Friday, May 13, 2011


Tented tomatoes
Last year I was so focused on avoiding the tomato blight I missed the danger posed by stink bugs and I lost most of my crop to them.  This year, I vowed to outwit the little stinkers.  I have two Roma plants, four heirloom (pink, black and purple) one cherry and one Better Boy.  All are thriving.  At the sign of the first stink bug I tented the entire bed. Yes, I know it looks a little like a wagon train, but inside those tomatoes are getting all the sun and water they need and I have some mighty frustrated stink bugs that can't get to them.  I'm hoping they just give up and go away.

I knew about stink bugs as their little shield-like bodies are no stranger around my house.  But they seemed harmless. I didn't know they could inject tomatoes and suck out the juice, leaving them mottled and inedible.

The only problem with this arrangement is, of course, the bees can't get to the plants, either.  So, the flowers and fruit I have now are fine and well pollinated but as new flowers bloom I will have to hand-pollinate if I expect fruit.  Small price to pay for fine tomatoes, I say!

After the last couple of days and much shoveling, I now have 11 beds, all double-high; nine are 4'x8' and two are 4'x4'.  We're going to give pineapple a go this year in one of the small beds.  I've never grown pineapple before so I hardly know what to expect.  I'll be planting zucchini, too, and giving it the tent treatment to stave off the wasps that lay their eggs in the roots, ruining the plants.  The peas and beans are done so I have more room for summer plants.  And the heat is here, full-force, so I will be looking for heat-tolerant varieties in everything.

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