Tag Archive | Lycopersicon esculentum

Thwarting Tomato Blossom End Rot


“For years I have bought Viva Italia seed to raise. The last two summers have been hit with blossom rot in all plants late in season.  What information do you offer that can prevent this plants or otherwise??

Thank you,

Clarus

Zone 5

In The Russet Potato Capital Of Idaho”

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Hi Clarus,

Thank you for your question regarding Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes.

Blossom End Rot on Paste Tomato

Blossom End Rot is caused by a calcium deficiency in the soil in relation to uneven moisture levels or excessive fertilizing.  Calcium is required in relatively large concentrations for normal cell growth and development.  It is moved from the soil through the roots to the meristem (tips of the plant where active growth occurs) via differentiation in water potential and pressure in the xylem of the plant.  When there is not a steady flow of water to the plant, the areas of the plant that growing will have a deficiency.  If the active growth point is a fruit, it will show up at the tip (end) of it.  What is actually happening to the tomato is that the cell walls are weakened by not having enough calcium.  The cell ruptures and discolors as it dries out.

Overfertilizing with nitrogen can also cause problems.  Extra nitrogen increases the speed at which the fruit grows and its size.  Calcium uptake by the plant remains steady in relationship to what would be the normal rate of growth.  Essentially, this means that the calcium uptake is almost ‘lagging’ because everything else is accelerated.  As a result, the fruit lacks calcium. Once the problem develops, quick fixes are difficult. Stabilize the moisture level as much as possible.  Remove the fruits that have been damaged. Feeding with manure or compost tea is recommended by many if this occurs in a garden plot.  You can also do foliar applications of calcium, but I’ve read that the results are not always the best because Calcium is a rather bulky element (larger than Nitrogen and others that are normally used in foliar feeding) and not easily absorbed through the leaf tissue.

In my own garden, I have found the best success with using an application of Epsom salts.  These can be found at your local pharmacy — usually in either the laxative/digestive health area or with things like bath salts/bubble bath. You want to get the plain, unscented type and make sure that it is not mixed with other additives like sea salt.  I use an old scoop from Lipton’s Ice Tea  (about a 1/4 cup measure) and give each plant a heaped scoop – sprinkling it in a circle around the base of the plant and with about an inch or two between the stem and the ring..  Repeat again in about two weeks for sandy soils, four for clay soils.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Open Pollinated Disease Resistant Tomatoes


“Hello,
I am a backyard gardener in eastern nj. I am looking for the most disease
resistant tomato that is open pollinated. Any type but cherry. Thanks for
your help,

Ray Carter”

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Hi Ray,

Thank you for your email regarding open pollinated tomatoes varieties with
disease resistance.  Unfortunately, there are not a ton of varieties because
there is not the hybridization involved to introduce resistance.  What
resistance there is comes from the selections made for domestication by
those that started saving seeds many years ago.

However, there are a few that do stand out:
–Manalucie FSt:  This one is more for down south or hot summers, but I’ve
had good success with it here in Wisconsin (with the exception of 2009, when
we had a very cool summer!).  The fruits get big (about 12-16 ounces), but
are nice and smooth.  It has decent resistance to Blossom End Rot, Gray Leaf
Mold, Early Blight and Fusarium Wilt.  It is an indeterminate variety.

Manalucie
–Campbell’s 33VFA:  This is a tomato that is about half the size of the
Manalucie, but makes up for it with the amount of fruit set.  It has okay
resistance to Verticilium, Fusarium Wilt, and Alternaria.  It is a
determinate variety.

Campbell's 33
–Heinz 1370 FASt: This one makes a nice sauce or soup and is about in the
4-7 ounce range.  It has decent resistance to cracking, Fusarium Wilt,
Alternaria, and Gray Leaf Mold.  It is a determinate variety.

Heinz 1370
–Marglobe Select VFA:  This one is a popular seller for us.  It has
resistance to Verticilium and Fusarium Wit and Alternaria.  It is a
determinate variety.

Marglobe Select
–Rutgers Select VFASt and Rutgers PS VFASt:  These two varieties are very
similar but have great resistance to Verticilium and Fusarium Wilt, Grey
Leaf Mold, and ALternaria.  They have really good flavor and are meaty.
Rutgers Select is an indeterminate and Rutgers PS is determinate.

Rutgers PS Rutgers Select

There are other varieties like Marion FASt, Marmande VFA, New
Yorker VA, Sunray VFF, Hard Rock VFN, and Roma VFA that do have some
moderate disease resistance.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions,
please feel free to ask.

Tomato and Pepper Blossom Drop


“All of my tomato and pepper seeds I ordered Baker Creek grew fine. Only no fruit. Tomatos would bloom, flowers would fall off. Peppers would bloom, flowers would fall off. Next year I’ll buy my plants from Home Depot. Thanks for recommending a crappy company.

Michael”

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Hi Michael,

Thank you for the email regarding your peppers and tomatoes.  It’s sounds like the plants were not the problem, but the environment that they were grown in, as your plants suffer from blossom drop.

