Early Girl Had Her Chance....and Blew It Again

Okiedawn OK Zone 7April 26, 2012

A while back I posted that the first breaker on a tomato plant was a fruit on the Early Girl plant that was transplanted into a large pot in late February. It was surprising because Early Girl is never early for me.

So, today I harvested the first three ripe tomatoes, and they weren't from Early Girl. They were from Terenzo F-1, a cherry tomato that was a 2011 AAS winner. They're only bite-sized tomatoes, and by DTMs, Terenzo should beat Early Girl, so it is not a big surprise. However, those fruit went from green one morning to breaking color by that afternoon to turning by the next day. It was very quick.

The tomato on Early Girl that started breaking color last week? I guess she was not liking the nights in the low 40s because she stalled and hasn't advanced in color at all since then. This week's heat may change that. Early Girl still has a chance to produce the first full-sized tomato. If she doesn't straighten up, I'm going to go back to calling her Late Girl again.


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Yaay for the first tomatoes of the season!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 4:27PM
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That is awesome! I have another tomato into my 2013 list!

By the way, do not harass or threat Early Girl too often, she may get upset and end up in retaining her second title Late Girl! My early girls are seems to be sleeping with those green tomatoes without any signs of breaking their colors.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 4:38PM
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I've had a few red tomatoes on my Early Girl, but they've got BER. I haven't been very good about watering it because it's the only thing I've got in a container and I guess I'm paying for it now. Maybe I've learned my lesson. Or maybe not. I probably still won't water it like I should.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 4:49PM
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I have one tomato on my Early Girl that is yellow. I also have yellowing and wilting leaves. Not sure what thats's about.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 4:51PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Mia, Yes, hooray for the first tomatoes! However, we usually celebrate the first ripe tomato with BLT sandwiches and I just don't think three little red cherry tomatoes will make much of a sandwich, so the celebration is postponed until we have a "real" tomato.

Chandra, I think Early Girl hates me. I am nice to her. I pay her a lot of attention, but she just sits there and stares at me as her tomatoes continue to stay right at the breaker stage.

Leslie, I hate to hear about the BER. With the heat you've had over there, I'm not surprised. I have purposefully positioned my container tomatoes where I can't leave the house and go anywhere without seeing them, and that forces me to pay close attention to their watering needs. Otherwise, it is sort of out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

Tigerdawn, Hooray for the yellow tomato. It is halfway from green to red then, more or less. Just plain yellow leaves? Are they a solid yellow, or a very definite yellow/green pattern of some sort? No splotches or speckles in unlovely shades of brown, black or purple? Usually yellowing + wilting together means something is wrong with the vascular system like it has gotten way too dry or way too wet. Otherwise, if the soil feels evenly moist and there's no spider mites on the undersides of the leaves, it could be a sign of heat stress. If it is heat stress, the wilting should go away over night.

If it isn't an issue of heat stress, being too wet or being too dry, or being infested with spider mites, then the list of possibilities grows progressively worse, so let's not even go there if we don't have to.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 5:39PM
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I think it's spider mites. My other plants have them too. I forgot what I'm supposed to do about them...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 7:33PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You can hose them off the backs of the leaves with a sharp spray of water. If you do, repeat it about once every three days for at least 3 times. That usually discourages them enough that they leave.

If you want to spray, you could use neem oil. Spray the undersides of the leaves and I wouldn't do it on a day that's going to be over 90 degrees because sometimes oil sprays damage foliage if sprayed on a hot day.

You likely could use an insecticidal soap on the undersides of the leaves.

I've been fighting them for three weeks now on two potted brugmansias and so far nothing has been very effective. It is about to drive me insane.

There are predatory mites that eventually show up and take care of some of the spider mites, but I've never had a very large population of them here.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 10:35PM
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Congrats on everybody's tomatos! I have one turning yellow on the Bush Goliath. I have a few green ones on BG, Juliet, SunSugar, and Better Boy, but none turning yellow except for the BG. I guess when SunSugar turns yellow it will be pretty much be ripe for all intents and purposes, huh?

