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Old 02-07-2008, 10:39 AM   #1
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Tomato Talk

It seems I learn something new every year when it comes to growing veggies, etc. This year will be: more cherry tomato plants, less roma plants, more Jersey tomatoes, more bell peppers, some sort of green bean (I like snacking on those and the cherry tomatoes when I'm working in the yard). I plan on giving lettuce another go, along with squash and zucchini.

Herbs will be the usual: Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Chives, Coriander. I still didn't buy a Laurel Bay yet.

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Old 02-07-2008, 03:55 PM   #2
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Jeekinz I got a European Tomato press from Lee Valley Tools (leevalley.com) last year and having used it in 07 I am going with more romas, no beef steak, fewer cherry and changing to Better boys. I tried the supersonics and didn't like the shape or color of the fruit. I see you are in Jersey I'm in Pa just across the river in Bucks county.
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Old 02-07-2008, 04:08 PM   #3
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Jeekinz I got a European Tomato press from Lee Valley Tools (leevalley.com) last year and having used it in 07 I am going with more romas, no beef steak, fewer cherry and changing to Better boys. I tried the supersonics and didn't like the shape or color of the fruit. I see you are in Jersey I'm in Pa just across the river in Bucks county.
For some reason my Romas came out 'mealey'. My cherry tomatoes and Jersey's were excellent. Any idea on the Romas?

I've purchased alot of woodworking tools from Lee Valley. Great quality.
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Old 02-07-2008, 04:11 PM   #4
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We call Early Girls Jersey's
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:05 PM   #5
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Jeekinz without poking in the dirt and seeing the plants I would guess on two factors that could influnce mealyness. First check your soil pH if that is off the plants fail to pick up the right balance of nutrients to make the cell structure just right. Second factor is moisture fluctuation. The mirco climate around the plants may have been to dry close to time of havest. The plants draw of moiture from the fruit to survive and the texture of the fruit can be mealy as the water is removed. Picture dry or wet spunge cells... There are several varieties of romas I got a different one and had far less blossom end rot!
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:06 PM   #6
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i get the same problem with romas. my cherry tomatoes are great i cant plant enough, i use burpee super sweet 100's. My middle son plants his little chair in the middle of the garden and picks and eats those til they're gone!
I tried one called big mama last year, supposed to be good for sauce, but most had blossom end rot, new garden spot, i'm thinking from what i've read there wasnt enuf calcuim in my dirt ...errrrr... soil.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:13 PM   #7
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Blossom end rot is calcium related you can add lime to the soil or as I remember you can dust the fruit at pink stage to help. Ideally check your soil pH and lime accordingly now. The fruit dusting may be to little to late. BER happens more when soil is to wet so don't over mulch or over water as fruit reaches harvest stage.
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Old 02-08-2008, 07:16 AM   #8
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Come to think of it that was the other problem, we had a very dry summer, until the 2nd week of August, it rained a ton up until october. Mother Nature ruined my tomatoes!
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Old 02-08-2008, 07:57 AM   #9
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jeekinz, oneoffour is right on!
there's 4 basic variables for every year's tomato crop. the amount of rain, the amount of sun/cloudy days, how hot it gets, and of course, your soil.

these things will affect how juicy or mealy your tomatoes will come out. every year is different.

since you can't change the weather, the only things that you have control of are your soil and watering, the latter still being influenced by the weather. i don't know how many times i've counted on rain and not watered the garden, and then of course it doesn't rain. then i water to make up for it, and the skies open up. the dry spell followed by too much water invariably causes cracking.

btw, oneoffour, we love bucks county. we go to new hope and the surrounding area at least once or twice a year.
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:01 AM   #10
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but most had blossom end rot, new garden spot, i'm thinking from what i've read there wasnt enuf calcuim in my dirt ...errrrr... soil.
Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes the plant has a problem utilizing the calcium in the soil, during very wet periods followed by very dry periods or vice-versa. Side dress your plants at first bloom with a small amount of Calcium Nitrate, and every 10 days or so during the growing season. It's not a panacea for blossom end rot, but it really helps.
Sprays are usually not very effective..by the time you see the problem...it's to late.

