Tomatoes for 2023

Branching Out

Deeply Rooted
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it's not the plant i'm trying to rescue but the last few fruits that are still green and look ok, but once the spotting season starts it seems to end up being on all fruits no matter what. they look healthy and green but then they spot like all the rest once they start turning.

the spots are not white, they're brown and then turn black. :( if they are small we can cut them away, but usually they are rapid developing and the fruit spoils.
That is what happens here, when late blight hits. Fortunately for us we have seen less and less tomato blight as our summers have become hotter and drier.
 

Branching Out

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We had almost no rain for four months, and now 1 1/2" in the last week. The Rosella Cherry tomatoes are not phased by this at all; they are still cranking out clusters of up to 30 fruits on 10' tall plants.

And I am getting ready to pull my 'early' cold-tolerant tomato plants. A few days ago I noted that all but one of them have pretty much had it-- the exception being 'Glacier', which is still green and vibrant, and producing many small saladette size blemish free tomatoes. There is a definite benefit to growing many different varieties side by side, for comparison.
 

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Branching Out

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A friend picked up Black Beauty tomato seeds at the local Seed Library last spring, and then she gave me one of the seedlings that she grew out-- only it's not Black Beauty. Instead it's an amazingly productive plum-shaped red saladette, with some purple on the shoulders. Some of these tomatoes sat in a dish on my kitchen counter for a month, and they held really well; good flavour too. I saved a lot of seed from these, and I am looking forward to growing them out next year to see what I get. 🤔
 

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Branching Out

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Pasquini's Passion, which according to Casey's Heirloom Tomatoes is an 'absolute flavour standout beefsteak,' wins the prize for ugliest tomatoes in my garden this year. They were planted alongside blemish-free Kron Prince and the Pasquinis are cat faced beyond belief, as well as having other scars and deformities such as rings radiating around the stem. The flavour is indeed good, but not much of the fruit has been salvageable. Can anyone assist with a question: if I were to save seed from this plant, would the cat facing condition likely persist in the next generation? One of the videos that I watched seemed to suggest that certain tomato varieties are more prone to this than others.
 

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flowerbug

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... One of the videos that I watched seemed to suggest that certain tomato varieties are more prone to this than others.

i can vouch for that. last year we planted two varieties of beef steaks, one we know worked well previous years and the other we didn't know. most of what that other variety came out with were cat faced (we call them brains, but thanks for another name for it :) ). that said if we wanted to be very patient when canning we had an excellent harvest last year (about 60lbs per plant - which was probably a record high).

this year we just did the one variety which avoids that much more (Big Beef). disease really creamo'd the plants this season but we still had a decent crop (30+lbs per plant - which is about average). we probably left another 10lbs per plant on the ground to become worm food.

the best thing of all was that there were absolutely no tomato worms seen by me. it's been quite a few tough years the past few so this season was a welcome break from those.
 

heirloomgal

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Can anyone assist with a question: if I were to save seed from this plant, would the cat facing condition likely persist in the next generation?
I don't believe that's an inheritable condition, my understanding is that it has to do with cold or poor weather at the time of the blossoming. My guess would be that if certain varieties are more prone to it, it would be varieties that bloom at a time when they're more vulnerable to the cold snaps that can happen in early summer. I've had summers when I've grown a lot of tomato varieties, got a cold snap early on, and there will be a flush of fruits from several plants that will have this. Beefsteaks in particular.
 

Zeedman

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Can anyone assist with a question: if I were to save seed from this plant, would the cat facing condition likely persist in the next generation? One of the videos that I watched seemed to suggest that certain tomato varieties are more prone to this than others.
That seems to be true, based upon my own observations. I've often visited SSE's Heritage Farm in late Summer, to observe their grow outs. In some fields, there might be 50 or more varieties of tomato, all grown under identical conditions. Some varieties might be cat faced, cracked, or diseased - alongside other varieties healthy, high yielding, & unblemished. For me, any blemish which can open the way for fruit flies, or cause excessive preparation time, is a deal breaker - regardless of flavor. Most of the tomatoes I grow were chosen first based upon the positive traits, then trialed for their flavor & usefulness. Varieties I selected for blemish-free blossom ends have all remained so. The only environmentally-caused deviation I've observed has been cracking caused by excessive rainfall.

