Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Invisible Garden Pest: Wind

[From May 14, 2013] 

I can't blame insects this time.

When I got home from work on Monday, I found three of my tomato plants keeled over inside the portable greenhouse. The greenhouse itself had been pushed to the side, even though it was staked down at all four corners. My salad burnet looked like a large hair drier got to it. (Surprisingly, the tender pea vines looked just fine clinging to the mesh trellis.)

I knew today's storm would affect the garden.  During my drive home from work, I passed through sunshine, a rainbow, dark blue clouds, torrential rain, heavy winds, and then sunshine again. Apparently my garden had gone through the same thing, or at least through the heavy winds. Earlier in the day at work, we saw lightening and flickering power.

As soon as a I got home (by then the rainbow had passed and the sun was out), I hopped out of the car and straight over to the garden.  Two of the felled tomatoes' stems were bent but not broken.  The third was beyond repair with a totally severed stem.  From my garden shed, I grabbed some bamboo stakes and twine. Gently untangling the twisted and bruised leaves, I righted the plants and anchored them to the stakes.

The thunderstorms had also dropped the temperature several degrees, and I worried the tomatoes might suffer additional shock from what would obviously be a colder night.  Once I felt satisfied they were staked and tied, and once I re-anchored my greenhouse, I filled a watering can with warm water from the kitchen and gave the tomatoes a nice warm bath for their roots. (This gardening tip I got from an old book called Gardening with Weeds.) I filled it up several times until the soil was soaked.  Then I zipped up the greenhouse and put the tomatoes to bed, hoping that they would recover.

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