One of summer's greatest pleasures for me is rain in the night. I love to wake up and hear the rustling of raindrops approaching, then the thickening of the shower into a soft curtain of sound. It makes me deeply aware of the comfort of the cotton pillowcase, the heft of the quilt, the stillness of the rooms where my family sleeps. I feel the meaning of shelter.
I also think about my garden drinking in the rainwater: the shallots growing fat, the cucumbers swelling, the cabbage adding leaf upon leaf. I think about the tomatoes turning from early matte green to shiny yellow to the polished red of ripeness.
Waking to rain Saturday night, it was the thought of my tomatoes that torqued my rainy reverie into dread and worry. Rain drives late blight the way wind drives a wild fire.
Another gardener had given me the news Friday: Late blight is in Scarborough, she said. It's in Waldoboro. The storms this week spun it everywhere. I lurched home to inspect my tomato plants. And there, on one plant, were the telltale signs: Curling black leaves, dark patches spreading on the stems. I shook. I stood there in the garden, and I shook. After last summer's ordeal with late blight, I didn't feel equal to it again.
I fell to work though. I cut out the blighted plant (with its load of maybe a hundred little pearly tomatoes, still green). I bagged it. I loaded my sprayer with the organic spray that got me through last season, one arduous day at a time. I sprayed my Pinks, my Persimmons, my Ruby Golds and Sungolds. I looked at the abundance of the San Marzanos. So many times this season, I've gone out to the garden for the sole purpose of reveling in the tomatoes as they set fruit. This year, until now, had been the perfect growing season: early warmth, steady warmth, lots of sunlight, enough rain. And now blight threatens all that potential bounty.
I should know better than to get my hopes up. A gardener, this gardener anyway, lives with threat: Groundhogs three years ago, a devastating hailstorm summer before last, two months of rain and blight last year. But hope sprouts in a garden. It comes up as reliably as the weeds. I won't have the luxury of just reveling in my tomatoes now; I'll have to toil for the harvest. But toil I will.
How about you? How does your garden grow?
SPRING MEANS THE BABY CHICKS ARE HERE! - *by Rosie* Here are some pictures of the new baby chicks! Their names are: Bessie, Franny, Hattie, Lottie, Midge, and Sunny. *Bessie* *Franny* *Hatti...
4 years ago