Monday, August 31, 2009

Garden Blogger's Death Day August 2009

Warning: The Harvest Monday post is below. Please scroll down if you want pretty harvests and G rated posts. This post features death, destruction and carnage. People with heart conditions or high blood pressure should avoid this post. Not recommended for young viewers. Contains out of control infections, swarming wasps, monstrous aliens, evil villains and bad mothers. Don't say you weren't warned.

Ah another Death Day rolls around. The end of August seems so appropriate for such a day. The summer plants are failing and starting to die. Some are already dead. Powdery mildew has my squash in their death grip. They valiantly try to produce, but mostly fail. Usually I would pull the plants up at this point and throw in a cover crop, but I have harvested so little that I'd desperate for more to freeze for my zucchini bread in the winter.

Rust is creeping up my beans. The infections spread. The leaves die and slowly fall to cover the ground. They foreshadow the death of the leaves on the trees.

Though the previous two infections are nasty they really don't belong in a horror movie. However late blight qualifies. They can take out most of the leaves of a plant overnight. I had dead and dying leaves littering my garden. Three tomato plants have already been pulled. The rest are trying to resist. They are putting out new growth very quickly. The new quick growth seems more susceptible, but there is so much maybe they can survive. Will the tomatoes or the late blight win? Tune in during September to find out.

Two eggplant seemed to get blight too, or maybe it is some other disease. The ones that were affected only produced a single tiny eggplant each. They were no more than 3 oz. Small sad little things. The plants are gone now. Their poor broken bodies have been lovingly wrapped up in black plastic and sent to their cremation (our town's trash goes to the incinerator). The site of their death has been commemorated with several inches of compost from the potato bin. A memorial crop of spinach will be grown to remember them by.

Oh no there are alien monsters int he garden. The tomato hornworms were rampant. They were hard to find before the blight defoliated the plants. I think they were using their invisibility cloaks. I would see worm poop so I knew they were there, but I couldn't catch them until the leaves were gone. Then it was death for the aliens. Snip! I thought about putting that photo on too, but a smart editor decided to clip that scene out. The post is hard enough to read without having to see caterpillar guts.

Oh the potatoes! Quick hide your eyes. Children are dying here. If you remember from spring the potoates caused me so much grief. I may have to write the Saga of the Potatoes Part III. I finally had to take them down due to blight. I figured I would get some potatoes since it had been about 3 1/2 weeks from when they bloomed. The bin is filled with compost so I dug some of it up to use for the spinach bed. Sigh. I found little tiny potatoes along the stem. They were just children - dead before their time. Will there be any edible potatoes under all that compost anywhere? Time will tell, but for now I will morn the children that will never grow up.

My pineapple tomatillos were just staring to produce when the dreaded chipmunk found them. There is no sign of the evil villain, but I see signs of his passing under the plants. The ground is covered in tomatillo husks. Next year they are getting caged. I would rather cage up the evil villain, but when all else fails you can cage off the plant.

So I've had death by insect, death by disease, and death by rodent. So I get one more. Death by beneficial insect.

My wasps I usually consider beneficial insects. They feed insects to their young - usually caterpillars. This is a good thing. Now they have taken to eating my raspberries. In the 18 years these bushes have been in the ground, they have never been attacked by wasps before. Not once. Now I'm finding half my harvest eaten. They start by putting in a small hole at the tip and eat out the whole raspberry. They leave nothing but the seeds. In addition they are making the raspberries hard to harvest. I'm picking the ripe berries right next to the berry they picked to eat. They mostly ignore me, but sometimes if the berry doesn't come off easily the stem snaps back and the wasps get startled and swarm around.

The sadest image of them all is when the gardener herself neglects the plants. I planted these out last week. As you can see I've neglected to water them. I did this, not once, but three times and they were only three weeks old when they were planted. The poor things are burnt by being too close to the lights and now they are dying of thirst. I've been a really bad mother.

Well I've got more photos of other nasty things, but you've seen my leaf miners and four lined plant bug damage before. If I show them too much they might get uppity and think they are stars. They will get agents and start making me pay to have them star in my Death Day posts. The poor blueberries wouldn't sign the release form, so I can't put their photo up. Oh and gee I forgot the weather deaths. Well no real deaths there. Just a few bean poles leaning over. I tied some string to the old pea trellis to keep them up. So there you have it. So much death in the garden and I didn't even hit the flowering plants. Really you don't want to see those. It isn't pretty. I really shouldn't traumatize my faithful readers.

