disease.

The Flamme tomato is starting to have leaves turn yellow and branches die back.

The Cream Sausage has been looking great, but I’ve started to find fruits with blossom-end rot.

So to address whatever blight is affecting these plants I went off to my favorite local nursery and asked for advice. I am pretty sure they have a Calcium deficiency (blossom-end rot) and possibly a Nitrogen deficiency (yellowing leaves). Well, the nursery staff also suggested that the yellow leaves are die back due to the extreme heat we’ve been having. At any rate, I purchased a small bag of Espoma Tomato-tone and applied 3 Tablespoons around each of my tomatoes (and my peppers too) and then watered it in well.

I’m generally pretty bad at remembering to fertilize or even having the intention to “feed” my plants. Instead, I generally rely on seasonal applications of compost and that’s it. So I’ve set a reminder on my to feed the tomatoes every two weeks. Let’s see what happens! I’m really hoping this saves my plants. Happy gardening!

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