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mortgage lifter crash and burn

Posted by njitgrad 6A/6B New Jersey (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 8:44

In the past week my mortgage lifter went from being as healthy as can be to needing life support. Branches started wilting and yellowing quickly. See below for what it looks like after I cut away the completely wilted foliage. I still have a good amount of fruit on the lower part of the plant but no new blooms up top. I picked two that were blushing two days ago and they're turning pink whereas I was expecting them to ripen to a red color. This is my first season with this variety, so is this a common fate?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

ML is a pink variety, not a red variety, and always has been.

What happened is not related to the variety. It can happen to any variety plant if not well supported.

Based on the photos it would appear to have been a support-related collapse at the joint of the primary and secondary stems. Fairly common in beefsteaks where the weight of the fruit pulls down the stem causing an injury at the joint and cuts off circulation to the whole stem.

There is another stem that is close to collapse in your last pic that needs some attention to prevent it from happening again. You need to get some of that fruit weight supported upwards so that stem joint doesn't shut down.

Dave


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

I am growing one ML. It is one of the aggressively growing tomato plants. Even with pruning, it gets real tall and big.
So in a container, in hot days it will need lot of water to support all that foliage. Wilting , especially the lower leaves is a good indication of moisture deficiency. As this repeats, eventually those leaves will turn yellow and die.

So what you do or can do is to water more frequently AND that can leads to another problem, Nitrogen deficiency, as indicated by light green foliage.

So what I do is to water with added fertilizer (@ 1/4 to 1/2 strength every other time).


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

I've been dousing the container every three days but I guess that's not enough for this plant. The other six plants (not MLs) to the right of this one don't seem to complain.

If I'm using 5-1-1 I shouldn't have any nitrogen deficiency, right? I made the mix in early May and it should last for 4 months, right?

I would tend to agree with Dave regarding the pressure on the branches due to the heavy fruit. When I was cutting the dead branches off I could see where the choke points were. They must have gotten past me even though I vigilantly check all of my plants every morning, every lunch break, and every evening. However the things I'm typically looking for are branches sticking out of the cages that I need to tie up. It's usually to hard to see inside the cage for potential problems.

Any unique suggestions on how to better handle large fruit varieties like the ML when it comes to supporting them using the cages that I use? Perhaps adding in a tall thin stake for each main branch and tying it to that stake as it grows within the cage? I get the feeling there's just too much wiggle room within the cage though these cages are considerable smaller than the Texas tomato cages.

Oh, and lastly I'm confused about the color of the ML. According to most photos I've seen, it appears red to me:

This post was edited by njitgrad on Wed, Jul 23, 14 at 9:36


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 23, 14 at 12:08

There are many different sub-sets of the Mortgage Lifter family - 25 of them according to Seed Savers Exchange a d tatianastomatobase.com lists 17. They are sold under different names:

Mortgage Lifter (Bicolor)
Mortgage Lifter (Red)
Mortgage Lifter (Yellow)
Mortgage Lifter (Halladays)
ML (Estlers)
ML (Quisenberry)
etc
etc

The original and most commonly sold and grown one ML(Radiator Charlies) is pink and when one sees plants or seeds labeled just Mortgage Lifter the odds are 9:1 it is Charlies. Estlers and most all of the others of the 25 or so varieties are also pink unless the different color is part of their name.

Photos can be very misleading as it is difficult in a photoe to catch the nuances of the pink skin. You can go to GoogleImages and pull up 100s of pics of ML and only a few of them are reds. Descriptions tend to be more accurate than photos in this case.

You can also read through the many previous discussions here about ML and its history, color, size, production, and sub-types.

So it depends on where you got the seed but you are clearly growing one of the pink varieties since yours is pink.

As for fruit weight support the easiest thing to do is simply use additional ties of some kind to support the fruit cluster and tie them to the cage like most of us do - all sorts of tomato ties are available - both commercial and home-made. If you carefully lift that weight up so the cage is supporting it rather than the stem the stem will straighten on its own.

Dave


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

If I'm using 5-1-1 I shouldn't have any nitrogen deficiency, right? I made the mix in early May and it should last for 4 months, right?
%%%%%%%%%
I am also using 5-1-1 for my potting plant. At the time of planting added a TBS or 2 of slow release fertilizer per gallon of potting mix. But I fertilize with liquid fertilzer @ about 1/3 strength once a week or so. I don't think those granular CRF provide adequate nutrients for a very long time(May - July = 3 Mos.). And nitrogen deficiency is the first to occur as it leaches out faster because it is readily water soluble. P and K sick around much longer.

I think 5-1-1 is something like hydroponic but in solid medium form. So it has to be fertilized continually at a weak rate. That is what I have been doing.


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

There is one ML that is red and it was bred by Dr. Jeff McCormack when he owned SESE/ I think he also inserted tolerances for V and F but would have to confirm that.

I've grown it and I do think it's a very good variety.