If you really haven't had enough, you can be traumatized by visiting Kate over at Gardening Without Skills once she gets her Death Day post up. Don't say I didn't warn you though. It isn't pretty.

Harvest Monday August 31 2009

Monday (not shown): onions
Tuesday: tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumbers, beans

This week was an exciting week in the harvest. The last of the non-cherry tomatoes were pulled as was the eggplant. To take their place is the start of the raspberries and dried beans. The garden is slowly moving away from the summer garden and into the fall garden.

Wednesday: squash blossoms, cucumbers, beans, tomatillos, tomatoes, dried beans (not shown)

Raspberries picked on: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday

Since the last of the non-cherry tomatoes were pulled I thought I'd look at their total harvests for the year. There were three varieties planted in 4 five gallon pails. There were two Market Miracle tomatoes. They produced a total of 15 lbs of tomatoes or 7.5lbs each. The next biggest producer was Black Moor at 5.5lbs. This was a reasonably tasty black plum tomato. It as prone to blossom end rot, but still produced well. The loser in so many ways was Early Ssubakus Aliana. It only produced 3.4lbs and like many yellow tomatoes was very mild (read tasteless). It was candy sweet, but didn't taste like a tomato.

Thursday: tomatillo (not shown), cayenne, tomato, squash blossoms (not shown)

Of these I think I will only grow Market Miracle again. Considering it was a bad tomato year, it was container grown , had late blight and was serverly pruned, it still performed admirably. I'd love to see what it can do in a good year. Even if it doesn't do better, having a tomato that can still reliably produce in our unpredictable weather is very useful.

Friday: tropea onion, tatsoi, mizuna, komatsuna, cucumber, beans, rosemary, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, dried beans (not shown)

Sunday: tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, beans, bunching onion, Armenian cucumber

So here are the weekly tally totals:

  • Alliums 1.00
  • Beans 3.20 lbs
  • Berries 1.13 lbs
  • Cucurbits 1.19 lbs
  • Eggplant 0.53 lbs
  • Greens 0.89 lbs
  • Herbs 0.19 lbs
  • Peppers 0.26 lbs
  • Tomatillo 0.26 lbs
  • Tomatoes 10.89 lbs

Weekly total: 19.53 lbs
Weekly spent: $0
Yearly total: 147.92 lbs
Yearly earned: $529.62

If you would like to join in showing off your harvest, put your name and URL into Mr. Linky below. It doesn't matter how big or small your harvest is. You don't have to count the pounds like I do. If you have had a harvest this last week, show us and join in!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Calm before the Storms

Today we are getting hit by three different fronts all colliding at once. My trusty weatherman has taken to calling it "hybrid storm Danny" since one of the fronts is the remains of tropical storm Danny. Danny is a warm weather system. We also have a nor'easter hitting at the same time. Nor'easters are storms formed by cold weather. So it will be a wild day.

Yesterday the wild life and your trusty gardener were preparing for the storm in own ways. The wild turkeys were roosting in the backyard woods occasionally taking a break to scratch in the dirt for bugs. They weren't too pleased by my going out to garden.

What are you looking at me for? Go mind your own business.

They decided to find a less busy spot to roost over the fence in my neighbor's yard. I wonder what they do during a big storm. Do they hunker down or do they start looking for the worms that rise to the surface during heavy rains?

The bees were busy in the sedum collecting nectar. This plant was swarming with bees. It was quite fun to watch. Sadly during the sunflower bee count there were no bees. Now I know where they all went.

I had another rush of busyness in the garden. I put in the last of the fall seedlings. I had 5 komatsuna, 2 tatsoi and a handful of lettuce plants that went in. My laundry room seems so dark now. The seedlings are all gone. The grow light is off - at least until next year.

No more eggplants

Then I ripped out my eggplant. The only one that was putting out nice eggplants were my Slim Jims and with the sun so low they are now shaded most of the day by my bean plants. I figured it was time to plant spinach and mache anyway.

