Worst tomato year ever?

sue_ct(z6 CT)July 11, 2013

OK, it may still be a little early to make this determination. But its looking pretty bleak. According to my garden journal, on May 27, we were still getting night time temps in the 30s. I put them into the garden on May 28. Between May 28 and June 14 I got 9 inches of rain. We had a couple of weeks of dryer sunny weather but with temps shooting into the 90s. They actually looked like they might grow and recover enough to get a crop but here we go again, tornadoes (within a mile of my house) and more rain. An inch last week and over 2 inches yesterday.

Is there any way to save them from mother nature? I held off putting any mulch down to actually give them and the soil a little time to dry out a bit until 2 days ago, but the weeds were going to be problem so now I have wet soil with a straw/hay mulch on top. Other than losing a few lower leaves they don't seem to have any disease, they just haven't done much of anything. They are about 18-24 inches tall with a few flowers.

I had a few extra plants and put them into fabric pots a couple of weeks ago and they are bigger than the ones I put in the garden almost 6 weeks ago! I just got a few more fabric pots in that I ordered and will plant a few more left over ones in solo cups. But I am just wondering if I will end up getting anything out of them. It seems to be my only option left so I can more easily protect them into fall.

Hind site is best but I wish I had put down black plastic to keep some rain off the soil. Would that have mad it just roll off do you think? Could I have done something different that I can learn from and is there anything I should consider doing now?

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Sorry Sue I don't have any suggestions, just commiseration. At least we didn't have a tornado go through! But my Independence Day just started to have 1 blossom open, Best Boy still hasn't though Latah in the same row (and more to the east so more morning shade) has a few fruit set. The other tomatoes have a few fruit set (1st Cosmonaut Volkov! And I noticed a definite on the Cherokee Purple, though not the one I was thinking). Everything looks pretty healthy, but still only 1.5-2.5ft tall. I can't tell the difference any more between the ones I set out from 6-packs, the ones from 3.5" pots, the ones I replaced 2 weeks ago, and the ones that I had put in from 1 gal pots (except of course the ones that are in with my beans).

The volunteer (cherry tomato from the size of the blooms) growing by the compost bin door has tripled in size in the past 2 weeks and is the same size as the determinate (?) hybrids I set out June 2.

My aunt 1/2 mile up the road bought 2ft tall plants with blossoms on them in 1 gal pots at Mothers Day, left them outside to freeze, then in the 90 degree heat, finally put them in the ground on the south side of garage (where the plastic shed and compost bin I don't think they ever used were) 3 weeks ago and she's got ripe grape tomatoes and tennis-ball sized beefsteaks (though the plants haven't grown more than 6" since she bought them). Go figure.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:38PM
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Hello Sue,
I am east of you in MA by a few miles on the shores of Buzzards Bay about one half mile back from the sea shore and my tomatoes are doing great. I grew 15 varities from seed....a mix of good hybrids and favorite heirlooms and with a few exceptions, they are doing well. I counted 10-15 good sized green tomatoes on a number of my plants this evening. My journal reflects similar weather conditions to those you experienced. as to rainfall and temps. I think the difference may be in part due to the fact that I grow in raised beds and very large containers. Just a consideration to consider for next year. Wish you well and don't let one bad season discourage you.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 9:00PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Thanks. I do have few in "pots" and they are doing very well considering they were only planted 2-3 weeks ago, the reason I am going to stick a few more in and see if I have enough time left to get any production from them. A few years ago we had a really bad start and I ended up with a great season, but I can't access the old posts to see how late it went. Looking for hope but not false hope, lol. I am going to peruse the journal and see if I made any notes about it.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 9:54PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

With all the rain and flooding just east of here that has changed peoples lives forever, I almost feel a little guilty that my containers are performing so well. My biggest problem was a little ground water in our swimming pool. We've had just shy of 13" of rain since June 1, and some folks just 40 miles SE of here have had almost 30" in the past 2 months.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 10:35AM
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I have just been out to my garden to access the damage from 19 days of rain. I had mulched in my tomatoes and peppers really well, had even put in a soaker hose . Anyway, since I have lots of tomatoes and pepper plants, I will have a good enough crop but they are suffering.
The squash and cucumbers are another story, They are really looking bad. I pulled out a couple cucumber vines that had completely rotted. My green beans are dead. I now can see the value of raised beds in the garden.

