" THE POWER OF NATURE CAN MAKE FUN OF THE POWER OF MAN AT ANY TIME "
It rained and rained and rained....
Of the thirty-one days in May, it rained fifteen of them. Temperatures vacillated from 33°F at night to a searing 84°F by day and remained on average 10-15 degrees warmer the entire month. An ideal spring if you aren't a tomato..
High temperatures + near constant moisture = DISEASE.
It is nearly impossible to keep disease in check under these conditions. Using fungicides and ample spacing between the plants / rows certainly helps by providing enough air circulation to hopefully allow the plants leaves to somewhat dry. But this wasn't the case in southeastern Michigan in 2014. In fact, Early and Late Blight devastated much of the state.
I'm going to fess up here and admit that after 2013's garden, I wasn't all that gung-ho about the garden this year. As such, I only put in around 100 tomato vines and nothing else, leaving almost 75% of the garden lay fallow. As it turns out, my lackluster enthusiasm saved me a bit of backache and heartache...
JULY 27th, 2014
I remember vividly working in the raised beds to the west of the little greenhouse and something in the air felt 'funny'. For no reason, I looked up and the sky was like a charcoal print of Hell. Black angry clouds were almost on top of me. I immediately got up and started for the house. In the couple hundred feet it took to get inside, the wind had started howling and the first rain drops began falling.
The video below is what ensued. From start to finish, I would say it was less than five minutes.
This photo was taken less than half an hour after it was over and I was outside assessing the damage.
My 2014 gardening season was over. I lost every single tomato vine.