I didn't plant the seeds yet. They might get washed away since we are predicted to have 3-5 inches of rain, but I did prepare the beds. I added compost to this spot and where some of the onions used to grow. Then turned it under. I'd been waiting for the weather to break before planting out and now we have some nice cool weather predicted. Now I just need to somehow keep the sowbugs and slugs from eating the seedlings before they are really up. I've never grown mache before. I got the seed from Michelle over at From Seed To Table. I'm hoping they will overwinter.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Beautiful Beans

Ottawa Cranberry

Earlier this year I tried to save peas for next year's seed. It didn't work out. It rained. The peas rotten on the vine. It kept raining. I tried harvesting them and letting the pods dry out inside. The pods molded over. It rained some more. Now August is our driest month. On average we only get 3.5" of rain, but I have noticed a pattern to our August rains over the years. We tend to get a lot of sunny dry weather and when the rain comes it comes in a big way then it is sunny and dry again. This makes for some good dried bean picking weather if you time your picking right.

Trail of Tears

Wednesday night we had predictions of isolated thunderstorms. With isolated storms you just can't predict what will happen. It might stay dry or it might pour. Last Saturday morning we got an inch of rain in 45 minutes. That afternoon we were at a BBQ in Arlington, out neighboring town, and they didn't have one drop of rain. Wednesday had been a dry day up to then with temps in the mid eighties. I had some nice dry pods ready to be picked on the plants.

Pods from Trail of Tears Beans

I picked any pods that were mostly dry. It ended up being a nice small bag full of pods. I didn't want to leave them in their pods. My experience with the peas told me that they might mold over if the humidity is high. So I shelled them that day in front of the TV. It takes quite a while to hand shell beans, but I didn't have so many that I went crazy doing it. I love the silken feel of the bean right out of its pod.

I ended up with two nice piles of dried beans. I have about 19 oz of Trail of Tears and 11 oz of Ottawa Cranberry so far. Most of the pods are still on the vine. I'll go out again today to pick more pods. The predicted thunderstorms on Wednesday never showed up and it has been dry since. Saturday tropical storm Danny shows up and it will dump 2-4 inches of rain on us and get everything wet again. I don't want those beans to rot on me.

I hope most of them get ripe before we get into September. Over the years I've found September to be drizzly and damp. The last couple of years have belied that, but it is more likely to be constantly wet, which is not good dried bean weather.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Three Happy Surprises

Yesterday was filled with some happy surprises. Since I cleared out my path I could actually get down to the end to look at things. Usually I just go down to pick my tomatoes. This time I could spend some time down there.

I found that my Magdelena Big Cheese is finally turning beige. Whoohoo! I'm going to get at least a little squash from the garden. I was afraid this year I'd get nothing. The squash is not big. In fact it is quite small, but at least one fruit will ripen in time. I have another fruit that is getting bigger. Maybe I'll get two?

As I was looking at the squash I looked up to the cucumber trellis. I saw my second surprise. An Armenian cucumber finally set. It is the first one. I'd seen a ton of male blossoms, but I'd written them off already this year and figured I'd have to live with just my Diamant pickling cuke. I'll keep an eye on this one and hopefully pick him soon.

My last nice surprise was my fall raspberries. I didn't expect them to ripen so soon. I actually missed the first couple as they rotted and were attacked my some wasps.

Can you see the wasp in the lower right raspberry?

I never get tired of raspberries. I like the fall raspberries a lot. They are so much easier to pick then the summer ones. The only canes are the ones bearing fruit so I can see all there is to pick. With the summer raspberries I become a contortionist trying to see where all the ripe ones are. Fall raspberries also tend to be bigger for me. Maybe in the summer the plants' energy is partially being used to grow new canes. In the fall the only thing they need to do is put out nice plump raspberries.

I had these on my cereal this morning. Yum!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Something came over me this morning. I'm not sure quite what it was. Maybe it is the coming fall and my mind was on cleaning up the garden. Whatever it was I was quite hell bent on destruction.

The first up was my potato patch. They had flowered hmm maybe a little less than four weeks ago. The blight was really starting to take hold. Kenebec potatoes are resistant but not by any means immune to blight. I didn't see it deep in the bottom foliage for a long time but it was there. The other day I moved away some of the pretty green leaves and saw to my dismay massive late blight sending spores all over the place. Sigh.

Potato bin cleaned out (note the unwalkable path)

I ripped all the foliage up and packed it up into some nice black plastic bags. I tried to clean up all traces of any potato leaf. Underneath it all it was dripping with dead leaves. The potatoes had covered some of my tithoina and the tithonia was mildewing out. I don't know if tithonia gets late blight or it was just a bad case of some other mildew, but the two plants were pretty bad off. I ripped them up too. I'll leave the potatoes in their spot for a little while yet. I'll let the sun kill off some of those late blight spores before I dig them up. I'll probably dig them up during the next good dry spell (if we get one).