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: ML Red


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Sorry, but I have to disagree and say that your ML plant has some sort of disease/wilt. There is plenty of healthy dark green foliage and also sick foliage. It also started from the ground up. Yes, maybe more water and food would help, but I still think that plant is sick. If it were mine I'd continue to remove the bad foliage and also use a fungicide, and you might be able to save the plant.


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Edweather, it's not clear in the photos but upon closer examination yesterday I realized that the branch with the really bad foliage had suffered at least a 50% abruption from the main stem just about the surface of the growing mix. As Dave indicated (and I agree) the weight of the fruit (due to lack of support) pulling down on the branch caused excess pressure resulting in the abruption. I'm going to allow the fruit on that branch to ripen as much as possible before cutting it off at the main stem.

Seysonn, what do you fertilize your 5-1-1 with? I've never done it so I need to learn.

Dave, thanks for schooling me on the ML varieties. It wouldn't be a good day for me if I didn't learn something new from you. My seeds were from Swallowtail and the description goes:

"A very popular meaty 1 pound pink tomato full of classic beefsteak flavor. The story goes that M.C. Byles of Logan, West Virginia developed and sold this variety to save his farm. Indeterminate."


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Not everyone who reads the story behind the MC Byles one of Logan, WVA believes all that was printed in the SESE catalog when Jeff McCormack,who owned SESE,interviewed him.

It turns out,well,you can read the link below that another ML was developed about 10 years before the Charlie one,

An Estler relative named Edie posts here at GW from time to time.

I've grown the Estler one, just offered it in my annual seed offer elsewhere,my seeds directly from Chuck Wyatt, see the history, Chuck died in 2002 and having grown several other ML versions I think the Estler one is the best, by far,

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: ML ( Estler)


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Seysonn, what do you fertilize your 5-1-1 with? I've never done it so I need to learn.

______________________
First of, I am glad that you've figured out the origin of your problem. I have heard that you can buy tomato support clips from BB stores.

About fertilizing: I added some MG slow release called Shake N Feed to the potting soil before planting, It has both Mg and Ca and its analysis is 16-4-8 (I think)..I also supplement with liquid fertilizer mix in watering can @ about 1/3 strength once a week. This product is also MG, comes in 4-pack green plastic bottles. It has less power than the blue water soluble powder but it is very convenient to use. One 4-pack ( 4 x 32 oz) at about $11. should carry me for the whole season for a total of 50 potted and in ground tomatoes and peppers.


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Seyson, which MG fertilizer do you use?

>


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Seyson, which MG fertilizer do you use?

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
I have not discovered he last one, with tomato/pepper picture on it. That is the best. I am using the one before that.

Probably the last one has also Calcium. That is better.
I have used the yellow container one last year. It has exact same analysis as the 4-pack next to it. 12-4-8.

anytime you see a fertilizer is marketed for tomatoes and peppers, you can be 99% sure that it has Mg and Ca.


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

And I forgot to say above that all pink and red varieties that I've ever grown do start with a pink blush at the bottom, and then as that color works its way up the fruit it either stays pink and ripens pink, or ripens up red.

So you can't predict the final color just based on the color of the blush.

Most yellow varieties and some white ones also have a pink blush at the bottom and for them it usually stays and is also seen with the ripe fruits.

Hope that helps.

Carolyn


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 19:14

Why buy all the pre-diluted MG and pay them for all the added water when you can buy the plain granular water-soluble MG or MG for Tomatoes and use your own water to mix it. 3x-15x the product depending on the size you buy for 1/2 the price.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: MG All Purpose Plant Food


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

To follow up on the MG, the all purpose product has an NPK of 24-8-16. The tomato product has an NPK of 18-18-21. Should we be using a fertilizer for tomatoes that has a 24-8-16. Wouldn't that be too high N. Or is N used up so fast that it requires that high a number if it is liquid.


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Carolyn, as a matter of fact the pink is turning borderline red as they have been ripening the past 2-3 days.

The little guy is an Indigo Apple. The rest are my MLs. Man, I can't wait to devour these slobs.


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Dave, your logic makes sense but it was read too late and I made a hasty decision and ended up buying the Organic Choice MG.


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Just another question on using diluted liquid fertilizer. I am leaving for a four day trip Sunday morning. My plan was to drench my 5-1-1 containers just before I left and not have to worry about it until Thursday (fortunately no heat wave is in sight). Now I need to factor in a feeding with the MG before I go.

Should I add the diluted MG tomorrow (Saturday) and then douse them on Sunday as I planned to? If so, how much diluted mix is recommended for a 20 gallon container of 5-1-1 considering I'll be watering them 24 hours later. Or is this backwards logic?


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

I would just dilute the liquid fert in a watering can, at about 1/2 recommended strength and drench the pot with it on Sunday.
One gallon should be more than enough for each 10gal. pot, IMO.


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 26, 14 at 12:17

Douse with the water first and then feed them with it mixed in a bit more water. When you pour liquid ferts onto dry soil most of it just washes right through. Wet soil holds it in longer. If I remember correctly the directions on most of the liquid ferts say something like water the plant first.

