The bulbs did suffer from being left with the flowers developing too long, but the only variety that had produced scapes was the Chinese purple. I think it was a fairly decent crop. I wish I’d planted more! Now, I’ve just got to let these dry out in a shady spot with the leaves on so they can take in that last wee bit of goodness.
Of course, another challenge is competing with the small furry natives. While we were in Ireland, the squirrels had themselves an almond party! Not a single one left on the tree, but lots of shells on the ground.
Timing is all important in the garden. Right now I’m waiting for my lettuce to set seed so that I can collect it for the next crop. It seems to take forever and it looks so unsightly, like I’m a lazy gardner who hasn’t cleared away the rubbish!
I was tempted to phone the Master Gardeners hotline. But wait a minute – I am a Master Gardener – I can figure this out myself.
As I sat out by my tomatoes, with my Master Gardener Handbook open on my knee, I had a serious pep-talk with my tomatoes.
“Listen up guys,” I began. “What’s going on? I bought you the best cages I could find – beautiful Texas tomato cages, the biggest I could get and you hardly fill them.
“I’m giving you the best of organic fertilizers.
“I’ve taken a magnifying glass to search for russet mite and found none.
“If you had nematode worms you’d probably be in worse shape than this and you aren’t wilted.
“Sure you have a tiny amount of aphids but come on. Guys, I’m supposed to be a Master Gardener and you lot are making me look bad!”
I heard Al on the other side of the fence working in his yard. He’s probably one of the few people who won’t think it strange that I talk to my tomatoes. I asked him what he does with his. Perhaps he does amend his soil a little more than me. And his use of miracle grow will not cause that difference – nitrates are nitrates to the plants – they don’t care about the source of the molecule. But then he asked was I watering them enough.
“Oh yes,” I said, fairly confident that I had this one right. I see the damp soil every morning when I go out to say hi to my plants. It might be a dessert here, but my veggies are never denied water. So I replied, “thirty minutes, every morning.”
“Hmmm,” Al said, “I water mine for ten minutes every second day.”
Mystery possibly solved! I researched it a little more on the internet and found the symptoms for overwatering exactly describing my tomatoes.
“Over watered tomato plants can not take up iron. The leaves will start coming in pale green or yellow. The lower leaves will fall off and the plants will grow and fruit poorly.”
I’m so used to plants growing in the rain soaked soil of Irish gardens, that I panic a little at the scorching sun here and perhaps have overcompensated by giving too much water. I really hope that this is what is happening. The new watering regime kicks in today – fifteen minutes, three times a week. I’m happier to spend less on water, but I won’t believe it grows bigger tomatoes until I see it!