Then it was over to my tomato plants. There were a few more blighted leaves that were taken off. I noticed that almost all the Market Miracle tomatoes were either gone or turning red. I picked them all and ripped down those two plants.

The Black Moor tomato was getting blight all along its stems. I picked the one last tomato that was close to ripening and ripped the rest of the plant out.

By now I was having quite a bit of fun ripping out my plants. I looked at my Early Ssubakus Aliana and noticed she was getting worse. She doesn't seem all that affected by the blight, but she was turning yellow and not just her tomatoes. The irrigation system that I hacked together watered her too much. Her poor roots were probably rotting. I figured I ought to rip her up too. First I harvested just under three pounds of her fruit. Then off to the plastic bag for her.

By this time I had two full lawn and leaf bags. I'm going to leave them out in the sun today. Then I'll haul them to the transfer station. Sigh I usually don't throw very much away. Things get composted, recycled or reused, but the blighted plants will get dumped.

Since I was still in a destructive mood, I decided to clear my paths. The poor marigolds didn't have much room in their beds to grow, so they elected to spill over into the paths. I've been letting them grow there, but I've been getting annoyed by them. It has been so humid recently that the dew takes until about 11am to dry off. I can't pick anything in the morning without getting soaked walking by the marigolds. I cut them back so I would have some nice paths. While I was at it I cut back the tomatillos so they wouldn't be stepped on in the paths.I hauled a huge pile of waste to the compost pile.

Overview with my cleaned out paths

I don't know why ripping up plants is so cathartic. Maybe I'm taking my aggressions out on the plants, or maybe it is just the order that I achieve afterwards. I do like having a cleaned up garden and I love being able to walk down the paths without stepping on things. I will miss the waft of marigold scent though and I will miss picking massive quantities of tomatoes, but I still have my cherries at least until the blight gets them too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pineapple Tomatillos

I have been slowly collecting my pineapple tomatillos off the plants. They can last a couple months on the counter top if left in their husk, so I haven't been rushing on them. I've used them on and off in fresh salsas and they are pretty good that way. Since they are small, most of the salsa ends up being tomatoes, with little hints of pineapple. But as time progresses, the tomatillos have been piling up.

It was time to use the ripest ones up. The first chore was to dehusk them all. The pineapple tomatillos are tiny - only about 1/2" across if that. So it takes a lot of the little guys to do anything.

I wanted to make a cooked salsa to freeze for the winter. I chose to use my yellow tomatoes since it would scream pineapple just from the color. I put the tomatoes and tomatillos through the strainer. Did you know that tomatillos have really tiny little seeds? Well they do. The tomato screen really wasn't the best choice if I wanted to get all the little seeds out, but I wasn't going to rescreen it with my berry screen.

In addition those little seeds are a pain to clean out of the tomato screen since they are just the right size to get stuck. Lesson learned. I'll not do that again. Maybe next time I'll just puree the tomatillos and live with their skins and seeds.

I negelected to take a photo of the finsihed product. But trust me it was yellow with green spots where the chili peppers were. It turned out just OK. Those yellow Aliana tomatoes are not the tastiest. They are very sweet, but lack any hint of tomato essence. The pineapple tomatillos added a lot, but not enough to overcome the wishy-washy Aliana. I think next time I'll use the traditional red tomatoes. Hmm or maybe some Sungolds if I want to keep a more pineapply flavor.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Harvest Monday August 23, 2009

Part of Monday's harvest 8/17: tomatoes, bunching onions, zucchini, tomatillos.

Hot months always have the high harvest and August has been by far our hottest. June languished in the 60°Fs (15-20C). July picked up a bit but still was below normal. In August we have had some hot weather. This last week we finally made it into the 90°Fs (32C) for the first time this summer. OK maybe it was only one day, but we got there. The heat has been a boon for my tomatoes (yes tomatoes yet again). They have finally turned with all the hot weather. This week was the week of the tomato. I harvested over 30lbs of tomatoes. Some of them were just turning and are now ripening on the windowsill.

More of Monday's harvest: komatsuna, chard, mizuna, tatsoi and squash blossoms. Not shown on Monday: more tomatoes and eggplant.

