An empty pot, brought about by Early Girl’s early demise.

How do you become a better gardener? Practice. That’s the secret. In my practice this season, I planted two tomatoes in our front-yard vegetable garden, showcasing them in shiny red pots (from our Viva line) that flank the front entrance. They looked so nice. Front yard vegetable gardens can be beautiful.

But then it rained. And it rained. I sprayed proactively with Serenade because I knew — based on lots of practice — that tomatoes get blight easily. Especially when rainfall is abundant. Despite my best efforts, one of the plants got a nasty case of blight even though the plant was fertilized and pruned — and in such a beautiful pot. How could this happen?

The truth is tomato blight happens to most everyone. When it does, it’s time for tough love. I lived with the blight for a few days. I was hopeful. Because gardening is all about hope and faith. But then my friend Deborah helped me face facts: “It’s over. Remove it immediately!”

Sure, a little blight might not be a big deal in a row of 20 vines, and it might not turn out to be the dreaded late blight. But, with only two plants, the chance of it spreading is high. So, the diseased plant is gone, to be replaced with something more attractive. Meanwhile, the other tomato plant remains blight-free. My fingers are crossed and I will spray it with Serenade as soon as this current deluge lets up.

My wish for you is a blight-free season. But if you get a bad case, I wish you the strength to do what needs to be done. And keep gardening. Keep dreaming of flowers, fruit and abundance. No matter the results, it’s all good practice.

David Grist

David is trying to prove that you can have an attractive and productive vegetable garden in your front yard.