It’s a good thing my husband and I love all the tomatoes we’ve been harvesting, with dinnerplates full every evening since June, and thankfully more keep coming! But there are “issues” that have occurred since the beginning of the season that I thought I’d review with you in case you may have observed and worried about them as well.
First, assurance that they’re annoying but not devastating, and usually a one-time occurrence that’s avoidable.
Ugly patterning usually on the bottom of the fruit. Caused by incomplete pollination due to wet blossoms. Trim away only when severe enough to interfere with enjoying the flesh.
Blossom End Rot
Dried-up end of the fruit where the blossom was. Caused by calcium deficiency due to drying up of cells at the furthest point of the plant being deprived of moisture, usually when weather turns suddenly hot and irrigation water isn’t supplied quickly enough. Just trim off the discolored area.
Some critter took some bites, but the tomato flesh calloused over so no decay occurred. Just trim the calloused area.
Flesh develops unevenly – sometimes entertainingly – due to incomplete pollination.
When fruit sets without sufficient foliage cover, the fruit burns where the sun shines so intensely. In our climate, with its clear skies and bright sun and dry air, we need to encourage tomato plants to develop as much foliage as possible to protect the many fruit wherever they develop.
Dried bottom leaves
The older bottom leaves dry up and shrivel when they’ve completed their function and the younger foliage higher up on the plant takes over.
No New Blossoms
When air temperatures rise above about 90 degrees – certainly 95 degrees, as has been the case for a couple of weeks – blossoms stop setting. They’ll resume setting once the air temperatures have lowered to below 85 degrees for a couple of weeks. Potentially, this may mean a good month during mid-summer when we’ll have no new blossoms to set fruit. This is why it’s particularly advisable to encourage early-season growth to blossom and set fruit that’ll continue to ripen through this “fallow” no-blossom period.
Whole Plants Dying
“Determinant” varieties like Celebrity and Ace grow a compact height, produce their fruit, and then die; nothing you do will extend their lives. “Indeterminant” varieties like Sungold and Cherokee Purple bear and keep growing until killed by frost or neglect.
LOTS OF BEANS AND CUCUMBERS
Besides the plentitude of tomatoes, our beans and cucumbers are beginning to overload us with their delicious progeny.
YAY FOR GROWING VEGGIES!
I do love checking the prices at the store and farmers market for the “gourmet” versions of whatever’s plentiful in my garden. There’s nothing quite like feeling so proud about serving something that would cost an amazing amount of money if I had to buy it – which I wouldn’t of course – to say nothing of having the quantity and quality of goodness that our garden produced, being able to enjoy it for weeks on end, and salvaging all the “imperfect” produce that would never be available commercially but that makes for our extremely healthy eating and enjoyment!