I have large tomatoes, plenty of them…that is not the trouble. Hornworms. and cracking, those are the troubles.
Right now, I am picking the fruits just turning red and ripening them on my window.
Hornworms are officially called Manduca quinquemaculata. As caterpillars they are voracious pests, munching through incredible amounts of your tomato harvest.
How To Prevent Hornworms?
- Till the ground pre-season to destroy up to 90% of overwintering of them.
- Wasp larvae attach themselves to hornworms and are a biological control.
- Dill, basil, and marigolds are companions to tomato plants which help repel them.
Some Cracking Rainstorms
The other malady of my tomato plants is the case of the cracking fruit. What causes the lines and opening of the tomato skin? Just the weather conditions we experienced: Dry weather period followed by rainstorms. It was the lack of water which caused the splitting skin. The answer would have been more regular watering during a droughty period.
Rains have left the ground in good condition for sowing some late summer seeds for the fall crops. That is next on my agenda.
This Is The Time Of Year That My Garden Gets Away From Me
The weeds, the harvest, the garden maintenance…. all need attention. As an older gardener both my health and summer’s heat conspired against me. I must take a laissez faire attitude against the chores which go undone while I take refuge from hot temperatures.
But thankfully, the days are cooler and less humid this week! I look forward to catching up.
The earth looks so gratefully green after its thirst is quenched. I, too, have joined its gratefulness and drink in the blue skies and high cotton clouds.
The Turn Of Summer
Chrysanthemums have appeared at the stores, a sure sign that we face the end of summertime. It is this shift of plant focus that signals the wax and wane of our seasons.
Chrysanthemums used to be perennial in my garden, but now it is difficult to bring them through the winter. They have always needed more protection in this rural garden. The scathing winds and bare winter earth was too much for the varieties planted here. I imagine there were other factors of neglect that contributed to their short lived existence, as well.
Mums tend to be garden plants that thrive on cultivation and fade way with a wild, competitive garden. They like space and room, plenty of fertilizer and being reset every few years.
These days I treat them like annuals.
I will look for an apricot one to place in my large container, and soft pinks for the containers on either side of my front walk.
Cushion mumsGrowing Cushion Mums
It is too early, but already my thoughts turn towards the hope that I will be a better, more attentive gardener next year. I am reining them in to create a more “in the moment” framework of savoring the bounty of autumn.
The garden is not finished with the end of summer, it is gathering strength for a grand finale.
How is your garden growing? Are you tempted by the bulbs and baskets of chrysanthemums yet?