I have dropped varieties which produced loads of beautiful, blemish-free tomatoes, but which proved to be watery, tasteless, or excessively seedy. It always saddens me when mediocre tomatoes come wrapped in pretty packaging. :(

For the most part, I have leaned away from most beef steak tomatoes, favoring ox heart types which have fewer problems (and fewer seeds). IMO potato-leafed beef steak tomatoes are more reliable & generally have great flavor, so I still grow a few of those. "Tiffen Mennonite" is one of those.

Oddly enough, this is one of the few years I've not grown a potato-leaf tomato. Due to seed age, I chose 3 ox heart varieties this year instead. Mind you, that's not much of a sacrifice, since the big ones make good slicers too.
 

ducks4you

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I want to put in my 2 cents--it could also be your soil.
I have been mulching with horse manure and soiled soil bedding for over 20 years. My beds drain well, BUT, I have not ever seen this kind of damage on my tomatoes.
This is the BEST time of year to fix that,
I recommend mowing up any leaves in the yard, and mixing them with the soil in your beds,
Add grass clippings, too, if you are still mowing.
Then, make sure that your tomatoes in 2024 have good drainage, maybe plant in some raised beds?
I agree with @flowerbug, too.
Most of my 2023 tomatoes have been small, probably bc I planted them too close to each other. The "rainbow" heirlooms have produced the largest fruit. They are a little bit thin skinned.
THe tastiest were the Rutgers and the Rose tomatoes, and they only grew to medium sized.
 

Zeedman

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All of my tomatoes have begun slowing down, but one. The variety "Japanese", obtained from Heritage Farm, has not only continued to crank out tomatoes, but these late tomatoes are actually larger! They are averaging close to 8 ounces each now. No BER, no cracked shoulders, and few seeds. This is a really good sauce/paste tomato.
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It was a little hard to get seed for this tomato initially, since as with other generic names, SSE had several varieties with that name (as they did with the "Purple" I grew in 2021). Fortunately, I had written the year grown & SSE's accession# in my observations, so their collection manager helped me find the right one. There are some real gems in SSE's collection, hidden by their anonymity. For anyone able to visit Iowa in late summer, SSE's Heritage Farm is well worth the time.
 

Zeedman

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I recommend mowing up any leaves in the yard, and mixing them with the soil in your beds,
Add grass clippings, too, if you are still mowing.
Agreed. I started doing that several years ago, turning under about 10 cubic yards of shredded leaves, collected from my yard & several of my neighbors. People are remarkably willing to let someone else collect their fallen leaves. I try to collect only maple, box elder, or oak - no black walnut or poplar. Ash originally made up about 1/2 of the leaves collected, but those have all been killed now by the emerald ash borer (more than half of my & my neighbors' trees).

The grass in my yard has remained uncut for about a month, to supply some green mixed with the brown when I collect leaves with the mower. In addition to the leaves, I spread wood ashes, soil sulfur (for nutrients & to prevent the ashes from raising the pH) and charcoal from my fire pit, if I find time to screen some out. That combination very quickly restored the fertility that had been declining in my home gardens over the years.

The improvement in the rural garden, after amending that plot for the first time last Fall, was remarkable. The weeds really loved it.
:th
So did the tomatoes, gourds, peppers, and eggplant.

The much-delayed killing freeze is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, even my longer-DTM peppers & runner beans have time to ripen, and the harvest for tomatoes & snap beans continues. On the other hand, I should be cleaning all poles & structures from the gardens, in preparation for spreading leaves. Killing the garden while it is still producing goes against my instincts as a gardener. :( With no sign of a freeze in the extended forecast, I'll have to begin taking down everything when/if it dries out.
 

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