Also as the tomatoes start to ripen, something is taking bites out of them. I have not seen our chickens out there but maybe they are the guilty ones. Again, I guess it is good to have plenty of plants if you have the room so you can counteract some of the disasters as they come along.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 11:12AM
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It's been 2 months since I set out my "early" tomatoes - yesterday I picked 1 Latah that was breaking and 2 Gardener's Delight cherries that were almost ripe.

Not very much fruit set with heat wave 3rd week of July, now the next couple of nights low is supposed to be 50. I have tons of blossoms on the Cheeseman's cherry, don't suppose any of those will set at all. I have to cover the peppers since they are looking good and some have fruit.

But is there any hope for tomatoes this year? I suppose the fruit that's already set(most of it July 10-14 when it wasn't too hot, the past 2 weeks were OK too but I haven't noticed a lot of fruit set) should ripen sometime before frost, but I don't know if any more fruit will set.

I have seen tomatoes at market, have to ask the other vendors what varieties, when set out, watering, etc. to see what went wrong this year. Last year was dry but I had a pretty big harvest in August and Sept b/c I was hauling water. Did the same thing last month (didn't need it in June) so all I can think is that even the ones that didn't appear to be struggling with the June rains were delayed. Still haven't seen "Independence Day" (49 DTM supposedly) break yet. Neither have the cherry tomatoes on the huge sprawling (5ft tall, 9 ft wide) volunteer growing by my compost heap.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 9:35PM
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Commiserating here too. The heat wreaked havoc during blossom set time, then too much rain, and now that I have fruit trying to grow and ripen, it's downright chilly out which is slowing everything down. My first tomato of the season tasted truly "bleh"! Hope the rest are better, but if it stays chilly like this, I dunno.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 10:43AM
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I'm just now starting to realize how off my plants are this year. I've had a few early season Stupice ripen this week, but that's it so far. My Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, and Mortgage Lifter all have numerous fruits, but they grew slightly larger than golf balls and are now staying at that size. Last year I had 8' high plants with huge tomatoes at this point in the season. I'll definitely get a crop, though, albeit a small one. My mother's garden has yet to produce a fruit to this point in the season! I am feeling very fortunate that I've managed to go disease-free with the all of the weather concerns... heavy mulch (to prevent splashing soil on leaves), copper fungicide, and careful pruning at the first sign of yellowing/spotting have been remarkably effective. I'm somewhat relieved to hear I'm not the only one in this area experiencing a sub-par garden year... not that I wish it on anyone! Is anyone in Western CT or MA having success?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 2:38PM
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My worst season ever by far. I had never lost plants in 25 years before, but this year I have lost several and not many of the survivors are doing well. The tomatoes I did get early were not very good, mushy and tasteless. Starting to get better taste and texture now. I knew it was going to be cool and wet but I didn't realize how bad it could get. Next year it's raised beds and Daconil for me.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 5:56PM
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My year started out being very good - warm, but not too warm with good rain. The plants looked great! Then I saw wilting on my Black Krim. I thought it was too much moisture, so I let it dry out. About a week later, the plant looked worse and I thought it must need water! The wilting started on CP. I realized that this is not as simple as moisture control. I decide to pull my two better producers to save the others - sigh.

I noticed two blushing fruit on Brandy Boy. When I picked them I saw black moldy rotting on the underside. The kind that you wouldn't even cut out - yuck! Looks like the Sunsugar is going to be my only producer - hopefully.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 8:46AM
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Actually one of my best years for tomatoes, because I did more plants in different locations. Rain has been timely but not a problem.

I am having the usual situation of the plants running out of steam right about now, not setting much more fruit. Often by late august I have hardly any yield and it's looking that way again. High-octane soil drenches don't seem to help much.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 10:17AM
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I've also been having a pretty good year. Slowdown now from hot weather last month, but a nice cool snap now has them flowering again. Hoping they set more fruit. I picked my last brandywine yesterday.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 12:10PM
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Neighbor up the hill from me asked if I had any ripe yet. A few tomatoes on a cherry I gave her (think I gave her both SS100 and GD) are coloring, as well as an Opalka she got (large plant) from nursery. She put them in Mother's Day, a couple weeks before I did. So we're thinking the organic farm down in the valley must be warmer (I'm just under 1000ft, she's over) and/or they used row cover or something and had them out early. We have no idea about the farm 4 miles from me at higher elevation, I'll have to look at market tomorrow to see what kind, but they looked smaller, so maybe they were early determinates. Organic farm had BW last week.

