Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tomato Cabana!

'Tis August and a gardener's thoughts turn, however reluctantly, to planting tomatoes.  Yes, it's hot.  Yes, it's humid.  Yes, the insects have a huge head start.  But now's the time to get tomato seedlings established here.  By the time they are mature enough to bear fruit, the nights (at least) should be cooler.  One hopes.

Rowdy plants in foreground: one (1) sweet potato slip!

Here's what I do to help protect little seedlings from the harsh August sun.  These are little scraps of fabric, bandanna-sized, clipped onto the tomato cages with clothespins.  As the tomatoes grow taller, I'll move the canopy up a rung higher on the cage.  The idea is to provide a little shade at least from the overhead sun until the weather moderates enough.  Plus, we think it's cute!  As a quilter, I have a huge stash of fabric in my closet.  I can always find something for a baby tomato.

What I'm growing this fall:

Sunchaser: a tomato specifically designed (by who, I wonder?) for the southeast US.  Should produce an 8-ounce fruit, maturing quickly at approximately 72 days. F1 hybrid.

Sweet Million - a cherry-style tomato, indeterminate, maturing in 65-75 days.  We've grown this one off and one with great success.  It's always a kick to have bowls of cherry tomatoes even at Thanksgiving. F1 hybrid.

Champion - another indeterminate tomato which should produce an 8-ounce fruit.  This one is also appropriate for hot climates.  F1 hybrid.

Carmello - a French tomato, also indeterminate, which should mature rather quickly (less than 75 days).  Open-pollinated. 

Tomato resolutions:  I will keep my tomatoes staked.  I will prune when necessary to keep tomatoes off the roof.  I will keep a watchful eye for insects -- they're keeping a watchful eye on me!

1 comment:

  1. Great idea for shading the tomatoes. My Lemon Boy and Sweet Millions from the spring are actually making a comeback right now. I have a Celebrity in a pot that I am babying for a few more weeks before I put it in the garden. I'll definitely be using your idea for shading it. Thanks!