Tomatoes 2021

Zeedman

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Just a quick tomato update.

All of the tomatoes in the rural garden are stunted (along with nearly everything else growing there) due to waterlogged soil. Really sad, given that they had an early start, and were growing strong - before the 12"+ of rain in the last month. At this point, I'm just hoping to get enough from those varieties to renew my seed stocks. :( The tomatoes at home, with better drainage, are growing normally.

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Elfin, a determinate open-pollinated grape tomato. The branches terminate in huge flower clusters, so in spite of their short stature, the production is as high as many indeterminate cherry types. DW just picked the first ripe ones a few days ago.

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A new trial this year, "Purple", from SSE. There plants are MONSTERS!!! Almost 4' tall already. I don't normally sucker tomatoes, but I've suckered this one rather heavily once, and it already needs to be suckered again. Lots of tomatoes forming.
 

ducks4you

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@Zeedman , I notice that you also use metal fenceposts. I REALLY like the plastic tops where you have threaded a pipe. What are those?
Phone is downstairs, I am Upstairs in my office, BUT, I will post pictures soon. This year is the Best I have ever done tying up and pruning tomatoes. Lost 3 beefsteaks this year. In 2020, I had to throw away nearly 50 rotten tomatoes in August. I said, "never again," and spent the winter studying up. My 2021 tomatoes have Lots of airflow, are set about 4 ft rows apart, and the only problem is "when will the nearly 100 of them decide to blush and ripen?"
Yesterday, I went back and weeded the first planted row--I started north and moved south--then tilled in between, laid down Preen right around the main stalks, like I Should have done there to begin with, and put down straw.
Why not?!?! I have 12 bales I didn't use the in the stalls last year. Gave away 2 bales to a friend for her vegetable garden, but judging by her weeds, she didn't weed first. Oh, well, it will compost well in her garden, and in mine, when I prep for next year.
I used chicken wire this year. I have a LOT of it.
In 2019 I used up the last of the cattle fencing, but then I repaired what was missing between my yard and neighbors. I have my eye on a 100 ft roll of 6 ft tall livestock fencing. Usually, ON BLACK FRIDAY, there is a 6 hr window on 1/2 priced stuff at the local livestock stores. I plan to buy a roll of it then.
I have to inspect my tomatoes to be sure that none are getting cut in 1/2 by the chicken wire.
Yesterday was the first day that I needed to water this row.
I Finally got my last 8 beefsteak tomatoes planted, and, of the course the fencing put up first, yesterday. I had volunteers growing from where I had buried the rotten tomatoes last year. Not a Clue as to Which kind they are, but I needed to raid the volunteers for replacements. Both replacements survived the transplanting. I had the others to transplant growing in a whiskey barrel planter. Tossed one that looked weak.
Now, 40 beefsteak tomato plants in the ground.
Funny, for planting all tomatoes I have been digging 12 inch holes, laying down horse manure at the bottom before planting, knowing that their roots would take weeks to reach this fertilizer. For THIS last row I had a bucket from where I had harvested potatoes last year, with some old straw, and had sat out in the rain. It totally stunk, but I figured it made good fertilizer, a lot like compost tea.
 
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Zeedman

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@Zeedman , I notice that you also use metal fenceposts. I REALLY like the plastic tops where you have threaded a pipe. What are those?
The pole caps are 1.25" PVC T's, as used in plumbing. They fit perfectly over the top of a T-post, and hold the rod, pipe, or conduit centered over the post. For the top, I use lengths of 3/8" or 1/2" rebar rod (the 1/2" is for trellising heavier things like cucumbers, squash, or heavy tomatoes). Together, this enables a strong, straight top support for the trellis. I ordered 100 T's, at bulk discount, and have only broken 2 since I began using them 15 years ago.

This system easily adjusts to any length by over-lapping the rods, and I have never had a trellis blown down.
 

digitS'

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Bloody Butcher will be one of my very earliest
Okay, there has been one.

I suppose that it isn't surprising that @ninnymary reports different tomato growing behavior with her tomatoes because of cool coastal weather and that my tomatoes are so unproductive, in however I should describe this Wild West weather here in the interior of the Pacific Northwest. (On that recent record day, it was several degrees higher here than in Death Valley, about 1000 miles south, as the buzzards fly, and about a half mile lower elevation :(.)

I see that picture of @Zeedman 's garden and think how amazingly few flowers there are on my tomatoes. This is looking like a very bad year for production. How much/little has changed from the bountiful 2020 season! The plants are in nearly the same place in the garden. It was drought conditions in 2020 :hu.

The 4 backyard, potted tomatoes are now very tall! They have the cheap cages with 3 tall stakes each. Few ripe tomatoes, few developing, few flowers, no Bloody Butcher plant.

Steve
 

flowerbug

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Okay, there has been one.

I suppose that it isn't surprising that @ninnymary reports different tomato growing behavior with her tomatoes because of cool coastal weather and that my tomatoes are so unproductive, in however I should describe this Wild West weather here in the interior of the Pacific Northwest. (On that recent record day, it was several degrees higher here than in Death Valley, about 1000 miles south, as the buzzards fly, and about a half mile lower elevation :(.)

