I’m not sure what to think about this season’s garden tomatoes. The expression “failure to thrive” comes to mind. Sadly, the basil and the corn in this box aren’t doing so hot either.
Generally speaking, tomatoes are fairly easy to grow. The plant is part of the nightshade family, so their poisonous leaves remain untouched. The small yellow flowers attract the bees and before you know it (usually!) you have a vine of ripening tomatoes. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the production as they fruit all at once. That has not been a problem this year.
I planted half a dozen bedding plants in the spring. Some years I start from seed, but I didn’t save any last year so I went the lazy route. I put several small tomato plants in my raised VegTrug and three more in my vegetable box.
I had one more plant in need of a home, so I popped it into the curb garden where it would get plenty of sun in the company of the perennials.
It’s taken nearly four months for three of the plants to produce.
The plant in the curb garden never grew more than a few inches tall and the same goes for the plants in the VegTrug.
I amended the soil, and watered faithfully once the rain stopped. The plants aren’t drooping or diseased and there is no sign of garden pests. They’re just small and sad and completely unremarkable.
Poor soil could be the culprit though I amended the soil with coffee grounds which I got for free at our local Starbucks. I kept an eye on the water and I know they’re getting full sun.
Since I really wanted at least one healthy tomato plant, I bought a larger bedding plant in a different variety and planted it in the curb garden. It’s too late in the season to start over with a small plant or from seed. All the perennials are thriving in the box so I know the soil is robust. The new plant looks healthy so far, no thanks to my mad gardening skills.
Time will tell.
Meanwhile, fire season is upon us. Locally, we’ve seen three small fires, two in San Jose and one in nearby Saratoga. They were all extinguished within 24 hours. A fire in nearby Saratoga burned on the other side of the ridge from the camp where my son volunteers. That definitely gave me pause. The emergency alert system sent out a text saying to shelter in place, but when I checked on my son he said all was fine. We learned the following day that the alert went out to everyone in the county! I’m glad the system works, but the error unnecessarily alarmed a lot of people, including this worrywart of a mom. The largest active fire is in Mariposa/Detwiler. It’s burned 76,000 acres so far, but crews have it 40% contained. My hat is off to these firefighters that work tirelessly under unimaginable conditions throughout the fire season.