Airborne blight, aka The Black Death, has visited the front garden tomatoes.
Two days ago I noticed a brown legion on one of the main stems. One became three yesterday. I go into a state of denial.
Doing my after-work recce earlier, I noticed another plant had a browning tomato, and another with black patches on the stems.
Unable to ignore it any longer, I swoop in with some clean secateurs, and carefully operate with the concentration of a brain surgeon, to cut them out, hoping that their neighbours aren’t effected. In a moment of madness I even daub some aloe vera jelly where I’ve amputated some leaves. I salvage some glossy green tomatoes to see if they’ll ripen in a bowl. It’s unlikely.
Everything’s going a bit voodoo in the front garden tomato patch. Only half of my plants remain. In my heart I know that these are probably infected and it’s unlikely I’ll get a decent crop from them. I curse myself for planting too many, too close together. What seemed like an ideal patch at the beginning of the year, facing south and protected from the wind by high hedges, now feels airless and humid… ideal conditions for blight to take hold.
My once exuberant cathedral of mitred canes, fecund with the promise of fruits the colours of cardinals robes, is looking much more chaste this evening.
On the bright side, I have two more areas of tomatoes. In balcony pots hanging on a pallet in front of the shed (where they did so well last year) and in a raised bed out the back, facing the afternoon sun.
The plants in the pots are not nearly like they were last year. They are skinny, feeble, pale, small-leaved… but they are producing fruit, and ripe fruit more to the point. The plants in the back raised bed are looking very healthy, and have lots of fruit and flowers… but nothing ripening yet.
It does seem to me incredibly slow on the tomato front this year. Lots of fruit, but nothing ripening. Such a stop-start year of weather, I think they are confused. What are your thoughts?