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Old 07-24-2005, 07:56 PM   #1
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Year of home grown tomato problems?

Okay, our tomatoes are just now beginning to ripen enough to harvest, however, they look horrible, so bad we feel like pulling them all out and just giving up on them for this season. The plants themselves look wonderful, as they have from the start. They are huge and full of tomatoes. However, the tomatoes themselves have this white looking, speckled pulp just under the skin. The insides also are kind of mushy, even though they are no where near being too ripe as the tops around the stem are just barely turning red. The skin is also tough. We have a similar situation going on with our one grape tomato plant. My husband had checked the soil pH prior to planting and, at my suggestion, checked it again today to see if that was the culprit, but the soil is in the perfect range. We garden organically, so nothing foreign has been added to the soil. They are not planted in an area where tomato plants previously grew. They are in tomato cages, so very few tomatoes are ripening on the ground. We did have a very cool Spring and it took a while for all our garden plants to "take off", but, once they got going, everything's been pretty good, except for this devastating tomato situation. There were also some multiple days of rain. Lately, however, our weather has been hot, hot and more hot, just the type of weather tomato plants knowingly thrive on. Does anyone have any possible ideas as to what is causing this and/or what, if anything, can be done to turn this around into a successful crop. There are still plenty, plenty of green tomatoes remaining so if we could halt this mess, there could still be lots of tomatoes left. I sincerely hope some other avid and/or experienced gardener can help us. My husband and I will be very anxiously awaiting anyone's input. Thanks so much.

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Old 07-24-2005, 08:50 PM   #2
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This year's weather has been horrid for crops; as you said, a cool spring (great for cukes, not for 'maters!), then tons of rain and now hot, hot, hot and no rain (at least here in Charleston, SC). The crops are suffering, as are the farmers.


Funny thing in my yard, tho - my tomatoes are doing badly, almost all gone by now anyway (tomato season here on the coast is pretty much June -mid-July). However - I had a 'volunter' come up in a pot where I had a little baby olive tree (huge pot, the tree's only about a foot tall); and being too lazy and kindhearted to pull it out, I"ve just left it alone to see what it would do - well. It's 'vining' all over the place, and there are tons of gorgeous grape tomatoes all over it - go figure!
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Old 07-30-2005, 11:15 PM   #3
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When it comes to questions like this, if you haven't mentioned where you're from (I guess some here know where you live, Cats, but it isn't out there) it's hard to answer some questions. Not that I'd know the answer anyway. I have the opposite problem. My tomato plants are gorgeous, and while I do have some problems with my plums grown in containters, my early girls in the ground are doing great. HOWEVER, I really, really wanted to grow some heirloom lemon cucumbers (a childhood memory), I got beautiful vines, beautiful flowers, but no fruit. THey're about to swallow up my peppers, so guess I'll give up the ghost and tear them out. I, too, think it is weather. We had a very late winter followed by a very hot summer, without quite the spring we usually have had (I've only lived here 4 years). I think I'll get a good crop of tomatoes, but am debating the value of leaving the cuke vines there, hoping against hope that they will set fruit when the weather cools.
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Old 07-30-2005, 11:31 PM   #4
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Ditto what Claire said - not knowing where you live really puts the brakes on anyone being able to give you an educated answer.

Break out your phone book and look under the listings for County Government Offices. Every state has a Department of Agriculture - and they usually have an "extension office" in either every county or one office that serves several surrounding counties. If you can't find it listed in the phone book - there should be a county government offices information number - call and ask them for the number for your county ag dept office. These are the folks who can answer your question the best.

My son and his wife are having a bumper crop this year!
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Old 07-31-2005, 04:22 PM   #5
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FtW, thanks for reminding me that we're supposed to be helping here. I can't count the number of times I've called the county (sometimes associated with a local university) extension office in many states. They give a good local answer to a local growing problem. They often have a master gardener program that is great to take if you have the time (I wanted to, but ours is in the winter, at locations an hour drive away. Duh. Don't like driving that much period, especially not in the snow), and in our area, some seminars.

Also don't overlook asking the older ladies and gents in your neighborhood. Once an extension agent gave me a couple of name brand fertilizers and insecticides that would make my hibiscus bloom again (beautiful plants, flowers fell off right after budding). It worked, but then I visited an older friend on Maui and commented on her gorgeous blooms. She laughed that the only thing she did was water the thing with the basin she washed dishes in, dumped it right over the plants. She honestly had no idea she was killing the little bugs that eat the tender blossoms! She was just saving water by using it. Although the extension's solution worked, I just stuck a little dish detergent in my hose end feeder (that I'd bought for the products recommended) and ... voila! Here I think nothing of stopping to chat with someone I see out working in their garden and asking them questions as I walk through town.

Extensions and seniors. Can't beat them.
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Old 08-01-2005, 07:33 AM   #6
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Thanks to those of you who replied to my tomato problem post. My husband and I live in Delaware for those who asked. Anyhow, recently we had the State Fair going on here and we asked someone with an agricultural booth about our tomatos. The conclusion is that we have been attacked by "stink bugs". They are these nasty little triangular shaped, light brown colored bugs. When they bite on the plant and/or tomato, there is no noticeable damage, but they leave some kind of poison in the plant/fruit. We were told they have been a terrible problem this year for the crops. The only solution is to spray an insecticide on the plants. We basically grow organically, but will just have to make an exception with these little bugs. My husband sprayed the plants and we are hoping that all the remaining green tomatoes will ripen without damage. Hope we don't end up poisoned ourselves.
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