No crop from the vegetable garden feeds a gardener’s soul better than tomatoes — big, firm, juicy, colorful tomatoes, truly the fruits of love. Well, Grumpy isn’t feeling the love this year. This year’s crop of tomatoes stinks.
Grumpy’s tomato plants have good soil. Grumpy’s tomato plants have good light. Grumpy’s have good water. Grumpy’s tomato plants have good food. Grumpy’s tomato plant have lots of leaves. Grumpy’s tomato plants have lots of flowers. Only one thing Grumpy’s tomato plants lack.
Blame the Weather
To be fair, lots of people in Grumpiana are suffering from TD, otherwise known as Tomato Dysfunction. TD can be chemically induced — too much nitrogen before bedtime is common — but in this case the cause is almost certainly the weather. In much of the country, summer has been way too hot for tomato plants to perform satisfactorily.
The flowers of most tomato varieties will not pollinate when daytime temperatures rise into the mid-90′s and nighttime temps fail to drop below 74. No pollination, no tomatoes. Well, tarnation, where I live we just got our first nighttime low under 70 degrees since May. It’s been over 90 degrees every day since May.
Could be worse. So far in 2011, Dallas has had 40 days with morning lows of 80 or above and 40 straight days with daytime highs above 100. Living in Dallas is like living in Kuwait, only Kuwait has more water.
Some Like It Hot
If only I’d known this summer was going to be hotter than Kate Middleton in the Royal Jacuzzi. Then I could have planted tomato varieties that set fruit even in hot weather, such as ‘Arkansas Traveler,’ ‘Atkinson,’ ‘Homestead 24,’ ‘Mortgage Lifter,’ ‘Pink Brandywine,’ ‘Solar Fire,’ ‘Sunmaster,’ and ‘Super Sioux.’ But it’s too late now. So that’s why Grumpy needs YOU to lift his flagging spirits.
Let’s See ‘Em!
I just know that some great tomato growers out there are harvesting truckloads of luscious tomatoes right now despite the summer heat and drought. So email Grumpy some photos of your tomatoes, using the “Ask A Question” link above. Tell me what variety they are and what ingenious methods you used to overcome Mother Nature. Grumpy will post your photos in a future blog and share your tomato-growing wisdom with the world.
In the Meantime…..
Can anybody out there tell Grumpy what “Manitoba” is? No, it’s not a sweet, Jewish wine.