Oh, and my Independence Day is not a "cocktail tomato" - I've got some tennis-ball or even baseball sized fruit on some now with no breaking. I don't even think they're determinates since they're still flowering even with fruit that big. So not the true Independence Day that is determinate (but 55 DTM not the 49 DTM on the packet) and not "4th of July" determinate either since fruit are too large (definitely more than 4 oz or "cocktail size").

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:07PM
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Definitely way worse than last year. I kept mine pretty well watered through the drought, and had 1 bazillion tomatoes. Beam's Yellow Pear, Sweet 100s, San Marzano paste and some San Genovese (I think). Blech weather here this year, blight, fruit worm, etc. have killed at least one plant already, and have me thinking about pulling a couple others, at least 6 weeks before I normally would.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 8:07PM
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Neighbor wanted to know if it was possible the tomatoes wouldn't ripen this year. I told her what we have on the vines now should ripen before frost, but I was tempted to pinch all the new flowers off except that I like pickled green tomatoes. She wants the recipe (from NCHFP).

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 8:59PM
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Been fighting Septoria here, not winning but schlepping along, not the best but not the worst so far every few days bag of toms ready to go. So far my thoughts for next year
Truffles -Will try black pear possibly different Russian variety

Purple Russian- keeper, producing well, good tolerance, great taste

Paul Robeson-keeper, love it

Gypsy- new one, keeper, early midseason, more sweet than BK

Amazon Chocolate- best so far taste, not so great on Septoria or seems like cool weather more, def keeper

Black vernissage- thick skin and mealy, jury still out

Missouri pink love apple- good and reliable, keeper

Pink Honey- did pretty well, although not high producing, taste great, likes cool weather as many russian varieites seems

Big Rainbow- just starting, plant seems doing ok

Tigerella- have other things to try next year

Nature RIddle- just starting, jury still out

Riesentraube- keeper, probably healthiest plant so far

Taste of Italy' Cuore Di Bue- got it loaded with greenies, keeper
San Marzano- will replace with Redorta

Azochka- keeper, early and taste great, did not do well with Septoria

Roman Striped, did well after weather got warmer, looking better as time goes by and loaded

HHHS- mmm, have other things to try
Sungold- forever keeper

Blue p20- love it, though did not well with leaf problem, plants look sickly but pumping tomatoes

Ildi- have better things to try

Isis- same, will try something else

Gardeners Delight- keeper, good resistance, early and fruiting well, one plant is more than enough

Black Russian- just broke colors couple days ago will see

Black Krim- will replace, too many dark varieties and no tolerance to Septoria

Marianne Peace- still green

Lemon wonder, ended up being Limonny, def a keeper, great taste and size, midseason early

Banana legs- will have to get something else, was totally determinate this year still 2 ft tall

Peach- like the fruit, but it seem doing so so as plant, last year was the same, just not enough strength

Giant yellow belgium, still green, not sure

Hungarian heart- keeper forever

Tarasenko ubileyniy- like, medium producer, good size and taste, keeper

Green zebra cherry- possible, if nothing better comes alone, good tolerance to weather, good producer so far

Novogogoshari- will replace, just do not know what to do with stuffing tomatoes
Green Frost- kinda keeper, green toms are not my love but good taste

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 10:39PM
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This is definitely my worst year ever. Way too much rain -- about 20 or more inches through June and July, and septoria is running rampant. The new growth at the top looks healthy, but the heat waves interspersed with the rain didn't allow much fruit to set in early July. I should have been more proactive with the daconil, but it seems like it rains every day so I'm not sure it would have helped.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 11:07AM
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I'm with you caryltoo - early blight and septoria on my indeterminates, even though they're well-pruned (and getting pruned more each day!) so plenty of circulation. I thought it would help that it was so dry in July, but no, still getting spotty leaves and I know I really should spray but then we have rain predicted and I don't. Rain predicted through Sat now. Had lots of blossom drop so very few fruit set on the heirloom beefsteaks, though Cosmonaut Volkov and Grandma Mary's are loaded (but green).

The determinates (though the seem to be acting like indeterminates) near the house, let me just call them Burpees from now on since at least 1 of the 2 seed packets were mislabeled, are very lush and bushy and I have not been pruning them, thinking they were determinates, not as much sun as others, they have very few spots (only a few lower leaves that I did remove), and have finally started setting fruit - for the past few weeks, a few fruit that set in early July are baseball-sized and the plants are still flowering (!) but nothing is ripening yet.

