Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Magic Dust

First, my apologies for being a bad blogger. This past year, my regular work has kind of exploded, which is good if you're self-employed, but bad if you want to maintain a gardening blog. Today, however, is nice—I woke up, tended to the tomatoes and veggies, made a quiche, and now I'm sitting down to write my first blog entry in a month.

Also—and I keep waiting for the hammer to fall—I am having the easiest, most perfect veggie season I think I've ever had. It's just weird after last year's early season disaster, then the near collapse of the peppers and the ultimate collapse of the strawberries. Some years I feel like I'm fighting for every week, but not this year. This year, everything is growing like mad. No septoria to speak of. A few horn worms that I've been picking off as I see their droppings (because remember, bug poop = bugs, so look for them because they're there somewhere). No curly top virus. Just ... nothing wrong. Pinch me, right? The tomatoes are almost 4 feet tall already, and they've only been in the ground for about three weeks. They're loaded with blooms and the first fruit is setting already (I'm growing Brandyboy, green zebra [pictured], Kellogg's breakfast, and Paul Robeson). The peppers had a little white fly issue early on, but I've been treating with neem and it's well in hand. The mustard greens, herbs, broccoli, and other veggies are lustrous.

So what am I doing to have reaped this near-perfect season so far? Well, that's just the thing.

My big revelation has been preventive maintenance. I've been treating the tomatoes weekly with copper fungicide and KeyPlex since they were planted. I started treating long before any problem showed up. So I'm thinking I owe this season to preventive maintenance, because it's much easier to prevent a problem in the first place than fix a problem once it gets started. Other than that—and that's really all I'm doing different—I'm fertilizing every week with TomatoTone in very small quantities, watering every day, and that's it.

There's probably a lesson in here. I end up working on a lot of medical and nutrition books in my day job, and the same thing that works for plants works for people too. The disease you prevent is the disease you never get in the first place, and prevention is so much easier than treatment. Are my plants telling me to eat better, to drink more water, to get to the gym three times a week every week (not just some weeks), to take fish oil? I know this is nuts, but I kind of feel like they are.

Anyway, this has been my season so far. I'm really looking forward to harvesting later on. Unless tragedy strikes, I'm expecting a bounty crop of heirloom tomatoes and all manner of veg. And now, I'm off to start the holiday—we'll be brining our turkey this afternoon and starting to welcome guests as they show up. Have a good holiday everyone, and I hope your season has been sprinkled with the same magic dust mine has so far.