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Five Common Tomato Problems

BLOSSOM END ROT (watch video) is a black blemish on the underside of the fruit, caused by irregular watering, insufficient water and also lack of calcium. Liming an acid soil helps avoid this disorder.   Video will show how to use one Tums tablet (calcium carbonate) in gallon of water to make a quick spray.

FIVE COMMON TOMATO GROWING PROBLEMS & THEIR REMEDIES: Tomatoes are the favorite vegetable to grow among home gardeners. Here are the five most common problems and the remedies that work (or don't work):

LATE RIPENING. Usually caused by planting a late maturing variety. Many heirloom varieties are naturally late ripening. Planting through black plastic to maintain a warm soil temperature will encourage early ripening. 

 P00R FRUIT SET. This is usually associated with too low or too high a temperature, a range that varies among varieties. The ideal daytime range is between 55F and 80F. Also the cause can be any kind of stress, such as nematode infestation around the roots, or lack of phosphorus (the plant nutrient responsible for flower and fruit formation). Variety selection can also pose yield problems, especially among heirlooms that can be naturally late or poor yielding. Grafting heirloom varieties onto a vigorous rootstock can improve yields of heirlooms. One book about home remedies recommends transferring pollen from one flower to another with a camel's hair brush, but that is not necessary since tomatoes are self-pollinating and require only a gentle breeze to shake up the pollen inside the flower. Note that a determinate (bush) tomato variety will remain compact and ripen its fruit all at one time, whereas an indeterminate (vining) variety can continue setting fruit over an extended period.

BLOSSOM END ROT is a black blemish on the underside of the fruit, caused by irregular watering, insufficient water and also lack of calcium. Liming an acid soil helps avoid this disorder.

SUNSCALD is a pale patch usually on one side of the fruit, caused by harsh sunlight. Avoid by allowing fruit to be shaded by foliage. Cherry tomatoes are less susceptible to both blossom end rot and sunscald.                                          

CRACKING. Some tomato varieties are more susceptible than others . Cracking most commonly occurs to small-fruited varieties like 'Sun Gold' and 'Sweet Million', especially during wet weather. A similar blemish can occur on large fruited tomatoes, called a 'cat face' whereby a zipper-like brown slash runs the length of the fruit or around the blossom end. This is caused by poor pollination, usually from cold weather.

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Drowning In Tomatoes? Try Something Different This Year.

 

If you’re a home gardener about to drowned in tomatoes rolling in off the vines and demanding to be consumed before they go bad, hang on. Here comes a life preserver.


I chop up a small bowlful of fresh very ripe tomatoes, add chopped red onion or scallions, minced garlic, chopped fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil.  I sometimes add Kalamata olives. I make this dish in the morning and let it set on the kitchen table all day. By evening meal time, the flavors have melded nicely, and I serve it over hot cooked spaghetti noodles and top it with fresh grated parmesan for an easy meal on a hot summer day.


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