Beans, beans, beans — and tomatoes

Last spring, germination was sporadic in the bean patch due to the horrible weather. Many gardeners experienced the same problem.

Man, do we have beans! Good thing we like them. A lot.

Last spring, germination was sporadic in the bean patch due to the horrible weather. Many gardeners experienced the same problem.

Beans definitely like it warm and dry for germinating. Any blank spaces in the rows were quickly filled with more seeds.

Turns out not all of the non-germinating seeds had rotted from the weather. Just slow starting because of the cold. Especially the pole and runner beans, which meant I subsequently sowed even more ‘Scarlet Runner’, ‘Lazy Housewife’ and ‘Painted Lady’ seeds.

Now the tepee poles are completely swallowed up. A very good thing I had lashed each pole securely to pieces of rebar for more support. A lesson learned after last year’s disaster in a wind storm.

The cool spring and delay of summer’s warm temps affected the tomato plants too but they are finally producing now. True to their name, the ‘Early Girl’ plants (an F1 hybrid variety) were the first to start producing fruit and ripen. ‘Gardener’s Delight’ (an open-pollinated heritage cherry) were a little slower. And we are still waiting to pick the first ripe paste-type tomato.

The paste tomatoes are from seed we saved from plants my brother’s friend’s father grew for us a few years ago. Originally, the seed came from a friend of the father’s, named Harry. For some odd reason, the name of the tomato was a close secret and sadly, the secret has now gone to the grave with him. A shame as it would be nice to know what variety they really are. But for lack of a better one, we have named them ‘Harry’s Tomato’.

I also started an experiment last spring…growing some tomatoes plants in pots on the front driveway. All are new varieties for us this year, except for the three extra plants of ‘Harry’s Tomato’. The experiment had two purposes. First, to see how well these varieties grew in pots. Second, to test susceptibility to the late blight virus.

‘Black Cherry’ (medium-size cherry), ‘Harry’s Tomato’ and ‘Hawaiian Currant’ (tiny wee tomatoes) are all indeterminate, or vining tomatoes.

‘Gold Nugget’ (medium-size yellow cherry), ‘Silvery Fir’ (large tomato) and ‘Sophie’s Choice’ (large tomato) are all determinate, or bush tomatoes.

So far I have been lucky on the late blight issue. None infected, yet, but have had two ‘Silvery Fir’ tomatoes succumb to blossom end rot…on the same plant. And one ‘Harry’s Tomato’. Blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium.

Not too sure why just these three fruits were damaged when all 20 plants were potted up at the same time, in the same soil and amended with a complete fertilizer, same size pots and all watered regularly at the same time. But I will count my blessings it was only those few fruits damaged!

Another problem affecting all of these plants … the lower foliage has been turning yellow and wilting throughout the summer. Probable cause is they needed to be in bigger-than-two-gallon-size pots.

Part of the reason could also have been from too much exposure to heat from the blacktop driveway…even though they were kept watered. Tomatoes do not like extreme heat…preferring to be shaded during the hottest part of the summer.

Moving the pots across the driveway to the shade of the maple tree and bigger pots with more room for root growth would likely have helped stop the leaf damage. If I had done that we would likely have had better fruit production. Fruit production in tomatoes is on a direct par with photosynthesis so you want a good crop of leaves to catch the sun’s rays.

Ah well, there is always next year!

• • •

Have you checked out my website yet at

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her column appears every second Friday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cumberland is considering downtown densification proposals, and with that comes questions around parking, among other things. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Water bottling ban, parking key changes for Cumberland zoning

Bylaw on amendments still need adoption following March 2 hearing

Arzeena Hamir, working her booth at the Comox Valley Farmers Market. LUSH Valley was recognized last month as a partner of the year by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. Photo by Bill Jorgensen
LUSH Valley recognized for collaboration with Comox Valley Farmers’ Market

They won Partner of the Year award by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

Chelsea Harry was last seen Feb. 21. Photo via Comox Valley RCMP
Comox Valley RCMP seeking help locating a missing woman

Missing person last seen in Courtenay on Feb. 21

A Coast Range Cannabis store has been approved for the Crown Isle Shopping Centre in Courtenay. Photo submitted
Courtenay council approves seventh cannabis retailer

Coast Range Cannabis to open second store in the Comox Valley

A map of the Village Forest Lands near Cumberland. Image, Village of Cumberland
Cumberland adopts forest management direction statement

Less detailed than full plan, documents sets out decision-making for village-owned land

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Victoria firefighters were already extinguishing the fire when police arrived on scene

(Government of B.C.)
Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

Most Read