I see that picture of @Zeedman 's garden and think how amazingly few flowers there are on my tomatoes. This is looking like a very bad year for production. How much/little has changed from the bountiful 2020 season! The plants are in nearly the same place in the garden. It was drought conditions in 2020 :hu.

The 4 backyard, potted tomatoes are now very tall! They have the cheap cages with 3 tall stakes each. Few ripe tomatoes, few developing, few flowers, no Bloody Butcher plant.

Steve

super hot, super dry and smokey conditions don't really favor pollination without some kind of help (drenching cooling water once in a while) and when there are few flowers you have to give every one of those blooms some attention (ding them in the morning, ding them in the evening, ding them at supper time...).
 

ducks4you

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Best tomato year for me!!! :weee :weee :weee
BETTER BE!! I have spent more hours fencing and tying than I EVER did in the past!!
DH is VERY HAPPY!!
Since only one came in before August, we resorted to buying from a farm stand on Wednesdays close to the office.
DH says the taste doesn't compare to mine, so I am pleased.
I have notice that the tomato problems come very early in fruiting. Still, not that many that I have had to toss, and they are going into the compost. (No new chickens, yet. :hit.)
My beefsteak are almost ALL hybrids. I am NOT saving their seeds, since I bought about 10 packages of tomato seeds from High Mowing. I have them stored dark and dry and they will keep for 2022.
I still need to get my Romas in the ground. Some are starting to set fruit in their pots. Oh, well...
 

digitS'

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the tomatoes were not the kind i'm used to processing, they were hard even if they looked ripe. they processed very easy. the problem i had with them was that they pretty much tasted like grocery store tomatoes. for sure we won't be growing these again.
Moved this FlowerBug post since my question had to do with tomato varieties

Are those the Big Beef that you said you are growing this season? About a week ago, you noted that the tomatoes were having trouble from the weather. I think you referred to it as a "struggle." Does that include this variety?

This is the first year in many that I have no Big Beef in the garden. They were always my sure-fire beefsteak. I do prefer some of my heirlooms for flavor (no canning here) but absolutely all of my nice, big plants are having a real struggle to produce fruit in 2021.

I understand that 95°f is something of a boundary that once the weather crosses, tomatoes have problems with fruit setting. We had way, way too many of those days.

Steve
 

flowerbug

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Moved this FlowerBug post since my question had to do with tomato varieties

Are those the Big Beef that you said you are growing this season? About a week ago, you noted that the tomatoes were having trouble from the weather. I think you referred to it as a "struggle." Does that include this variety?

yes, only the one variety planted this year. last year we had two varieties and both of them did ok aside from our normal disease issues which i'm ok with letting do what it does.

last year we had a huge tomato worm infestation. this year i've had much less of a problem, but also growing 1/3 of the plants - so that's ok...

i should have also mentioned that the normal for this time of the year is a pretty heavy morning dew and often foggy until about 8-9am.

This is the first year in many that I have no Big Beef in the garden. They were always my sure-fire beefsteak. I do prefer some of my heirlooms for flavor (no canning here) but absolutely all of my nice, big plants are having a real struggle to produce fruit in 2021.

I understand that 95°f is something of a boundary that once the weather crosses, tomatoes have problems with fruit setting. We had way, way too many of those days.

Steve

the struggle is not production but disease. the plants all have a lot of tomatoes on them so we're well within average production here in spite of the really hot weather. in the past weeks we did have some cooler spells so i'm sure that helped, but also we have tons of native bees working all of the blooms when they happen. i'm very happy to see them. :)

i wonder if the greenhouse got the wrong seeds or something. i don't know. since we have not grown Big Beef before i just have noticed that these are the first time we've had such nice looking tomatoes, but the quality ends pretty much at looks. i'll for sure mention this to the greenhouse guy at some point but i'm not the one who normally talks to him since i don't get out much. Mom probably won't want to say anything.

the general problem with disease pressure here is that it doesn't matter what i've tried to do before to prevent it or to make it less and of course the weather changes year to year so you're not always sure which factors are dominating any one season. i do know that in the past years we've had better resistance from other varieties, but last year and this year the resistance has been poor, disease started early. it hasn't stopped production, the plants are still putting on new fruits and have some green new leaves growing, it's just that at least half the leaves are gone already too. normally the plants don't reach this level of decrepitude until September, so three weeks earlier than "normal" for us. also note that these tomatoes were grown in a garden that hadn't had tomatoes for a long enough time that disease pressures should have been moderated.
 

digitS'

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This is how the Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative has it for Big Beef:

"Resistance: verticillium wilt race 1, fusarium wilt races 1 and 2, alternaria stem canker, gray leaf spot, nematodes, tobacco mosaic virus. Similar: Better Boy, Beefmaster. 1991." LINK

It may help to compare common diseases for your location.

Steve
 

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