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Old 02-08-2008, 09:20 AM   #11
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Last year I found a decent spot in my yard where the tomatoes thrived. I planted the romas and Early girls right next to eachother, but did not do anything to the soil. The Early Girls were great.

This year, I was going to build an 'actual' veggie garden since I found the right area. What would you recommend I till in to the soil?

BTW - The reason it took so long was because I fell 2 large trees in my yard to get some sunlight in.
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:20 AM   #12
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you should really get the soil tested, at least for pH, and N-P-K levels.

but without analysis, at least do the clumping test. turn your soil, then grab a handful. if it sticks together in a ball, your soil has too much clay. if it falls apart completely, it's too sandy.

in either case, i would spread a good inch or two of peat moss across the garden and till it in.

a lot of people say to add lime, but that takes a while to become useable, so it's best done in the fall.
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:31 AM   #13
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We've got extremely sandy soil in my area. Last year when we made the newer garden, we took it down 12 inches, filled it back up with half black dirt and half compost and tilled it all together. It worked pretty well, needs more compost I think, and time.
I also read the you can sprinkle some eggshells in the hole when you plant the tomatoes, for calcium. I've been saving them all winter, and eating alot of omlettes!
This summer I hope to re-start the compost pile, the eggshells will then go there.
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Old 02-09-2008, 11:44 AM   #14
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We have tons of clay here (just a river apart suziquzie but such different soil!) so we dumped lots of sand into our garden spot along with manure. It was a new, old spot so this year we are working on leveling it after we saw where it sank and rose after settling after tilling and water all summer. I have also been saving coffee grounds all winter ... hopefully it all helps!

I would love to try some heirloom tomatoes but we'll see. Not a lot of luck with our romas either jeekinz. One trick we found that really worked well was to hang our cherry tomatoes. I planted 3 plants in hanging baskets off of our shed. They kept producing long after my neighbors who had them in the ground and staked. I got the idea from a wild plant we had while living in Oregon. This little cherry tomato plant started growing in the corner of our yard and we just left it. It sprawled all over the corner and up the fence. We thought hanging in a basket was a similar "experience" for the plant - freedom to just be without the aches and pains of cages or staking.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:07 PM   #15
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This year, I was going to build an 'actual' veggie garden since I found the right area. What would you recommend I till in to the soil?
DH always gets a truckload of manure to till into our veggie and herb gardens.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:06 PM   #16
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JM and Suzi should have just swapped soil with each other, LOL.

The best tomatoes we grew were when we lived in Evanston. It used to be sand dunes there and later was covered with soil. You could still see the rise and fall in the landscape indicating where the dunes had piled up. Turned out great veggies, but while it was nice and sandy it wasn't overly sandy either but rather just about the right mixture of black dirt and sand.
When we moved here to Cicero, we added sand in some places to improve the soil there, but the thing that has proven the best for our soil has been the prairie plants. They took some of the worst clayish soil and turned it into rich black dirt.
Which is why I am so eager to start taking parts of it back and expand the veggie and herb gardens!
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:40 PM   #17
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We have a clay soil also. My romas are always my best tomatoes. We have added compost to our soil, as well as manure for years. Whenever I start a new bed, I have a hard time believing how bad the dirt is before it has been amended. The tomatoes I grow seem to benefit from being moved to different areas of the garden every year. Left in the same place they never do as well.
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Old 02-15-2008, 09:53 AM   #18
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We have a clay soil also. My romas are always my best tomatoes. We have added compost to our soil, as well as manure for years. Whenever I start a new bed, I have a hard time believing how bad the dirt is before it has been amended. The tomatoes I grow seem to benefit from being moved to different areas of the garden every year. Left in the same place they never do as well.
I heard they pull all the nutrients from the surrounding soil, so it's better to move around.
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Old 02-15-2008, 10:27 AM   #19
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I heard they pull all the nutrients from the surrounding soil, so it's better to move around.
Well, that's why they need amending every year, with manure or compost or fertilizer. The reason for rotating them around the garden is to prevent disease-causing organisms from the previous year from infecting new plants.

Crop Rotation in the Vegetable Garden
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