Monsoons are here!! Free your tomatoes!

Some of my new dwarf tomatoes-about 3′ tall, loaded with blossoms and some tomatoes and looking good!


Now that I’ve had 3 days with some rain and lots more in the forecast, and no leafhoppers in sight, I decided to free the tomatoes. If you still see leafhoppers in your garden, I’d wait a few more days. And of course some of you have already taken the row cover off but I like to err on the side of caution.

Now that they are free, I placed straw over the ground around the tomatoes so no dirt shows. This is done to keep the Early Blight fungal spores from getting on the lower leaves from overhead watering or even the rain. I noticed two tomato plants had Early Blight starting so I immediately cut off the yellowing leaves on the bottom, and trimmed all lower branches, making sure no leaves touch the dirt or straw. I disinfect my trimmers between trimming plants with 10% bleach-about 2 tablespoons in a container big enough to put my hand and the trimmers inside it since I’m reaching in around the leaves and it is contagious between plants.

Tomorrow I will spray all the tomatoes with Serenade, a biological fungicide that will help prevent Early Blight. Sure looks good to see the tomatoes instead of row cover! Finally I can see my garden grow!

9 comments on “Monsoons are here!! Free your tomatoes!

  1. Ann Kissinger says:

    Dear Janine,
    I went to Payne’s and Home Depot but cannot find Serenade. Please where do you buy it?


  2. tonytomeo says:

    Is your climate chaparral or desert? If it rains now, what happens in winter? Are winters dry there?


    • Tony-Good question. Many people say we are a high desert but here is a more exact answer from the SF Botanical Garden explaining it better:
      “We have all heard Santa Fe referred to as a high desert, but in fact we are designated as a semi-arid steppe with cold winters by the Köppen Climate Classification System. This is the primary climate designation systems used by scientists around the world. The Köppen system takes into account temperature, precipitation, and the seasonality of precipitation. Deserts are generally defined by their lack of precipitation; they tend to experience less than 10 inches of total precipitation each year. Santa Fe gets an average of 14 inches of rain and snow annually. Although we are still in an arid zone (BSk), we do get slightly more precipitation than a true desert. This can also be seen in examining the vegetation of our region. Santa Fe has more scrub and woodland than the areas around Albuquerque or Las Cruces, which are true desert environments.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        Hey, my former neighborhood in the rain shadow of the Santa Cruz Mountains got about 14 inches of rain annually! It is considered to be a chaparral climate. However, all of the rain happens in wither, with almost NO rain through summer. It seems that the more we know about climate, the more complicated it gets.


      • I’m not sure if Santa Cruz Mts gets cold and snowy in winter? I read they average 50-60’s for a high and 37-45 for lows at night in the winter. We are 7000 ft altitude so definitely have colder winters here. Odd because we have aspens and pines on the mountains, pinyon trees down by us and sage, grasses and cactus down in Galisteo basin so we have the whole gamut. Climates are wierd with all their microclimates..

        Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        Oh, the weather is much milder here. The rain is about the same, but in gets neither too hot, nor too cold. Snow is rare and light in the Santa Cruz Mountains and only on the very top. Redwoods do not like snow.
        Our regions are very diverse as well, with the coast on one side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, redwood forests and a few ponderosa pine forests in the Mountains, and chaparral on the inland side in the Santa Clara Valley. The diversity is why the entertainment industry got established here. There is so much different scenery within a relatively small area.


  3. In my opinion you should spray with Serenade trom time to time (2 weeks) in order to prevent the Early Blight. Once the disease is installed it is more difficult to fight with


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