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Diane Blanks, Blue Ridge Mountain Views #21: Of Crop Failures

Blue Ridge Mountain Views

“Of Crop Failures”


For some odd reason, I kept buying assorted varieties of tomato plants this spring, even though I don’t have a garden plot due to the marauding deer around here. By now, I’ve pretty much had a crop failure with my tomatoes, not all attributable to the deer.

Support your local farmers...and the Watauga County Farmers Market!
Support your local farmers…and the Watauga County Farmers Market!

The one I planted in the flower bed in back near the black walnut withered and died. Black walnut trees give off a substance called Juglone, which is toxic to many plants. And obviously, tomatoes are one of them, I have now learned.

One of the tomato plants in the other flower bed Might have produced some healthy tomatoes, but “something” (read “deer”) nipped the entire top off what was otherwise a very healthy looking plant. The patio variety I planted in the pot on the front porch fell over. Well, that was My fault. I’ve been too busy, what with running for a County Commissioner post and working half time, to pay much attention to what was happening on the porch.

One of the remaining two plants is about seven feet tall. It’s outgrown the tomato cage and is drooping over halfway to the ground. It has three little tomatoes on it. And the last one, in the same flower bed, had fallen off its support and was lying on the ground when I finally got time today to check on things outdoors; I’ve propped it back up and murmured encouraging words to it.

The deer are evidently still prowling the yard, even though I have strung yellow Caution tape around the beds (which makes my yard vaguely resemble a crime scene) and put out yet another new variety of deer repellent.

A friend had given me a start of a largish hosta a couple of years ago that she said the deer seemed to leave alone at her house. All last summer, its broad oval leaves decorated the shady edge of the front yard in a most satisfactory manner . Today, I looked out front, and there was a bouquet of stems rising from the bed, each leaf carefully and precisely nipped off.

I’m beginning to consider landscaping my yard with Spanish bayonet (yucca) plants.

And next year, my tomatoes will definitely come from the Farmers Market. Even if they’re ten dollars a pound, they’ll be cheaper than the four (?) I grew this year. And that’s assuming the four even survive to maturity. Nature is obviously sending me a message.

News at eleven,