Here in upstate New York, and all over the Northeast today, it is a blazing hot and humid day. I don’t like it much, maybe you don’t either, and certainly my elderly neighbor and my dog don’t. But: the tomatoes do!
I went out to the garden early this morning to water before it got too hot. I also prefer to water most plants in the morning hours. The risk of evening watering is that the slugs will consider that the party has started and I’ve provided the water slide. Additionally, some plants, including tomatoes, are vulnerable to fungal diseases and damp foliage is an open invitation to get started. Evening watering sends leaves wet or damp into the overnight hours, where quick evaporation doesn’t happen—not such a great idea. So: morning watering it is.
This summer has been wonderful tomato-growing weather (and weed-growing weather too, but that’s a story for another post). The abundance of consistently warm days, coupled with the occasional soaking afternoon or evening thunderstorm, plus my morning visits with the hose, have caused everything to grow like gangbusters. It seems like only a week or two ago that my tomato plants were barely filling in their support hoops. Now they’ve breached the ramparts, sending branches upwards—taller than me! And outwards—I gaze with some regret at the ones that are heading off without much support except, perhaps, the neighboring tomato plant. I learned long ago to plant tomato plants pretty close together in anticipation of them needing and providing mutual support about this time of the summer.
Hose-watering, I’ll grant, is not the most efficient way to deliver water to a burgeoning vegetable garden. But it does allow me to make sure I “water the roots and not the plants,” and avoid splashing the leaves (again, trying to dodge the fungal-diseases bullet here). And it permits me to spend a little time standing there observing and contemplating the garden, plant by plant.
Today, there are more flowers on the tomato plants than ever. And some tiny green fruits developing. Yay! My heat-wave-induced stupor also caused my vision to blur as I stood there with the hose. I regarded the tiny bright yellow tomato flowers peeking out from among the lush mass of green leaves. Maybe this is how insects see, I mused: a blur of green and then, ah! those flowers!