when's them 'maters 'coming back?

daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)October 6, 2013

Here in HZ10, I have abundant harvests of tomatoes in May, June, and July, and usually let the plants fry in August and September. This year, spurred on from advice here, I kept them alive, hoping for a fall harvest. The (indetermniate) plants are in pretty good shape now with lots of new green branches. It's been below 95F for a few weeks now, but no sign of any flowers. The first annual "gift from Canada" has just arrived, so if there were any flowers they'd certainly be setting. When are the flowers coming back? What do I need to do to encourage them to do so? I'd rather not wait until December to get more fruit!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Nutrients. Low N, high P feeding back about early Sept. would have helped. Try one now.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 10:33AM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Thanks. I'm a little reluctant to add P because our native soils (alkaline, on top of limestone) have quite a lot. I haven't done a soil test in a number of years, but when I did the P came out pretty high, and I just keep adding compost, which is only going to make it higher.

I will certainly not add N, as I don't need more green.

In fact, looking closely, I'm starting to see some really tiny flower buds. It'll be several weeks before they open. I'm just a little surprised that the plants just quit flowering entirely during the worst of the heat. I always thought they would continue flowering, but the fruit just wouldn't set. Guess not. The plants must be smart enough to figure that if the fruit isn't going to set, why waste energy making flowers.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:01AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The timing on nutrient availability can be crucial. Especially for maintaining blooming ability. But as long as you have an active soil micro herd to convert the compost to nutrients it should be sufficient.

But the big IF is soil pH. If your soil pH is out of substantially out of whack then you can have all the nutrients in the world in the soil but the plants can't use them. Again a steady diet of compost should prevent that assuming sufficient bacterial activity to work on it.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 1:29PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Thanks. Good advice. There has been plenty of applied compost and dug-in mulch over the years, so I think I'm OK. Also, as noted, these tomatoes at this location produce strongly in the spring. I've just never tried going for fall production.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 1:44PM
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qaguy

I'm in SoCal and have heard about late crops in my
area too. I've tried a few times, but never have gotten
anything worth the effort to keep the plants going.

I do manage to keep them going through late Sep, but
it's fruit that set earlier in the year, not new fruit set.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 3:31PM
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