Only three tomato plants

dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)July 16, 2012

I am sick of tomatoes. I want my counter back, I have enough processed to keep me in sauce and crushed tomatoes

til next summer.

My neighbors avoid me, don't answer the door when I try to palm off more tomatoes on them.

Can't leave for the weekend away much less a summer vacation..tomatoes need picking and processing, plants need weekly staking and tying up and supplemental waterings from the rainbuckets.

Who'd have thought three darn plants could rule my whole


I thought buying indeterminate varieties would give me a small but steady couple of tomatoes for salads and sandwiches.

Last storm, preceded by shooter marble-sized hail, blew down all the tomatoes,peppers and eggplant.

So I left them where they tipped over and the darn things just turn their stalks up and grow toward the sun with more blossoms, more baby veggies.

I swear, the only thing I fed the soil with was a light dose of 10-10-10 and about a half-gallon of pulverized peanut shells tilled into one 8' row.

Maybe I overdid the peanutshell thing.

Last time I used them, I got dinnerplate sized spinach leaves.

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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

TJ..'member I asked you if I ought to maybe prune these monsters back?
I did prune them up, taking off the oldest foliage that usually goes yuck yellow/wilty by July.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 1:08PM
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Oh Dottie - you should see my tomatoes! totally out of control and no way to rein them in. A lot of them are sunburnt from the last couple of weeks. I got tired of them rotting on my kitchen counter so now I will only harvest when I have time to do something with them which ain't often. I am one of those oddball gardeners in that I get sick of tomatoes after a month of eating them and just leave them for others to harvest. Right now it is so dry the bumblebees are eating them to get water.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 9:26PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

We should be quiet some..the rest of the country is in such horrible drought but I guess we can all crow in our region (since we went through two years of drought not long ago).

Beware of turtles!
One year I watched the ripening of a gorgeous eggplant and
when I fought through the garden to pick it, it was just the skin of the eggplant.
Turtle(s) ate almost the entire inside from the bottom up.
Now I see a turtle eaten half tomato in the garden close to the ground.
You can recognize their bite marks in the skin.
Now, the tomato plants (at least two of them) are overall speckled leaves. Not mildew but similar in appearance.
Getting plenty of rains and the area drains really well.
Not seeing any but a couple of small spiders on the plants.
Wondering if it's acid rain.
Plants still seem vigorous and producing new and ripening gobs.
Should I be worried?
There's powdery mildew down the opposite end of the garden but the cukes there seem to throw it off and keep producing and vine growing.

Are you not getting the rains we've been getting here in Charlotte? Seems possible that what we get off the mountains is angling down to SC and missing your area.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:25AM
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Might be ozone damage. That was covered on a recent episode of "Almanac Gardener", occuring on plants in the Raleigh area. Might be worth a trip to your county extension service, to have a sample analyzed.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 3:25PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

It's odd that it only hit the upper parts of the tomatoes and not the inner or lower leaves and now the upper leaves are looking scalded. That might be because, tipped over, many of the leaf undersides are exposed to the really high UV days we've had lately.
The eggplant leaves are similarly speckled but no apparent damage and all their leaves are affected..blooming like crazy AGAIN. Trouble is, the eggplants are developing flowers in clusters of 4-5 and that's so too many for one branch.

I counted 34 cluster tomatoes like the fancy imported ones you buy by the cluster in the market.
There's 42 on the counter(again), 17 bigger ones..yellows and reds in a basket, 30 in a plastic bin and 9 yellows in the fridge.
Enough already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 2:27PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Thanks, John3..I researched as you suggested and it is ozone damage. But, it can be clipped off because all the growing tips are fine.

And, another wrinkle..tomato fruitworms. If a tomato suddenly turns red, chances are it's either attacked by a fruitworm or chomped on by a turtle.
Finding hornworms now of all different sizes (instars?) but the plants were so leafy before the ozone attack that they went unnoticed.
I'm still tired of tomatoes. It's time to rip 'em out, weed,cover for a couple weeks and then plant the spinach and fall stuff.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 10:52AM
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Where are these turtles coming from? I want some! I guess you have a lovely creek on your property- jealous!

