Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
With every year changes are made in the garden. This is why we keep a detailed journal of where and when everything was planted. The weather conditions. The results - both successes and failures. Along with what might have altered the results along the way. Brilliant ideas are recorded while still fresh.
This year is no different. Except the players have changed.
Until just recently it has been a brutally hot growing season combined with regular rainfall.
Everything was ahead of schedule.
For instance, the pickles and cukes were three weeks ahead. The cabbages more than a month ahead. Patty pan squash virtually out of control. The onions have been curing in the machine shop for a couple of weeks already. Pie pumpkins and decorative gourds more than a month ahead of schedule. Spinach, broccoli, beets and Brussels sprouts never made it.
Too hot and too wet.
One notable near disaster has been the tomatoes.
With a final stocking of roughly twenty plants I was looking forward to more than just a steady diet of vine-ripened tomatoes. I was planning upon putting-up a huge inventory of canned tomatoes for winter juice production on a scale heretofore only imagined.
I entertained a vision of making quart upon quart of Uncle Dick's Tomato Juice when the sleet was pelting the glass of the kitchen windows.
The vision might have been largely squashed.
Off to a robust start with the heat and rain the tomatoes eventually came down with a really bad case of Septoria leaf spot.
I've been treating it with spray applications of Serenade but it seems the treatments have not been sufficient or regular enough. Perhaps the disease is too well established to combat effectively.
It's also probably a consequence of growing the tomatoes in the same location for way too many years.
While the initial production of fruit was impressive the poor plants are rapidly becoming defoliated and I'm thinking that final production will be down by as much as three-fifths.
Diseases such as this are sometimes associated with potatoes so Jill and I have agreed that next year we're going to do a better job of crop rotation and the tomatoes are moving to a completely new location. It will also be an additional incentive to convert turf grass into additional garden space.
Speaking of potatoes - this appears to be another success story.
Check-out these Yukon gold spuds.
Beauties - eh?
Red Pontiacs and Kennebecs are almost ready for digging.
I was at the Tosa Farmers Market last Saturday and picked-up a big tote of tomatoes from one of the vendors and we got to talking about the blight and making tomato juice.
That's a real bummer dude. I've got twenty acres planted and I know what you're going through when something like this hits.
Pregnant pause follows and he adds - I'm making juice tomorrow.
Pointing to a box of tomatoes on the pavement - If you're interested that box is yours for ten bucks.
There is juice in my future after-all.