Tomato failure

Logan_SweetwaterSeptember 14, 2011

This year I wanted my garden to set me up to be as sustainable as possible and to be honest I guess I wanted to learn the hard way. I bought all heirloom with the idea that I would be seed saving and I have on the plants that have survived the drought and heat. My issue falls with the tomatoes, I started everything in the garden by direct seed since I don't have a greenhouse or even a good south facing window so the tomatoes took forever to get up and going. Well to bring this to my point the tomatoes never have produced any fruits but if they do would you think they would have enough time to ripen so I could at least get enough seeds to start again next year. The conundrum is that if I leave them they take up a lot of room in the garden that I could use for fall plants so if you would please advise. Would you take them out and just call a loss a loss or keep the hope alive?

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slowpoke_gardener

Logan,

This has been a hard year. I feel I have failed also. We all start out with high hope but mother nature can be cruel. I pulled all but 6 of my tomato plants, they are worn out but most did produce very well for a while, now I am just leaving them for the critters. I have placed horn worm in them and the birds seem to be roosting in them.

I would suggest to drop back and punt. If you can get a small fall crop going I think it would boost your spirits. You may even want to plant a cover crop to try to gain an edge for next year. I plan on doing both.

It is so dry now that I have to water every thing to get it to germinate, and when it gets a little larger I will place an irrigation tube along the row and install some mulch. I expect to have a little lettuce, mustard. radishes and turnips. I will have to fight the insects because I have a bumper crop of them. I was hoping for larger Cole crops but did not get any seed started and I don't want to buy high priced plants to feed the grasshoppers.

I would not expect much out of your tomatoes. I planted a nice plant that my neighbor gave me. It is in a good spot and gets proper care, but it is not doing anything to Bragg about.

Larry

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 12:34AM
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piscesfish(6)

Hi Logan,

I guess it depends on the types of tomato plants you have. I have a Boxcar Willie, a Black Seaman, and 2 Amish Red Brandywines still alive in a tangled mess. I thought I'd just pull them all, but then I noticed that they are now putting out real flowers again! (In the heat of the summer, the flower buds had been producing but the actual flower was always dead before the bud opened). So, I'm hoping I get a few tomatoes out of them, but I'm more excited for the new tomatoes I planted. I picked plants with the quickest DTM I knew of, namely, the Sub-Arctic Plenty. In theory, at least, the plant will be producing tomatoes in 42 days. It is cold tolerant to 30 degrees Farenheit. And even the ripening time of the tomatoes is meant to be sped up. So, I hope to get something off those plants. If you don't want to pull all your tomato plants, I'd consider pulling the ones that look the worst for wear, feeding the remaining plants, watering constantly, and continue hoping for the best.

Kelly

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 1:34AM
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MiaOKC

I have something like 18 hybrid cherry/roma tomato plants that have put out tiny fruits over the last month but they are flowering well now so I'm leaving them in. I have about 8 heirloom plants from the swap that didn't set a single fruit all summer, but now are flowering in earnest, so I'm leaving them, too, to see if they can set.

I found out this spring by reading the forum that you can take green tomatoes into the garage to let them ripen slowly over the winter and eat homegrown tomatoes in the dead of winter. Don't recall all the specifics but there were several methods (maybe pulling the whole plant and hanging it from the rafter or a garage door rail? or maybe putting the fruits in a paper bag?) can't recall exactly but will be searching it out to see if I get any green tomatoes that need to be picked before a frost.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:42AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

You can start tomatoes under a desk lamp with a compact fluorescent bulb; a cheap shop light from Lowes with the cheapest 40 watt bulbs is better. I took my dog's space under the strairs once and she didn't adjust well to that. Tomato seeds are cheap for what you get. Sand Hill doesn't charge shipping if you order a few and Sample Seed Shop is also cheap. I would go ahead and plant you fall garden and start over on tomatoes next spring. Gardening never does work out like you plan and a lot of the fun is thinking about next season.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 4:21PM
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