I always wanted bonzai but in the garden?

chickencoupeJune 22, 2012

They're plentiful even though I lost half of my tomato crops to blossom end rot the others are juicy, flavorful and delicious .... they're just tiny. Every kind, every variety is no bigger than a nickel! So, "cherry" tomatoes I have this year. Very funny. The blossom end rot was a result of me being unable to tend to the soil properly at the second planting time. I did not include into my second batch of plantings the same number of ingredients. I believe it was the egg shell that was missing. Thus, I extended myself far too much on the number of plants even though this is helpful in fruit-bearing this year since they're all tiny. At least, I have a lot of tiny ones to chew on LOL Great salads, let me tell ya. Still feels GREAT to have some actual fruit. I was able to achieve one very beautiful squash!

I had a hugelkulture plot that bore a tomato plant all by itself. It was a roma tomato plant that suffers also from blossom end rot. However, those fruits were normal size and three turned before the others began to rot. It never got tended, weeded or even watered except by nature. Apparently, hugelkulture works very well on my land. Quite impressive considering the work I put into the other plants. The volunteer tomato in that planter exceeded.

My back went out. Tis why I haven't been on much. Miss ya'll very much.

I hope you are all having a fruitious season!


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First of all, my sincere condolences on your back problem. Until experiencing such a thing myself, I had no idea just how painful and frustrating that can be. I used to think that if ones back went out, they could still sneak out there and do a little bit. But that's not so!

Secondly, I wonder if you didn't have some kind of a mix up and receive cherry tomato plants? Do the plants, otherwise look healthy? I've had mix ups when buying either seed or plants at Walmart. At least you're getting usable fruit.

How old is your hugelkulture plot? If you just constructed it, I wonder if it still retained that much more moisture than your regular garden plot. Also, did you hurt your back making it?! I was just studying about this, and it looks both very good, and like a lot of work to build.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 7:42AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Any ripe tomato is cause for celebration, even if the tomatoes are small.

I'm sorry to hear about your back and hope you're feeling better. My husband and his best friend both have back trouble that flares up occasionally, and it keeps them from doing anything at all, except for going to the chiropractor.

Are they all supposed to be cherry tomatoes? I agree with George that if they were purchased plants, they could have been mislabeled. If not, there's some reason the fruit remains so small. You can get pitifully small fruit on plants that noirmally produce regular-sized fruit in a very hot, very dry year like last year but not really cherry-sized, and I wouldn't expect such tiny fruit would be a problem here this spring, unless you're in western OK or the panhandle. It wouldn't surprise me so much if you were getting tiny fruit on a plant that produces full-sized fruit in a hot August, but in June?

Like George, I wonder if there's something going on with the soil.

BER occurs on tomatoes for various reasons. Usually it isn't even necessarily a lack of calcium in the soil, but rather uneven moisture that interferes in the plants' vascular system and the way that it distributes the available calcium throughout the plant. When there is either far too little available moisture or, more rarely, far too much available moisture from very heavy rainfall, the plant's vascular system basically pulls the calcium back out of the fruit into the plant as a survival technique until the moisture situation corrects and/or until the plant has grown a bit more and has a more mature and more capable vascular system. Then, the calcium makes it all the way back to the fruit again. That's why you often see BER earlier in the season when the vascular system of the plant cannot support the fruit that has set if there is a moisture issue. It also is the reason eggshells and such get credited with correcting the BER, but the fact is that BER is almost always self-correcting in decent soil with a proper pH for tomato growth. In studies, it has been shown eggshells added to soil release calcium too slowly to help in the current year, and the trick of putting TUMS tablets in the soil underneath the plant when it is planted is the same--releasing calcium too slowly to matter in the current year, but might help next year or the year after.

We had almost no rain at our house in most of May, with rain finally arriving near the end of the month, and some fruit developed BER during that dry time. I planted tons of plants though so the loss of a few fruit wasn't a big deal in this case, and once the rain fell, the BER stopped. In many cases, the rain saved the fruit and I found them usable after cutting off the BER end because the BER didn't advance very far into the fruit and was just a superficial brown scar at the end of the fruit. Had that heavy rain not fallen at the end of May, the BER problem likely would have been more widespread and more severe.

There's lots of summer left and hopefully your garden will produce more fruit for y'all to harvest and enjoy.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:52AM
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I believe there were at least six different varieties of tomatoes planted; four of those were heirloom mater quality but the rest were from Wally World.

I created the hugelkulture plot in early spring working hard to incorporate some native leaf mold and it is, essentially, a raised bed but with the amendments at the bottom and in the ground approximately 6-8". The entire depth of where this particular plant is a lower tier of the planter at 4" above grade! I think this impresses me more than anything else. I bet those roots are sprawled all the way to the back side of the planter that is 2 foot high. Once I dug down (as much as I could with my back) I filled it with ramial wood (3" dia. or less). Then, I filled it with the best native soil available along with some long-aged compost. Big hugelkulture garden plots use entire stumps and logs. The premise is the same but my plot was smaller and probably won't last as long. I had to try. Really impressive. All other plants - dill, parsley, sunflower, sweet peas - all of them - are much more healthier than those in any other section of my garden and I've had to do so very little with them. I'm sold on this one and my back concurs (lol).

My soil is mostly dark clay. I built up the rows into giant mounds to simulate a raised bed for the other tomato plants of which there are at least 25 surviving.

Dawn, that makes sense because when my back was out I didn't get out there and water. They seemed fine when they were newer and green but did not develop the rot until later.

Of course, we've been caught in most of the rainfall this season so watering hasn't been too great a concern. I'm getting all these volunteers and fruits despite neglect. Yay!

I almost forgot. Most all are diseased. Not sure what it is as I haven't spent much time looking because my time picking is laborious. This is the very first garden here in over 30 years on this plot. I just remember what Dawn said; they survive and bear fruit even when they're not perfect. It's sad they're little. The grass in it must be twelve inches high! The plants are sprawling on the ground but no "taller" than 2-1/2 foot high/long. I'm getting about 20 a day right now. Was hoping to use the canner. Maybe next year. In spite of the diseases, drought, neglect and weeds I'm getting so much fruit and I'm just tickled pink about it. hehe

I definitely was too overzealous this past spring and paying for it in my back. I can definitely say now the raised beds will work the best for me. All I need do is replenish the dirt with compost and otherwise and it remains loose and pliable. Forget the ground. That's where I went wrong - working that darned heavy clay.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:30PM
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