Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Best Day of Summer

The best day of summer has come early this year! No, no... not the first day of summer. The best day of summer! The day when you sink your teeth into the juicy, sweet, ruby red flesh of summer's most perfect fruit.....the first tomato! Oh yes, I picked the first tomato today and I just wanted to brag a little, in case you haven't picked one yet. It is a contest, after all, right? Who has the first tomato?

That's a little unfair, I know. Some of you live up north where tomato season won't start until at least mid to late July and others of you, who live further south, have long beaten me to the punch. However, in my garden, today was the day for the first tomato of the season! I do have to make a confession: It was just a little ol' bitty cherry tomato--but it was the first one of the season and there are hundreds more to follow!

So how did I savor this first tiny little mouthful of summer? The only way you can. I stood right there in the garden, wiped the dust off on my shirt, wrapped it in a leaf from the neighboring basil plant (strategically located for just this purpose!) and popped it right in my mouth where seeds and juice exploded on first bite. Yum!

The tomatoes are growing like gangbusters. They've loved all of the rain we've had this late spring and early summer and after only 6 weeks in the ground the cherry tomato is all the way to the top of it's 5-foot-tall cage. The others are a little slower, only about halfway up their cages, but growing and setting fruit very well. That, of course, will stop in this heat, so I'm glad they had the chance to set some fruit early. Once the night temperatures stay above about 73 degrees or so, fruit set comes to a screeching halt. Fortunately, I think we're supposed to have a couple of nights in the upper 60's in the upcoming week (even though the daytime temps are still going to be miserable) and that will allow for the flowers that are open now to set fruit, too, so hopefully there won't be too big a gap in the harvest later this summer.

I've been able to get another small section of the garden weeded and under control, so slowly but surely it is all starting to come together. I took some "before" pictures a few days ago when I was out working, so they should make for some good before and after shots in the future. A new plant post to follow soon! Hope everyone's gardens are surviving this early heatwave and if you're fortunate enough to live somewhere where the heat isn't a problem yet, then send some of that cooler weather our way! We're already 10 degrees above normal for this time of year and that doesn't bode well for August, but at least I'll have a crop of healthy, gorgeous tomatoes to keep me going out to the garden every morning!


Roses and Lilacs said...

I have to agree with you, the first tomato is the best. I got a head start this year. Being in the far north zone 5a/4b we have a short tomato season. This year I found a couple large heirloom plants already started in one of our local greenhouses. German Johnson, Kellog's Breakfast and and Super Sweet 100 are all growing in pots and all have fruit. The temps are in the 90's so it's only a matter of days until I have ripe tomatoes;)

Anonymous said...

Sadly I had no "best day" this summer as I lost my entire garden of tomatoes to the blasted blight. I had spent hours starting and tending to the seedlings and lovingly admiring the photos on the packets of all the specialty and heirloom varieties, dreaming of a crop large enough to sell in my front yard here in the country. Alas it was either this horrible season of rain and more rain with little real summer heat or a virus carried in on one of the few commercially grown plants I purchased, but the end result was disaster.

I have learned I am not alone. This entire region (the Appalachian Mountains area in Virginia) pretty much was wiped out by blight. Next year I will have to do some things differently that's for sure, but there's always "next year."