Grit Blogs > The Open Book

Next Year’s Garden

By Jean Teller, Sr. Assoc. Editor

Tags: garden, tomato, blight, red pepper, container,

Jean TellerOh, my poor tomato plant. When I posted “My Garden” at the end of August the tomato plant was doing great. Just a few days later, it was an entirely different matter. The leaves near the base of the plant started turning yellow. So I consulted with our resident expert (GRIT Editor Hank Will), and he thought aphids.

I was still searching for diatomaceous earth when, a few days later, the entire plant was yellow! Another consult resulted in the diagnosis of tomato blight. Ouch!

With a heavy heart, I trimmed all the leaves off the plant, leaving the remaining tomatoes to, hopefully, ripen. No new tomatoes, although there were about 25 or so pieces of fruit in various sizes. I’ve harvested almost all of those, and my kitchen counter contains a pile of red. Unfortunately, a few tomatoes had to be tossed, with strange holes. And since I’m squeamish about that sort of thing, into the trash they went.

My sad tomato plant.This weekend, the rest of the plant will follow, as will the soil. And I plan to rearrange the garage so all my gardening paraphernalia will fit. A problem I never thought I’d have, by the way.

Now armed with a homemade pesticide/fungicide, I have high hopes that this particular problem will not repeat next year.

And yes, I’m already planning for next year. What can I say? I’m hooked.

The basil and the oregano didn’t do too well together, so I’ll leave the oregano in the current pot (letting it winter in the garage) while I plant a new basil plant in a new pot next spring.

New blooms on the red pepper plant.The red peppers are still going strong – new blossoms have appeared, and if all goes as I hope, I’ll pull the plant inside when Jack Frost comes calling and have fresh peppers in a month or two. And a second pot of peppers will undoubtedly be part of the container garden come spring. Those red peppers are delicious, if I do say so myself.

The tomato plant will have a larger pot – and I do believe I’ll add a second plant, probably one that ripens a bit earlier than Brandywine – and I’ll add the wire cage from the beginning, training and pruning each plant as the season progresses. As you can see from the photo, my re-tying efforts were a bit erratic, so I don’t want a repeat of that particular problem. The homemade pesticide will also be applied from the get-go.

Guess I’ve become a real gardener. The roller coaster set of emotions were mine from the beginning – the thrill of new growth and a great harvest, the sadness of a dying plant, the anticipation of next year – and I’ve begun to look at gardening equipment in a whole new light. Too bad I can’t quite get myself to be thrilled about working in the dirt when it comes to my front garden. Maybe next year?

The remaining tomatoes from this year's crop.