Dave

yolos - first understand I am not recommending using MG fertilizers one way or another. That's your choice. My point was why pay them for water when you can supply your own. That;'s like buying pre-diluted anti-freeze.

But if you choose to use it then yes you are right it is high N but then so is the MG Tomato Fert @ 18. That's why diluting them to 1/2 or even 1/4 strength when using them in liquid form is recommended.

Liquid fert mixes work very differently than granular ones that are mixed in with the soil. It's one thing to mix a dose of 24-8-16 into 4 sq. feet of soil. A different thing entirely to dump a full dose of it in liquid form right on the plant.


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Carolyn, as a matter of fact the pink is turning borderline red as they have been ripening the past 2-3 days.

&&&&

Looks pink to me but do you know how to tell whether or not a fruit is pink or red?

Here's what you do, and you're going to be looking at epidermis colors, a clear epidermis and it's pink, a yellow epidermis and it's red.

Have three fruits in front of you, ripe ones,a known red, a known pink and the fruit in question.

Peel off that thin layer that's on the surface of the known red one and hold it up to the light and see if it's clear or yellow,if it's a known red it should be yellowish. Do the same for the known pink one and the epidermis should be clear.

Finally, now that you know yellow from clear, do the same with your ML and see what color the epidermis is for that one, and I predict pink and why.

Not only does your largest ripe one look pink to me but seeds for the ML red one are not well known and grown. When you look at the link below and click on seed availability youll see only two sources for 2014.

Did you get your seeds from either of those two places, and if not, what was the source of your seeds, that is puchased, if so from where, traded for, or someone shared them with you,

Hope that helps,

Carolyn.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mortgage Lifter Red


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

But if you choose to use it then yes you are right it is high N but then so is the MG Tomato Fert @ 18. That's why diluting them to 1/2 or even 1/4 strength when using them in liquid form is recommended.
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Thanks for the lesson Dave. I have wondered why some say to dilute the liquid fertilizer to 1/2 or 1/4 strength. Now I know why.


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

I'm not trying to steal or turn this thread into a heated debate (I'm well aware it could easily go there) so please don't take it that way..

Just be aware that synthetic ferts absolutely destroy the soil food web and will end up making your gardening experience harder, in time. If you're intrigued by natural techniques towards a more self sustained and thriving garden, then purchase the book "Teaming with Microbes."

With that being said, in my younger days I had good success with a weekly dose of 20-20-20 peters fert (not sure if it's still around) with a tsp of Epsom salt/gal. I fed at the rate of about a tbs/1.5 gals and then switched to a lower N percentage fert once they hit around 3-4'.. Good luck =)

Here is a link that might be useful: Teaming with Microbes

This post was edited by michael723 on Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 10:10


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Michael, about destoying the soil food web.

Before I retired one of the courses I taught was soil Microbiology.

The major problem encountered is that while one can do a smear of soil and look at it under the microscope and determine the numbers/field by calculation, when the same sample is plated on various media to determine how many and what they are, inother words the viable population,there's only about 1/10th that show up.

Which means that we don't know the other 90% or so, and if we don't know that, then we don't have a good idea of what the soil web might be.

So saying that synthetic fertilizers destroy the soil food web, doesn't resonate, at least with me.

The textbook I used was by Elaine Ingham, the known leader of research into soil microbiology and the soil web.

I linked to the wiki info about her but it's not very complete at all, and doesn't even mention her textbooks and what newer additions there might be.

You also linked to her Teaming with Microbe books and I don't know how they might differ in content from the one I used which didn't have that title.

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=elaine+ingham+books

But I do try to keep up on this area as best I can.

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Microbiology


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

Hi Carolyn,

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.. Let me start by saying that Elaine Ingham was one of the pioneers of the soil food web so she's always the go to. She didn't write "Teaming with Microbes" but does include it on her web page (soilfoodweb.com) as a resource. To quote a section of the description: "When we use chemical fertilizers, we injure the microbial life that sustains healthy plants, and thus become increasingly dependent on an arsenal of artificial substances, many of them toxic to humans as well as other forms of life. But there is an alternative to this vicious circle: to garden in a way that strengthens, rather than destroys, the soil food web"

Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis wrote "Teaming..." and a follow up "Teaming with Nutrients." Now if they're endorsed by Elaine I'm sure we can count their work as empirical or at the very least reliable.. An excerpt from chapter 20 (TWM) pg 172 discusses osmotic shock - describing how the high levels of salts in synthetic ferts literally burst the cell walls of soil microbes due to the higher salt concentration of the fert and the natural osmotic response.

It's an excellent read and I'm confident that you'd thoroughly enjoy it.. Be well =)

Here is a link that might be useful: Teaming with Microbes


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RE: mortgage lifter crash and burn

I do use synthesized fertilizer but also use a lot of different manures, compost and other organic amendments along with it. So That should help to keep the microbes happy . -:)
I cannot see the microbes with the naked eye, but I see a lot of earthworms, (mushrooms in the spring) in my garden. So I am not feeling really guilty.


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