I think this sleeping carpenter bee had the right idea as far as this summer was concerned. When even the vineyard owners ran for the clippers before last week's rain, and then started to tearfully tell the tale of a difficult harvest, well, we knew we had a lot of company.
We have been talking with commercial and private tomato growers and they mostly have a similar story -- this was a very tricky tomato year. We put our plants in our respective gardens starting in May, and ending in early June. Then, we watched them try to figure out what the heck to do with rains and rapid but short heat spikes in June-uary, followed by weirdly cool weather the rest of the summer. Those weather events also wiped out many early blossoms, contributing to a late harvest.
It's not that we didn't get any fruit -- these big, juicy, Aunt Ruby's German Greens put the lie to that. But, apart from the ever-faithful and prolific cherry tomatoes, we never saw any fruit to speak of before September; what we did get was not the most exciting flavor bouquet.
Granted, we are complete perfectionists, so take our hand-wringing in stride. Plus, some customers told us they were thrilled with their tomatoes. We grilled these poor people: what did they feed the plants and how often? Where did they grow them (i.e., any microclimate effect)? How often did they water them? Did they prune and how? Etc., etc.
Those interrogations did not turn up any tips for repeatable, wide-spread, successful growing. However, Kelley will be posting observations about her garden this year which may be useful to you . In addition, we'd love to hear anything you'd like to share -- feel free to post on our Facebook page. Let's just help each other.
As they say in sports and gardening: there's always next year.