I have to see how these taste, they certainly are disease-resistant (cukes in same area are getting DM, squash PM), just wish I knew WHAT they were!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 9:45PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Still not even a single tomato blushing. Only a rare few in the garden likely to ripen and the ones I planted in pots a month or 6 weeks after the garden are producing more tomatoes. One, Orange Minsk has cat facing on one fruit and BER on the other. I am hoping that I good some good fruit from the 2 Sophie's choice I put in a pot which have quite a few but still small fruit. I won't get to can anything and I did quite a bit last year. This is WAY too long to wait for a first garden tomato! I am in desperate need of a fresh garden tomato, lol! Here is to hoping the fall is warm enough and late enough that currently blossoms have time to set some fruit and ripen before the cool fall temps take away all the taste.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 11:58PM
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Sue, I don't know where your closest farmer's market is, but a few vendors had some at East Granby last night, some of those vendors will be at Simsbury market tonight if you can't wait and week and it's not too long a drive ;-)

I ate my 1 ripe (picked at break and ripened on the counter) Latah last night, plus a Jolly (Jollie?) I got from organic farm at the market. They're starting to come in, just not in my garden =(

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 7:52AM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Thanks, its not too far, just too late, lol. Actually my brother went to visit in laws in Maine and they are also having a really bad year so he stopped at a Farm Stand and brought some up, but his in laws said they were store bought. I didn't see them, but apparently they tasted just just store bought tomatoes. It could be just the bad year, but they thought so many people are having a terrible year that they put out store bought tomatoes for 3.00/lb. The "tomatoes on the vine" locally are about 1.49/lb at a local market so if that is what they did it was good profit, lol. I am sure you can tell a garden tomato, but for those really looking for local in season tomatoes, if you are not sure, I would ask, esp. if they look too much like the ones in the store, lol. By the way, 4.75 more inches of rain in my gauge today. Starting to see some yellowing leaves and probably early blight, but I will spray again soon and see if I can keep it under control. Fingers crossed. I am going to start stopping at any farm stands/farmers markets I see to scout for the good stuff.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 12:11AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

You are not Alone , complaining about the weather !.

This is my first year gardening in the PNW(Seattle area).
We have been having the most gorgeous weather IF YOU WERE VACATIONING here but not gardening.

Although it is not rain season here yet, but temperatures are pretty cool. LOW ~57F .. HIGH ~ 77F. We have had 54- 67Fdays in July.

So far I have picked a handful from Early Girl,( which was planted in mid May with several fruits and lots of flowers).
the rest were also planted in mid May(Mostly small fruits). Some are breaking color. The largest fruit on my Black Krim is smaller than a walnut. The plant itself is huge with thick main and branches. I wonder if it will ripen any tomato.

But I have couple of surprises: SWEET-N-NEAT dwarfs. They are cherry type and loaded and have started ripening.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 1:20AM
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It's nice to know that it wasn't just something I did wrong, but I'm sorry so many are suffering too. I've been growing tomatoes for nearly 30 years (wow, can't believe I'm that old) and I can't remember a year this bad. I usually can tomatoes as well, and this year the only ones I'll be putting up I'll be buying from the local Amish farmer or the orchard -- I just don't have enough on my vines even though I've got 25 (sickly) plants.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 7:44AM
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Got about that much rain here too yesterday. Snuck out during a lull and took the kids to Bradley Bowl - their parking lot had 3" of standing water!

I haven't walked out to check the main garden, most of the Burpee tomatoes look OK, got 1 bent/cracked stem, others just look bent, going to tie them up (and cage the peppers that are leaning, pick huge cukes and squash that sized up fast since Wed). This can't have done the edamame any good (it was almost ready), or the foliar diseases I've been getting on the heirlooms. Oh well, at least we won't have to water for the rest of the month!

Volunteer tomato by the compost bin door has now grown under and is popping up in the back corner. I told DH a month ago I wanted to wait to see if they were spitters (not sure if it was from OP seed or hybrid), but no ripe fruit on it either.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 8:31AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Well...the worst year ever was losing everything to late blight 5 years ago, but this is probably second place. Large tomatoes are definitely 3 weeks behind schedule. Have only had 1 ripe Cherokee Purple. The smaller tomatoes like Stupice and Black cherry have been doing ok.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 11:42AM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Misery loves company, right, lol? Thanks for commiserating, anyway. :)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 2:19PM
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Sue - I saw color on a few Grandma Mary's today! There IS hope for ripe tomatoes this year!!!

