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.


Summer Food in Wintry February


16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.

more such winter gardening from Off the Grid News