Next week I won't get nearly as many. When my late blight hit I trimmed all the blossoms and small tomatoes off of my Market Miracle plants so they just had about 20 tomatoes each left on them. I only left the sprays with the biggest ones so the plants would put all of their energy into getting those ones ripe. Well it was a success considering the late blight, but I will always wonder what my yields would have been without having to cut all of the little ones off. I tried to do this with my other tomatoes too but they keep trying to put out more foliage and tomatoes and I didn't keep up with them. I may yet get some September tomatoes if I don't have another bad round of late blight.

Tuesday (photo not taken): tomatillos, cucumber, squash blossoms, tomatoes.

Wednesday: squash blossoms, tomatillos, tomatoes, cucumbers.

The heat finally made the cucumbers take off. Well not really take off but at least produce a little. I have nine cucumber plants. I should be canning away, but not this year. At least I have enough for some nice refrigerator pickles.

Thursday (two photos): coriander, dill seed (not weighed yet, will do this after I finish the harvest), cayenne, serrano, jalapeno, tomato, tomatillo. Not shown: beans, tropea onion.

The zucchini did produce a little, but it never took off. Powdery mildew is taking over so I'll never get much of a harvest. Today I had two female blooms on my plants. There were no male blooms to be seen of that species. So sad. They probably won't set. I'm hoping they open up again tomorrow, but I'm not optimistic.

Friday: eggplant, cucumber, tomatillo, tomato.

My beans are slowly starting to put on a harvest again. They have liked the hot weather this week. Soon I'll get some more. My dried beans are just starting to dry out their first pods. I'll wait until we get some dry weather this coming week and pick all the ones that are ready.

Saturday: tomato, cucumber, beans, tomatillo.

The Slim Jim eggplants are in production now. I've picked off several. One Lavender Touch eggplant put out one tiny eggplant then succumbed to blight (at least that is what it looks like). I pulled it up. The tomatillo is happy to spread into its spot. The other one is not doing very well even though it is trying to put out its first eggplant. I think this variety is not good for me. It needs more heat. Not that it matters much. I think I'm not going to grow eggplants again. I just don't like eating them enough. I'd rather have more hot peppers and tomatoes for salsa.

Sunday: tomato, tomatillo, eggplant. Not shown: beans.

I found an error in my spreadsheet. It was not adding all the money up. It had just the Sungolds prices on, not the other tomatoes and it was missing the squash blossoms. Whoops! Only the yearly totals were wrong, but I think I have it all fixed up. So here are the weekly tally totals:

  • Alliums 1.34
  • Beans 0.26 lbs
  • Cucurbits 3.54 lbs
  • Eggplant 0.59 lbs
  • Greens 1.52 lbs
  • Peppers 1.00 lbs
  • Tomatillo 0.18
  • Tomatoes 32.58 lbs

Weekly total: 41.01 lbs
Weekly spent: $0
Yearly total: 128.40 lbs
Yearly earned: $442.55

I'm way over the 100 lb mark. This week made me feel a bit like Annie's Granny - without all the canning since I'm freezing everything.

If you would like to join in showing off your harvest, put your name and URL into Mr. Linky below. It doesn't matter how big or small your harvest is. You don't have to count the pounds like I do. If you have had a harvest this last week, show us and join in!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Forgotten

Every morning I go out to harvest my tomatoes. They have garnered most of my attention in the last few weeks. On the way to the plants I pass by a small section of row covered brassicas. I don't look at them often. It is not their season to produce. The poor things have been ignored.

These plants were seeded inside on June 10th and potted up at the beginning of July. They were put out into the garden on July 21st. Since then I've not even looked at them. They are covred up by a row cover so a bit hard to see, so they tend to be forgotten. Yesterday as I walked by they were yelling at me in robust voices, "Let me out!" They were pushing against the row cover with all their might. They didn't like being constrained.

So I peeked under and I have some very healthy broccoli, kale, and Chinese cabbage.

Sadly I also have some very healthy weeds. I started pulling the weeds until I remembered that I didn't have time to weed a bed. I take a class on Saturdays and can't spend all morning in the garden. I had to pick my harvest and bring it and and get it washed up. There was no time for weeding. Do you ever do that to yourself? I mean to go out to the garden for one thing and then I end up doing something totally different.

Since I had two patches of brassica in the garden, I figured I'd peek under the other row cover. They seem to be growing well too. This bed has all the same plants as the last, but also has mizuna, tatsoi, and komatsuna. Plus the row cover is taller so the plants don't get squished. The plants here aren't quite as large. This bed isn't in full sun so things don't grow as well, but still they grow, so the bed is used.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Beauty of the Beans

In the past I've always grown snap beans. I don't like snap beans from the grocery store and won't eat them, but the ones from my garden are always tasty. This year I decided to grow dried beans as well. I've grown them in the distant past. I think I swore never to grow them again for some reason. Was it because they are so hard to harvest? Or because they don't produce all the much for the space they take? I can't remember. That is probably the reason I'm growing them again.