We didn't get the blight in 2008, of course then we just had a few cherry tomato plants on the south side of the house, didn't haul the rocks out and amend the soil for the big garden (that turned into a market garden) until 2009.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Worst tomato year ever here. My 2 favs are Cherokee Purple and Pink Brandywine and both are already 80% dead. Even the spare store bought German Johnson and Purple Prince I planted are now dead. Usually at this time I'm picking about 10 tomatoes a day, right now it's maybe 1 poorly looking tomato per day from dying plants. Stink bugs are eating up what little are left. Early & late blight here with a viral disease mixed in. I put the blame on constant wet plants from rain. rain, rain, and probably some contaminated compost that didn't get hot enough. But I do see many gardens in the neighborhood where the tomato plants are as pathetic looking as mine. No chow-chow this year :(

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 4:42PM
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I'm lucky this year in the mid-Hudson Valley. I'm fairly close to the river, wonder if that moderated some of the heat and cold. And I'm growing in brand new beds, so no diseases (yet!) or bugs, even on the heirlooms. Very heavy fruiting, though the recent cool weather has slowed ripening, and the rains have created some splitting (not bad). I'm starting to get Mr Stripey, Black Krim, Brandywine. Mortgage Lifter should be ready in the next few days. Gardening is such a local thing, isn't it?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Here in Charlotte, NC, we have had really cloudy and rainy days since early March... It rains almost every day, and the clouds seem to be always haunting us.
Around here, there has not been enough sun to set fruit on my tomatoes squash or peppers. Most of my 40 plants are gone! I got early blight the earliest I ever got it and then the late blight came on and finished them off. Going to take the winter season off from gardening and taking this time to do some maintenance on my tomato staking and my weed control.
Just the worst gardening year for me in over 15 years.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 6:58AM
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I've picked 2 BK (ripened inside) and 2CP, 2 Grandma Mary's (but 1 seems to be softening without really ripening), multiple Latah (but the plants aren't setting any more), and a 16 oz cup of cherries (off 10-11 plants - I forget now if I snuck an extra SS100 in). A few Chadwick's cherries that are too large for cherries (crossed, saved seed) but all have concentric cracking. Have Rutgers, BW, Rose de Berne on the vines (Rose de Berne looks esp. healthy and prolific), but haven't picked any and Grandma is loaded but not turning. Oh, picked a few Cosmonaut too just starting to blush, would have left them a little longer but I watered since we hadn't had any rain since those 5 inches 10 days ago, and I didn't want them to crack. Still nothing off the Burpee plants but those and the volunteer cherry are the healthiest looking though they get less sun. Rose and SS100 don't look bad, neither do the leftover BW, Rutgers, CP I put in the row with my beans, but the CV, some of the Grandmas, and everything in 1 long row (2nd year growing tomatoes there, maybe I should have rotated) looks pretty bad. I thought I saw stem lesions on 1 Monday, didn't get out there yesterday to pull it (back to school shopping) but will have to do more cleanup today - may pull the entire row (app 50 plants). I'm afraid it may be late blight since it's been reported in the state.

I thought the bush beans were about over (and hadn't been very productive) but they were full on Monday, the pole beans are coming in too, so after watering (by hand) I spent a couple of hours picking green beans and edamame, no time to clean up the tomatoes.

The yellow squash and cukes are doing well this year - zucchini not so much (SB and SVB). But I only sold 1 lb of green beans, 2 yellow squash, half my cukes and no edamame last week at market, so I'm not even going back until (unless) I have tomatoes. This may be the year that puts me out of business. Everybody wants tomatoes and corn, and I don't grow corn.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 7:16AM
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Pretty bad for me, As many have mentioned, plants are at least 3 weeks behind schedule. I have some great big greens on the plants but have been fighting late blight infection for almost 3 weeks now and it's getting worse. I am lucky to have had it be sunny and dry for about 2 weeks here but I still have to pick off a ton of leaves every day. My plants are probably down to 50% or less foliage and I am removing bigger loads every time out (3 times per day).

