Summer's rainfall totals can make a big difference to home-grown tomatoes -- and not just in watering.
It's raining here in Boston. And according to the weather prognosticators, we may get wet again tomorrow and the next day. In July we had twice as much rain as normal. That means I spent much less time than usual watering. Hooray! But excess rainfall affects gardens in other -- often unexpected -- ways, too.
When there's lots of precipitation, we know to keep an eye out for things like blackspot and fusarium wilt. And you're probably aware that the flavor of cantaloupes, watermelons, and other melons is "diluted" by too much rain when they're in their final ripening period.
But what I've been reminded of this year is the fact that dark skies equal slow ripening of many crops, including tomatoes.
We know that veggies need "full sun," but tend to think in terms of shade cast by trees or buildings -- not a lack of sunshine day after day because of rain and overcast skies.
Boston is an area with a relatively short growing season (compared to the South, where I used to garden). So slow ripening means that water cooler talk at offices often turns to the subject of who's been able to harvest tomatoes and who's still waiting.
I'm very fortunate. I'm growing Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, which are just going wild. I'm picking more than my husband and I can eat.