My snap beans are my tried and true Kentucky Wonder. Every year they produce well and just keep coming. This time they have failed me. I've gotten less then ten beans off of the plants in a couple of weeks. I do finally see a lot of flowers blooming on them, so maybe they will start to produce again. They haven't been all that healthy. I think the bean patch has some rust in it and the Kentucky Wonder is the worst off. The other beans have it too but just a few leaves at the bottom of the plant.

Both of my other two beans are from the Ottawa gardener. I wanted to grow Trail of Tears and she offered some to me, along with an unknown cranberry bean that I have dubbed the Ottawa Cranberry.

Trail of Tears is an incredibly vigorous plant. It has been taking trying to take over the Kentucky Wonder poles and it has finally succeeded in its incursion on one pole. It is so wrapped up in the other beans I can't get rid of it now. Well no matter. Supposedly it makes a good snap bean when young too.

Trail of Tears

The pods start out a nice dark green, but over the last week the older ones have been changing color. They are a deep purple red. They are so pretty. But not nearly as pretty as the other dried bean.

Ottawa Cranberry

Isn't this bean just goregous. It makes me smile every time I go out into the garden. It is such a wonderful laced pinkish red. I had no idea the boring green pods would turn out to be butterflies. I just hope they taste as good as they look.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tomatoes Again?

So Monday I wrote about my harvests which were mostly tomatoes (3/4 of the harvest by weight). Tuesday I wrote about the tomato festival. So today I should write about something else, but nope. I'm giving you yet more tomatoes.

The bad news first. Late blight has just about defoliated my plants. The photo above is what my Sungolds looked like a week ago. Below is what they look like now. I have plenty of fruit. The fruit seems pretty resistant to the blight. A few stems have had it and needed to be cut off, but mostly I've just cut off all of the leaves that have shown any signs. I thought our hot weather would have helped a bit, but nope. It was hot and humid weather. Every night we have had heavy dews and no wind. So the water just sits on the leaves. The temps at night are in the 70s which is perfect blight weather. Sigh.

The above photo is of my worse off Market Miracle tomato. Look at all the beautiful fruit. They are turning red slowly, but there are just a few healthy leaves left. I suppose in a way I should count myself lucky. I first found the late blight in the garden in July about three weeks ago (or June ages ago on my potatoes). It didn't spread as fast as it could have. I've been really good about keeping any sign of it picked off of the plants. I go over them pretty thoroughly, but the thick Sungolds were my downfall. I couldn't find all the diseased leaves in the mass of foliage. Once I missed a bit then it spread and took over.

The Market Miracle really produces well for me. I think if there weren't late light I would get about 30-50lbs. Their issue is that they like to drop their fruit easily. While picking off leaves these five tomatoes fell off. I hope the green ones ripen. Sometimes in the morning I'll go out and a partially ripe one will be on the ground.

That hasn't been all that my tomatoes have had to deal with. This year has been hornworm central. I've had better tomatoes (baring the blight of course) than in any year in the past and the hornworms have liked the feast. I saw signs of them about a week ago but couldn't find them in the mass of foliage. Now that the foliage has mostly been stripped off, they are much easier to find. I killed two that weren't parasitized by the braconid wasp. I've never had the wasps in my garden before. I've seen other gardeners post photos about them but never saw them before. I think I found my hornworms too quickly in the past. If I wait the wasps can get them. I left all the worms with cocoons on the plants.

But life hasn't been all bad on the tomato front. I've been picking 2-3 lbs of fruit a day this week. We just can't keep up with all the cherry tomatoes. They cover my counter top.

I do try to eat them all. I have fresh salsa and cherry tomato varient of caprese salad everyday. I think a large caprese salad is in the works for a friend's BBQ this weekend. I eat the tomatoes as I pass through the kitchen, but sill I can't keep up. I've resorted to making tomato sauce out of them. Unlike Granny I've been freezing my sauce, not canning it. I have a lot of freezer space. Today some cooked salsa is in the works and that too will be frozen. I was going to can these but Poor Richard's Almanac had a warning that late blight can lower tha acidity of tomatoes so I'll just freeze it all to be safe.