Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gardening seasonal discoveries

Though I have been gardening for many years, I find that there is always something new to discover when I pay close attention to what is going on with my crops.  It is September 24th and as usual, my tomato vines are in decline.  They have repaid me for all my efforts; my tender loving care and for the expenditures I've invested on their behalf by producing beautiful, tasty fruit in abundance.  I love this sense of accomplishment that comes along with the harvest.


If you look at this picture closely, you will see all of my tomato plants in one shot.  Also notice that off in the distance, through the fence and into the back yard, there is another large mass of green that is my giant tomato tree plants.  There is three of them in that mass, but the impressive aspect of that group is their lushness.  They have not declined like the six vines in the foreground. They are still setting and maturing fruit from the ground level to the topmost new growth.



It was hardly a week ago that this group of vines was higher than the six foot fence behind them.  We have had some HEAVY downpours of late and the pounding they received along with the added weight of the water that clung to them caused them to sag closer to the ground until the string grid I had woven along the main supports stopped them. They are in considerable strain right now and there's nothing I can do about it.
My thinking is, we will have our first frost soon and that will kill the vines quickly. I would cause an early injury and demise should I attempt to lift them from the supports.  It's better to let them be and mature what fruit they can until then.

In this picture you can see some of the fruit among the thick vines, especially the one that is turning red already. Believe me, there are plenty of giant fruit lower down and farther into the mass of vines that can't easily be seen.
What has amazed me most is the strength of plants sustained growth and reluctance to give in to the affects of diminishing sunlight brought on by the changing of the seasons.Compare this picture to the one below here of my normal tomato vines.


You will notice that those vines have been slowly dying from the ground up and only the uppermost portion displays any signs of remaining life. If it wasn't for the artificial, supporting grid work of dried bamboo stakes that I created early this spring, all of these vines would be laying on the ground, spent and dead already. Normally, I would have taken my vines up and disposed of them by this time of year. I should be amending the soil in this planting bed, getting it ready for its winter rest and next year's crop. All that and this has been an exceptionally GOOD year for gardens in this area because of the regular rain it has received.  I'd even go so far as to say it was PERFECT this year.


This group of vines are the ones that produced the giant fruit you can see if you choose to click on this active link which will take you to one of my blog posts where tomato pictures can be viewed. They are still producing those giant tomatoes as quickly as they possibly can.

I'm sorry about needing to use the above link but somewhere along the way I did something that caused me to lose the tomato picture files I used to create the linked to post above. Chalk it up to declining brain performance due to advanced age.

I am currently doing what I can to save as many seeds from these vines as possible. It requires a special process to save tomato seeds properly and I am following instructions closely.  I do not want to lose my possessive grip on these vines.  I bought them once and hopefully that will be the last time.  These vines have many good qualities about them. They need to be preserved for the gardening world. It would be a terrible thing to lose this genetic line.

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