By early August, fruits were reaching the size they had the previous year. They grew two or three to a stem but that didn't have any effect on their size. They were ripening a little at a time and I harvested a couple tomatoes that were bigger than my fist but smaller than a softball.
It wasn't long before the plant outpaced the spirals. I added a really big stake. I turned my back to go inside, and the vigorous vine outpaced the 7-foot tall support.
"This is getting ridiculous," I muttered to myself. "Any higher and I'll need a ladder."
Picturing how unwieldy that would be, I decided to just let the vine bend gently toward the ground at the top of the stake so I could at least reach the fruit.
|August 16 - propped up after the storm|
I was able to prop the whole thing back up. It seemed the only damage done was at the soil level where the roots had become exposed.
In a pathetic attempt to cover the roots, I threw some compost over the ground. It rained some more.
Grafted vegetables must be planted with the graft above the soil line. Otherwise, the scion (the top part) will lose out to the rootstock. I staked the plant when I first planted it to offer support to the graft as it grew.
|August 27 - Exposed roots|
Over the next 10 days, the warm temperatures ripened some of the tomatoes while others grew to good size. The leaves weren't looking that great and I removed them as they became really dried up and brown. The loss of leaves didn't seem to have that much effect on the fruit production.
|August 27 - the day my tomato died|
|Tomato RIP: August 27|
The disease triangle had finally completed itself. The triangle refers to the three factors that all must be in place before a plant can be affected. Those three factors are the pathogen (the disease), the host (the plant), and the environment. In this case, the pathogen was of a fungal nature, which is a guess because of the amount of moisture in the soil and the air. Which leads to the environment. Extremely wet weather is the perfect environment for fungal diseases. While I'm not certain, my guess is late blight, explained here by Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service. I'll accept some blame for the environmental side of the triangle. I should have had the stake in place before the multiple deluges.
But woe is me and woe are my plans for freezing excess tomatoes. I harvested what I could and put them in paper bags to ripen. Most did. If I find out the exact pathogen that cause my tomato to bite the dust, I'll post it here. Meanwhile, I'm wondering if anyone else had grafted tomatoes succumb to fungal disease this summer. I'd like you to officially join me in wallowing in self-pity.