A look into my backyard shows a deceptively verdant garden.  The apple trees are covered with fruit, but this has been a terrible year for flies, and the apples are already riddled with larval tunnels.  The tomato patch, on the left side of the picture, has the tallest plants I have ever grown, but we have yet to get a single tomato out of it.  There has been too much rain.  The ground cherries, in the right bottom corner, seem to have finally won the battle against the flea beetles, but it’s been a hard fight.  Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Peppermint Soap really does work wonders, but I lost four plants before I found the right mixture to save them.

Only the grapes are flourishing, and we have an obscene number of them.  Both the Concord and the unidentified white grapes that came from nowhere are doing well.  There will be juice, jelly, and maybe even wine. 

But it doesn’t feel like summer without tomatoes.  Kathy Rhodes has posted a piece from her book Pink Butterbeans about the joy of tomato sandwiches on her blog, First Draft.  It’s made me mindful of how late in the season it is not to have had a single garden-fresh Stupice or Cherokee Green.  Even the Mexico Midgets, which have always been reliable producers in the best weather, are still only putting out green fruit.  Only the Amish Paste seem able to withstand the wet; there are several tomatoes on those plants that should be ripe in the next few days.  So there will be canned sauce, but that is hardly a consolation to a woman mourning big slices of sunsets.  Thanks, Kathy, for the remembrance of summer, since it seems this year there will not be much of the real thing.

  1. Sherry says:

    If you live in Colorado, you develop substantially lowered expectations regarding tomatoes, and learn to live with green ones…if there are any. That way your heart doesn’t break.

    BTW what was the recipe for Dr Bronners–I assume you used the liquid? would it work on other plants? (or for that matter, kids?)

  2. kate says:

    ooh i’m so sorry to hear abt your garden troubles. Hope its all gets sorted out soon. What a waste to let the bugs have all your fruits.

  3. sarahemc2 says:

    Luckily, the plants are now big enough to withstand the flea beetles and putting out lots and lots of ground cherries! I picked four pints this afternoon alone. Well, not so much picked as scooped up, because they aren’t ripe till they drop off the plant.

    And yes, Sherry, I think Dr. Bronner’s works on kids. It certainly works on me… I’ve been using it since my silly-hippy-who-has-to-shower-with-a-bucket-from-the-well days. And even then, I rarely stank, unless you think patchouli stinks, in which case I always did.

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