best cultivar for central texas(long post)

eyesofthewolf(8b)May 15, 2011

I could not post for quite some time; GW had problems with me logging on then I forgot my password LOL and so problems with that are resolved.

On to the real problem, I have been growing tomatoes for 4 years and have always bought heirlooms, I had no serious problems with them just the standard stuff, but this year I bought black krim seed and to my best deductions I think the seed was shipped to me with bacterial canker riding on board. The research that I have done really bothers me because it looks like its a nasty thing to clear up; even when you yank the plants, no sprays or dusting will work- only solarization of the soil. I have 8 Brandywines in a bed ten feet away, and they seem to be ok if the people would not spray herbicide...that's another story. The problem is with the black krim I have 9 plants: 6 are in a bed together, 3 are in pots in different areas around the yard, and 2 in the bed show real signs of being infected as well as all the potted plants seem to be infected. I am ready to try hybrids, I grow organic for 2 reasons: First, the expense of a spray for this and a spray for that can get pretty pricey. Second, fewer toxins in my body seems like a good idea. So with that long-winded explanation what cultivar has the resistance to everything? I don't even care if it taste like cardboard (just joking) Thanks for taking time to read my post. :0)Deanna

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Boy, you opened up a can of worms with that one. First, no cultivar, that I'm aware of, has resistance to everything. If you want to go with hybrids you'll want to look for the letters after the name that indicate which problems the variety is resistant to. Big Beef VFFNTA, comes to mind. Those letters indicate bred-in resistance to Verticulum wilt, 2 races of Fusarium wilt, Nematodes, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, and Alternaria, if I'm not mistaken.

And secondly, are you absolutely positive about your identification of the problem? That's a very specific diagnosis. My first thought would be to ask purveyors at the local farmers markets about their experience with the problem and what they grow to get around it. I might also contact the county ag. extension in your area, or a local master gardener and ask them the same.

That said, I like Big Beef and Lemon Boy for their taste and production. Some like Celebrity, but I find it to be tasteless for the most part. But it sure will produce.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 11:22AM
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Thank you Mitch, I will write these down for next year. I took some very bad pictures maybe I over did the diagnosis after looking VERY close with old lady glasses they could have spider mite infestation as well. Well here is a couple pictures for those who want to chime in, The first one is healthy Brandywines the rest are black krim in different stages of the (problem)

I hope the pictures are clear enough. Thanks for the reply Deanna

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 9:57PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yeah I'd say you may have over-did it on the diagnosis as I sure don't see any bacterial canker signs based on the photos. But can always do the stem test to find out for sure.

First, symptoms aside, assuming you purchased your seeds from a reputable dealer the odds of infected seed are slim to none. Even traded seeds, if properly fermented and cleaned would be rarely infected.

Second, when it comes down to disease vs. unfavorable growing conditions being the cause of symptoms, the odds always favor poor growing conditions as the cause 9 times out of 10.

I see some minor leaf miner damage (2nd pic) and the rest appears to just be environmental - windburn, sun scald, some spray drift perhaps, too much water at some point, some nutrient deficiency, salt build up in the soil, etc. are all possibilities. Had any hail or hard rain?

Can't comment on the pic with the concrete block in it as can't tell if that is in the ground or a pot or what's with the string.

Personally if they were mine I'd just remove all the affected foliage and assuming they are planted properly I re-evaluate my watering and feeding program and monitor the plants for improvement. Then, if your weather has been cool and especially wet this spring as mine has, I'd plan to start a fungicide spraying program ASAP.

All that said and knowing that hybrids are just as susceptible to environmental/poor growing conditions damage as open pollinated varieties then hybrids would be the way to go for you if only to increase your confidence in the plants. Consider the following: Rutgers (stabilized old hybrid), Arkansas Traveler, Porter, Celebrity', Big Boy, Homestead as all are proven to do well in your climate.

You might also check in with the folks on the Texas Gardening forum for recommendations for varieties.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Yes Dave that does help. I went on a Texas aggie site and some of the pictures they posted for bacterial canker look some what like mine. I didn't know that it's not a common problem. We have had a super dought and day time highs in the high 90's one day we hit 100 already. So keeping them properly watered has been a chore. I really appreciate this forum as people with more knowledge and growing seasons under their belt. I will try to figure out what to do about ferts, as I under feed my plants if anything. I try to rotate crops, last year I grew eggplants in this bed and they did great. Maybe since they are both nightshade family some thing is amiss I could make conjecture all night long. The only thing I use for ferts is black cow manure and home made compost and bonemeal.
Well thanks for the input I am glad not to pull the plants they do have some lovely tomatoes hanging on them. Deanna

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 11:44PM
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