May the roof above us never fall in
And may we good companions beneath it never fall out.

~Irish blessing


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beating the heat. Yes, we can.

The latest thing I have learnt about in this 43+ heat wave is tomato sunscald. These pale patches of sunburn appear on green fruit exposed to strong sun on very hot days. This is another reason to not over prune your tomatoes because they need the shade of the leaves, and it's a myth that they need sun to ripen, the leaves need the sun, not the fruit. Some varieties still have less leaves though, or some can get knocked off by disease. While we were away for a week, a few of the exposed fruits ended up looking like this...

Marmande



Pot Tomato



The patches become a bit sunken, and depending on the damage, can cause the fruit to rot and attract nasties. 

It's going to be in the 40s then high 30s for at least a week here, the worst heatwave Melbourne has had since 1908, so without wanting to shell out for metres of shadecloth, I went in to defense today with a bedsheet, a newspaper and some clothespegs.

These are San Marzano's under the bedsheet. So far they have been resistant to the sunscald, perhaps because they're more of a robust cooking style with thicker skins. Still, I'll keep them covered for the next few afternoons just incase.



And below are my efforts with the newspaper. It's also quite windy today, otherwise I probably wouldn't use so many pegs. Seems to be a great temporary solution though.  Certainly doesn't have to be The Age, but the tomatoes prefer if it's not something written by Andrew Bolt ;)




It also works for protecting lettuces and other delicate greens.


I've moved the basil in to the shade, as well as a lot of other pots. The seedlings are keeping from drying out in a damp cardboard box, and all the hanging baskets have been taken down and given refuge.  Now, for me...

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