I cannot wait, literally, cannot wait.....


    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 7:25AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Susan, When SunSugar turns a yellowish-orange it is not yet ripe. Wait for it to turn a bright golden-orange. I had people tell me that their SunGolds and SunSugars didn't have good flavor. After we determined they were not over-watering them (which would have watered down the flavor), we figured out they were picking them when they were a light yellowish-orange and, hence, not fully ripe. It just takes a little experience to know when they've reached the right color that indicates maximum flavor.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Are teensy red bugs also known as red spider mites? I think we have these all over our patio, they crawl all around the edges of the pool, diving board, etc. Haven't noticed any plant damage, but it's gross to sit on the edge of the pool to test the water and have red splotches all over you from the mite-murder you've inadvertently committed. Not sure if they came from the bamboo or the new potted palms I bought.

If I do nothing will they peter out or be eaten by something bigger and badder? Since they are not harming any plants, I wouldn't kill them, but they are a nuisance if you are trying to lay on a towel by the pool, etc. (Not that I'm doing that yet - the water is icy cold. But for the future!)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 10:59AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Mia, How teensy are the teensy red bugs. I don't think they are spider mites. Spider mites would be as tiny as the dot over the letter i.

Generally, the only other teensy red bugs I see, and they are a million (OK, maybe a hundred-thousand) times larger than spider mites are the nymphs of leaf-footed bugs, and they are bad, bad, bad, bad bad. I'm going to link a photo of a baby leaf-footed bug so you can see if your red bugs match them by chance.

And, the second variety to produce a ripe cherry tomato is Lizzano F-1, also a 2011 AAS winner.


Here is a link that might be useful: Photo: Leaf-footed Bug Nymphs

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 1:15PM
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I get these very tiny little spiders - that's what I believe them to be - on my Virginia Creeper. But spiders they are and not mites. They are a bit larger than spider mites, but I know they are not the Leaf-Footed Bug Nymphs, or I would see them in the garden. I have only seen one Leaf-Footed Bug in the garden and that was last year. Do you have any VC around?


    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 4:03PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Do we have VC? VC covers every single square inch of our woodland, which is about 11 or 12 acres. I fight like a maniac to keep it out of the veggie garden, but let it crawl through the woods wherever it pleases. Just a couple of days ago I was digging it up and pulling it up where it was attempting to come under, over and through the garden fence on the western edge of the garden and the garden's second gate, which is at the NW end of the garden. Generally only the cats use that gate as I mostly use the main gate, and the VC is attempting to cover the gate so it cannot be opened or closed.

I don't worry about actual spiders as they are good guys and we have about a million per acre. Spider mites, which are arachnids and not insects, are widespread here in all the native pastures so I have to battle them moving into the garden every year. In wet years they are not so bad, but in dry years they are horrid.

I have just about decided that the Peter Rabbit Garden is going to be used only for cool-season crops because it is directly adjacent to the unmowed cow pasture just south of our property. Spider mites from that pasture invade the PRG in June and so do grasshoppers, and once they hit it, there is nothing you can do to stop them. So, in the future I think I'll plant cool-season stuff there, and then after it is harvested, just pile up a thick layer of mulch and see how the spider mites like them apples!

This is the second year the spider mites have shown up in April, or possibly even late March. Usually they aren't a big problem until July or even August in a mild, wet summer like 2007.

I am hoping the potatoes and onions in the PRG can resist the spider mite invasion. After the potatoes and onions are out of there, the spider mites can have that area....but there won't be anything green in it, except for the 4 big tomato plants in the stock tank and I expect I'll battle the mites for it.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 4:16PM
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Luckily they are not the leaf footed bug nymphs, as they do not have darker colored legs. Even the legs are red on these tiny bugs. When I google tiny red spider, I get results for Clover Mites, which may or may not be the same thing as red spider mites. They smoosh red when you step or rest your hand on them. Will examine tonight to see how big they are, but they are easy to see on the white concrete, so even if they are small I've seen them up close and personal.

Here is a link that might be useful: I believe they look like this

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 4:34PM
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