Jun 16, 2011
The writing is on the wall...
How easily it all can turn. I had some stunning seedlings this year, some of the best ever, actually. I really felt this was going to be the best year ever for tomatoes. I had more growth than I'd ever seen, strong stems, was religious about trimming them and supporting them, and I'd never seen so much fruit set before.
Today I actually cried. At first I just picked up my shears (always disinfected nowadays) and started trimming off the blight exactly where I stopped yesterday, and the day before. The spray is having no effect, and it's spreading. As I watched the leaves pile up in the trash I just sat down on the raised bed and cried. I've never cried over the garden before, I feel like a crazy lady!
Of course the truth is I could go to the Farmer's Market to buy tomatoes, but my job is to grow food for my family. I pride myself on my ability to grow, preserve and serve as much of my hard work as possible and even though I know it happens to everyone sooner or later, I feel like a failure! There's no way I could ever afford to buy farmer's market tomatoes for canning (can you imagine purchasing a few hundred pounds?!) and I really wouldn't even want to, even those sit around for awhile and aren't as fresh as mine, and damnit, it's just not the same! So what do I do, give up for the year?
Here's the update:
The entire Amish Paste bed looks as if it will be ripped out this weekend. Definitely 2 of the 3 Red Zebra will have to go. I found 2 branches on the bottom of a Hillbilly plant, and even found signs on the Brandywines tonight that weren't there at 2 pm today.
Above, 4 total Amish Paste have now been removed. Below, just hoping some of these will ripen before I yank the rest of the bed. There are loads of fruit on these, but every hour it seems there are more branches yellow and dead.
The Brandywines look amazing in the below photo taken today about 1 pm, but this evening I pulled 2 lower branches on the back side and sprayed the remaining drops of copper fungicide I had. I will probably go out and buy some more to try and save these, the Amish Paste were too far gone by the time I sprayed them. I can't really afford to do this, though, at what point do I call "time"?!
I've been kind of a zombie all afternoon and evening, my poor kids know something is up - I'm short tempered and on the verge of tears every time I look out the back door. How crazy is that? To be crying over some tomato plants? I even tried to look at the bright side, it obviously means that this type of life and eating is the norm here, the food I grow is the only source of vegetables, I haven't been to the produce section of a grocery store for veggies in over 2 years except onions and potatoes. I think this is why I'm affected so badly, I pride myself on having good things stashed away for winter and it looks like I may have nothing to show for my efforts this year. I've also noticed 2 leaves on my pepper plants that look the same tonight. But at what point am I just seeing blight everywhere I look, no matter if it's real or not LOL?
Should I attempt to grow more seedlings from a resistant variety? Should I buy resistant "big box" varieties of unknown origin (yikes)? Do I give up on tomatoes this year? I will definitely have to grow resistant hybrids for the next couple of years probably until it's out of the soil, unless we get some consistent 20 degree weather this winter, that's unlikely. At least I have time before next year to find resistant varieties that come from a responsible source.
Since I felt particularly unlucky today, hubby and Finn planted my gourd and zucchini seedlings for me :)
Finn hugged me and told me he was sad for my tomatoes too, and that he named his plant, it's an Ornamental Gourd he called "Mental Gourds" and the zucchini is "Pythorius Redonculus"... which means absolutely nothing but is so cute I had to laugh.
As a sidenote: Sometimes I feel like the family doesn't notice or appreciate all the hard work that goes into what arrives on their plates and fills the cupboards and freezer. I often feel like tapping the mike..."hey, is this thing on??" Then Loch came home with a letter he had written that his teacher had sent home today, this darn near made me a sobbing mess, but it's why I do what I do, and wow... the kid notices!
Thanks in advance for your kind words, I know they are headed my way and that's the reason I had to vent this evening! I never feel in competition with any of my blogger family and feel utterly comfortable in sharing my failures, I know we all have them sooner than later, but it sure does seem many of us are having more than our share in 2011. Honestly, when I was trimming blight I thought of how fun it would be for everyone to bring their blight, bugs, downed trees and drowned seedlings to a group bonfire, we could all pass a bottle while throwing our stuff to the fire and having a little chit chat with Mother Nature!
p.s. don't worry, I'm sure the big girl panties will show up soon and I will put them on and brush myself off and come up with a plan! :)
Here's another kicker: I'm hosting a garden party Saturday night for a local group of gardeners, looks like they'll be able to get a better visual of disease symptoms than they can get from textbook photos!