On the Farm- September 6th
Rain continues to fall on the farm, bringing a certain quiet to the fields. As I move between the rows, drops fall, making moist soil even wetter, and drawing the farm deeper into the wilderness. This moisture may lead to rot or the spread of diseases down the road, we will have to wait and see. However, the tomatoes have already had a rough season.
In April the small disc-like seeds, sometime hairy, are dropped in lines and folded into the soil. I cover them to protect them from the greedy paws and mouths of mice in the green house, and with enough heat, water and time, they begin to germinate. As their first true leaves form, the healthiest sprouts of each variety are selected and moved into new soil and a nice roomy pot. Thin wisps grow into healthy pencil-thick vines which take over much of the greenhouse. When danger of frost has passes they are laid in the ground, as deeply as possible, so small hairs on the steam can become roots to steady a large, laden tomato plant. As they grow, stakes are pounded in around them, strings woven between, trellising plants up.
Most years this system is effective and we enjoy a bounty, an access of tomatoes- sandwiches, salads, salsa, sauce and enough to preserve for the winter. Howerver, this year, from their earliest transplanting the tomatoes experienced a cold spell, extremes in moisture, and blossom end rot, they battled tomato hornworms and early blight, all of which have combined and left us with a lot fewer tomatoes then we are used to. So enjoy each bright taste of summer, each juicy slice, and think about putting up a few jars of tomatillos or eggplant instead!