Container Garden Update — August 24, 2014

by A.J. Coltrane

Previous post here.

August 25, 2013 here for comparison.

Yesterday was a big “haircut day” for the tomatoes. As it turns out, at least one “haircut day” from last year was on August 25th. This year’s decision to give them a haircut was made without looking at last year’s notes. It’s interesting to me how closely the timing worked out.

It seems to me that the great majority of the mold on the tomato plants occurs on the “side shoots” — the leaf-only branches that are at a 90 degree angle to the main stem. The “sucker” branches (that come out of the side shoot/main stem intersection, and grow additional fruit), and the main stems are almost entirely mold free. This is true regardless of the location “side shoot”. The mold is both on exterior, well ventilated side shoots and on leaves that are buried in the interior of the leaf canopy. It’s like the plant figures that if it’s not a fruit producing node then it’s now time to shut down those natural defenses and spend that energy somewhere else.

Lots of pictures this week, mostly of denuded tomato plants.. starting with Wednesdays harvest:

140820

Saturday. That’s a big tomatillo in the bottom right corner:

140822

The Mountain Princess (left) and Taxi (right):

140824 mt princess taxi

An example of some of the mold on those two plants. These survived the initial cut simply to so that the plants weren’t completely stripped of leaves:

140824 mt princess mold

The Black Krim, Tigerella, Sun Gold, and Glacier in a big mass:

140824 krim tigerella sun gold

A closeup of the Sun Golds:

140824 sun gold close

The Sun Golds are flopping on the two frames next to them. They’re also attempting to take over the zucchini trellis. They’re basically done with the bottom of their own box (right):

140824 sun gold back

The intense rain from a couple of weeks ago basically flattened one of the tomatillos, right as it was peaking. I’m guessing that we’ll see a smaller yield this year. The door shouldn’t be visible, the rain broke most of the branches:

140824 tomatillo

The Brussels Sprouts. I think these don’t tolerate being crowded as well as most of the other things we’ve tried. Next year they’ll get more space:

140824 brussels

When the cucumbers are doing this it means they’re about done. There are still some normal looking fruits, but this appearance is getting more and more common:

140824 cucumber

Finally, the peppers. I finally hit them with Diatomaceous Earth. I don’t know if I applied it “correctly”, but I’m tired of the earwigs ruining peppers by eating little holes in them. It couldn’t hurt to try — the DE is basically razorwire as far the earwigs are concerned:

140824 pepper DE

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