I am hoping to get some of the really big fruit off the plants as soon as they break, and I hope it's in the next couple days. I'm starting to get more and more fruit with the blight spots and I feel any day now we are going to get a thunderstorm that sends the blight into overdrive and forces me to pull any greens off the plants and rip em out.

I have gotten about 40-50 Lbs of tomatoes off the plants so far (36 plants) but it's not looking good for the near future.

I'm having a great time with pumpkins, squash, watermelons, cucumbers, onions, beets, kale, pole beans, carrots, peas, peppers and pretty much everything else in the garden to this point.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:47PM
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Filled a kitchen trash bag with the diseased foliage off 1 row (not the full row, have 8 pepper plants in there too looking ok). And I HAD been taking the foliage off the Cosmonaut Volkov, occasionally pruning the others, so it's not like it was a jungle. If anything's a jungle, it's the volunteer (see pic above) and the hybrids near the house I haven't pruned at all, but those are healthy. I'm really thinking V. wilt or F. wilt since petioles are yellow, some leaves are just dry and crispy, but the thing is the leaves are spotted. I had seen Early Blight down in the main garden, don't know if it will do this as it progresses but the Krims have had leaf roll all summer (not too many spotted/yellow leaves on those though), and saw the Purples looking wilted before the rain and they haven't perked up. Probably multiple diseases going on out in the field. But what I thought were stem lesions scraped off with fingernail so maybe not late blight.

I still have to go out tomorrow and pick leaves off the full row of tomatoes - maybe pull some. All the plants in that row are looking bad.

I stopped at organic farm (didn't go to market today) and they had Mountain Fresh but not many other tomatoes - unless they took them to market. Owner said he's been selling heirlooms b/c that's all people want but then he also said he lost a lot of tomato plants in June.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:34PM
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It definitely must be from too much rain because the rain here shut off in early July & this is our best tomato crop or 1 of the best. There have been many,many.I have 56 quarts of whole tomatoes canned & 40 qts of juice.Today hubby picked these from 1 Big Boy plant. There are 2 more dishpans full. Don't know what to do with them.
Rose Iowa

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 6:29PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

I know what you can do with them, send them out here! I picked my first 2 ripe Sophies Choice a week ago and used both for my first tomato and basil sandwich of the year and boy was it good! I went to write in my garden journal when the first ripe tomato of this year was ready, and saw that my entry for the next day one year earlier was that I had just finished canning 14 Quarts! I am over a month behind, but at least I have a small crop starting. A couple of days ago I had my 3rd tomato, a KB that I used for my first fresh tomato and basil pizza of the year. YUM. I have my 4th tomato, the first Mortgage lifter, I will either use for my first fresh "salsa for one", lol, or a tomato sandwich tomorrow. I am planning the use of each one carefully! I pick at first blush to make sure no critters get one. But at least they taste wonderful so far, not mealy or watery as I had feared, but I confess I have only watered once or twice all season. Some disease, I picking off leaves, but not horrible. I will probably try to spray this weekend to keep them going until most of this small crop can ripen.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:39PM
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I've got quite a few ripening on the counter now, may bring some to market on Wed, but Grandma Mary's seem to be getting BER (I know, inconsistent watering but with these alternating monsoons and drought weeks what you going to do?). The Chadwick crosses are all cracked, CP seem to have stink bug damage so Cosmonaut is about all I have that are marketable and those plants are quickly becoming defoliated so though they're loaded with fruit I don't know how long they're going to last. Rose de Berne and the Burpee hybrids are loaded and look great, Grandma Mary's has tons (if we can avoid BER from now on), I hope the weather holds so they ripen by Labor Day (or early Sept) but this year is nowhere near as good as last year (even with the drought), just a late start with June rains, lots of blossom drop during July so not much fruit set and a short season up here in the hills.

I'm giving up on the cherries - GD are dying, SS100 look OK but even the fruit that looks ripe tastes bitter - literally spit 1 out the other day! Maybe another Burpee mislabel since some also seem larger than they should be.

I've got a couple BK, CP, and those crosses that are developing mold in the cracks so they will be used today. Won't have enough for canning this year even if disease wasn't an issue (don't want to can fruit from diseased plants, could be higher in pH). Last year this time I was just starting to bring heirlooms to market but I had a LOT (tubs full, wish I'd taken pix) - in Sept I was even wholesaling them to 2 different stores I had so many.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 9:03AM
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