As for tomatoes, sick to death of em! I toss handfuls that have rotted in the trash daily because I can't keep up. And, due to the rain, I'm losing about 1/2 of the cherries to splitting. I'm just leaving those on the ground for whomever- not turtles... I'm getting ready to start ripping too!

Oh, and my eggplant leaves have tons of speckles too but little bugs are on the undersides. I sprayed to no avail- I think they liked it- EEK!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:58AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

royce, your little bugs on the eggplant are probably fleabeetles. Common occurrence, don't bother spraying.
Next year resolve to pinch off all the lower leaves of the eggplant as the plant begins to form flowers. Certain weeds actually attract the fleabeetles away from the eggplants but I wish I could remember their names.

Memories of showing my FIL ,an old truck farmer, the lush growth of my first efforts with eggplant.
He immediately stepped in and practically denuded my plants of all but the topmost leaves. Needless to say I was furious but that year there were few flea beetles and the eggplant developed above the reach of bugs and turtles.

I am convinced that wood turtles will travel great distances in response to the scent of ripened,nearly over ripe fruit like melons and tomatoes.
One year they got up under an eggplant and only left the skin. Their bites leave distinctive marks that identify the culprit and although I have caught them lurking in the daytime I decided to leave them alone rather than relocate them.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 1:15PM
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ditnc(7 NC)

Dottie, thanks for the laugh! I cracked up at your comment about the neighbors avoiding you!

I wish I lived near you (I'm in Raleigh). My tomatoes were an epic fail this year for some unknown reason. I would gladly take some of your harvest!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 3:36PM
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Dottie, what variety tomato did you plant? My tomatoes didn't do good this year-and I had more than 3 plants. First I fought blossom end rot, then the lower leaves started wilting/turned brown. Other things did well, but not the tomatoes. I've never heard of working in peanut shells either. Do you do that on a regular basis? I don't have access to peanut shells--but that sounds interesting. Right now, I'm enjoying the spaghetti squash.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Two plants and wayyy too many tomatoes. Until the hummingbirds found them. I would walk back to the garden and see dozens of birds feasting on tomatoes. I have never seen so many hummers! Also have dragonflys. Lots of them. Abi

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 8:42PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Hiya're you liking Charlotte? Son's probably loving having you close by.
dit..I picked 14 good sized tomatoes this week. Amazing, I've usually given up and pulled the plants by mid August.
Still producing.. Rudgers,one low-acid orange(yellow orange) and one I forget ..maybe that German variety.

Blossom end rot..use powdered lime worked into the soil next year ..not a heavy dose. You can always dust a little around the plant root area mid season.

The peanut shells need to be pulverized in a highspeed blender and you want to work them into the second 6" layer of soil below the topsoil. That unexpected boost of nitrogen really boosts plant growth to the main roots especially if you plant your tomatoes deeply.
Away from air and sun, the peanut shell pieces work for up to 3 years before needing replenishing.

Trim off those lower leaf stalks the day you notice them discoloring/spotting and keep the regrowth from the trimmed area pinched off. Ground splash in watering/rainfall combined with shade and poor air circulation kills off those lower leaf sets(not to mention they are the oldest of the plant growth).

I'm just glad the commercial growers that provide us with young tomato plants are tagging which are indeterminate/determinate.
Someday, they'll realize the need to de-mystify the terms so people can better choose the type that best serves their needs.
Not everyone likes to can or preserve one heavy crop of tomatoes. Some of us like a half dozen or so tomatoes a week during a longer season.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:39AM
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Dottie, I am loving it here. Lots of zinnias sunflowers and hummingbirds. Tomatos are pretty much done. Looking forward to the swap if it happens. The whole family is happy we are here, lots of grandkids adventures.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 10:22PM
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thanks for the info--can you explain to us new folks what the difference in determinate and indeterminate are and some examples of which varieties are each.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 12:49PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

love2, you can probably get a ready made list off Google.
Just google determinate/indeterminate tomato varieties.

As I believe it, determinate varieties put out one main heavy crop then intermittent production afterwards. Popular with truckfarmers in areas where rainfall is more dependable earlier in the season.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 5:14PM
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