Over the past three to four weeks, we've been getting heavy downpours and gusty thunderstorms every two to three days. Sometimes every evening. The wind blows the tomato vines off their trellises, flat to the ground. Both green and nearly ripe tomatoes get whanged off the vines in the process. Rain pummels the flattened plants, splashing them with mud. Then they sit there on the ground all night, soaking wet. I don't always have time to string all the vines up again the next day, and to be honest, lately I've given up. I do have other things to do than re-tie hundreds of tomato vines every other day. It's been constantly drizzly, damp, and overcast of late. After close to a month of this contstant abuse, with near-perfect conditions for culturing tomato-plant diseases, the field-grown tomatoes are not looking good. The red hybrid tomatoes are finished. I didn't find a single fruit out there this morning, red, green, or anywhere in between. This will be the last week for heirloom tomatoes, and I have very limited quantities at best.
"Tomato season" is not over, though! You can see in the photo above that the Sungolds are still flourishing in their hoophouse. It's amazing what a little overhead cover can do for tomatoes. The sides of the greenhouse stay rolled all the way up and the ends wide open through the summer, providing what's basically just a breezy "hat" for the plants inside. I do expect the cherry tomatoes to continue producing for quite a while, possibly through October. If you look closely, you'll see a row of smaller tomato plants to the left of the huge rambling cherry tomato vines. That's a row of red hybrid tomatoes in there. They aren't anywhere close to producing yet, but with a little luck, we'll get one last hurrah come fall.
Purple hull peas are new this week. You might also hear them referred to as field peas, summer peas, black-eyed peas, and more. They're all basically the same thing. Fans of late summer shelly-beans will be happy to know that these are much easier to shell out by hand than butterbeans. A whole lot quicker to pick, too! Butterbeans are still producing quite well, and even the green snap beans (which usually decide to quit producing through August) are still going. Looks like I'll be a bean-picking fool this week!