Today is day two of what is expected to be a four day period of extreme heat. The area of Woodland Hills that I call home tends to get about 10 degrees hotter than anywhere else in the zipcode and it also happens to get 10 degrees colder in winter. Last summer we hit 115 degrees and we've had snow three times in the 20 years I've lived here.
The mild weather that we've been enjoying until now allowed the tomato plants to burst into flower bringing great joy and anticipation of a second round of delicious tomatoes. But when it gets this hot the heat can sterilize all of the flowers...so, with the forecasted heat comes a sense of sadness and certain amount of fear. My tomato season cannot end so soon and abruptly!
Day before yesterday I triple soaked the plants and placed some 50% shade cloth over a few of the plants. I didn't have enough cloth to cover them all so I decided to protect the ones with tomatoes growing that were exposed and might be scalded by the sun's burning rays. When I went out this morning to check on the tomatoes I found that all of the plants in the ground looked happy. Besides the tomatoes the squash was upright and looked as if it had grown considerably since it started to warm up. The cucumbers were full and reaching for the sun. Only the tomatoes in containers were droopy, which I expected. At this point in the season they are asking for water every two days. In spite of the heat, we remained on schedule and I gave the potted tomatoes are long drink. I decided to rotate the shade cloth so that every day different plants are shielded from the sun so that none will be roasting for several consecutive days.
I chose three tomatoes to sample this morning and ate them in the garden as I was hanging the shadecloth. Dixie Golden Giant was very tart this morning. It may have been a little premature to eat this tomato. It was a little firmer than usual but I just took a bite without thinking about it first. Next, I tried a pink, almost beefsteak sized tomato that was labeled Reisentraube. After looking at some photos and reading descriptions I have to assume that this tomato was labeled incorrectly. In any case, the tomato was fine but nothing special. It really had no outstanding characteristics to describe. Last, I ate a Green Grape - one of very favorite tomatoes. It's an oval fruit, in the size range of cherry tomatoes and is definitely green. When ripe there's a hint of gold in the green and the tomato has just the tiniest amount of "give" in your hand.It is always a sweet surprise. Without question, Green Grape is definitely today's favorite.