We planted some tomatoes shortly after we got down here, on June 18th or so. Said tomato plants were courtesy of or friends and neighbors the Harrimans. William’s Greenhouse has a nice variety of quality plants for anyone near Spencer.
When we planted them, the ground was pretty dry. Apparently the annual rainfall was about 3 inches above average around mid-May, but 3 inches below normal by mid June. The tomatoes did quite well in their first couple weeks.
Then it started raining around June 26th. At first, the parched plants seemed quite happy with all the rain. However, it rained pretty steadily off and on for several days. The stream filled up and overran its banks, including the area containing the tomatoes.
We had planted the tomatoes though holes in black plastic to minimize weeds and help them retain moisture in case the drought had continued. The first time that part of the yard flooded, the black plastic stayed under the flowing water. The water receded some. Unfortunately for us and the tomatoes, it rained again the next day. The second time the low area flooded, the more violent flow carried the black plastic and the bricks holding it down several yards from the garden.
Since the black plastic had holes in it to let the plants through, I assumed that the tomatoes had been snapped off at their base for the plastic to move. We were sad at the loss of our tomatoes. This flooding was strong enough to carry logs a foot in diameter and 6 or 8 feet long into the middle of the field, so expecting plants to survive is optimistic even without the plastic moving.
However, once it dried out a bit, we took a walk to survey the damage. It was not as bad as we thought. In fact, it seems that all of our plants have pulled through the big rain. Out of the sludge and mud, the tomatoes have risen again for a second chance.
The plants were pretty caked in mud, so Rob “washed them off” by spritzing them with a spray bottle. I knocked some of the mud off by hand, and we staked them up. The only real problem that remains from this diversion is that thinking they were dead for a week was long enough for stores to sell out of tomato cages for this season.