Blossom drop is a common tomato and pepper growing problem that can be extremely frustrating to the home gardener. Otherwise healthy looking tomato and pepper plants set flower blossoms, only to have them dry up and fall off the plant before a fruit is formed.

Blossom drop can be attributed to several causes, most often related to either temperature and / or stress.
–Temperature Too High or Too Low
–Lack of Pollination
–Nitrogen – Too Much or Too Little
–Humidity Too High or Low Humidity.
–Lack of water
–Stress from insect damage or disease
–Too Heavy Fruit Set

The best way to combat the problem is to grow varieties suited to your climate.  Often times, hybrids are able to grow anywhere but still need ‘optimum’ conditions.  Gardeners that experience this problem often decide to grow heirloom varieties that are native to their region along with the hybrids so they are always assured of having a crop from one or the other or both.

The most frequent cause of tomato and pepper blossom drop is temperature:
–High daytime temperatures (above 85 F / 29 C)
–High Nighttime Temperatures (Below 70 / 21 C)
–Low Nighttime Temperatures (Below 55 / 13 C)

Tomatoes and peppers grow best if daytime temperatures range between 70 F / 21 C and 85 F / 29 C. While tomatoand pepper plants can tolerate more extreme temperatures for short periods, several days or nights with temps outside the ideal range will cause the plant to abort fruit set and focus on survival. According to the University of Wisconsin, temperatures over 104 F / 40 C for only four hours can cause the flowers to abort immediately.

Gardeners in cooler climates should not rush to get their tomatoes and pepper planted in the spring. Wait until nighttime temperatures are reliably above 55 F /13 C or protect them with a cover at night. You won’t gain any advantage by setting them out too early. Choose early maturing tomato and pepper varieties for spring growing in cooler climates. (Early Girl, Legend, Matina, Oregon Spring, Polar Baby, Silvery Fir Tree Tomatoes; Chablis, Jupiter, King Arthur, Mini Belle Blend, North Star, Banana Bill, Boris, Gypsy, Chichimeca, Early Jalapeno, and Stoked Peppers)

Select heat a heat-tolerant (“heat set”) tomato and pepper varieties for areas with long periods of hot or humid weather. High nighttime temps are even worse than high daytime temperatures because the tomato or pepper plant never gets to rest. (Florasette, Heat Wave, Solar Set, Sunchaser, Sunmaster, Sunpride, Surfire Tomatoes; Chinese Giant, Canary Belle, Mini Bell Chocolate, Mini Bell Yellow, Napolean Sweet, Atris, Felicity, Pimiento L, Balada, Burning Bush, Caribbean Red, Habaneros, Fish, Fatali, Minero, Orange Thai, Serrano Chili, and Zavory Peppers)

Tomatoes and Peppers need some help to pollinate. Either insects, wind or hand shaking of the flowers is necessary to carry the pollen from the anthers to the stigma. During weather extremes, there are often no insect pollinators in the garden.
It sometimes help attract more bees if you plant nectar rich flowers in your vegetable garden.

Don’t automatically feed your tomato and pepper plants every week. Make sure your soil is healthy, with adequate organic matter. Apply a balanced fertilizer at planting and again when fruit forms. Too much nitrogen encourages the plant to grow more foliage, not more fruit.

The ideal humidity range is between 40 – 70%. If humidity is either too high or too low, it interferes with the release of pollen and with the pollen’s ability to stick to the stigma. So pollination will not occur.  If humidity is too low, hose the foliage during the day. This will both cool the plant and raise the humidity. This is not recommended in areas with high humidity or when fungus diseases are present. Gardeners in high humidity areas should look for tomato varieties that aren’t bothered by humidity. (Eva Purple Ball, Flora-Dade, Grosse Lisse, Jubilee, Moneymaker, Sun Gold, Taxi, Yellow Pear Toamtoes, any pepper variety)

Water deeply, once a week, during dry weather. Tomatoes have very deep roots, sometimes going down into the soil up to 5 feet. Peppers can go to 2 feet deep.  Shallow watering will stress and weaken the plants.

Keep your plants healthy. Use good cultural practices and treat for disease as soon as symptoms appear.

Nothing will guarantee fruit set. Things like temperature and humidity are out of the gardener’s control. Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait for conditions to correct themselves. If the weather seems fine and other gardeners in your area are not having fruit set problems, you should consider the cultural causes of tomato and pepper blossom drop. Choosing a suitable variety and keeping your plants healthy will give you an edge.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lycopene in Tomatoes: Which is the Best?


“What tomato has the highest lycopene  content? I see different catalogs will say that theirs is the best, but I want the one that is really the best. Please help!

Thank you,

David Hunter”

________________________________________________________________Bulgarian Triumph

Hi David,

Thank you for the question regarding Lycopene content in tomatoes.  For the most part, your run of the mill red tomatoes have about the same amount of lycopene (approximately 4.6 mg per cup of raw fruit).  However, Health Kick Hybrid VFFASt is the best, as it has about 6 mg per cup of raw fruit.

In general, the brighter the red, the more lycopene content you have.  If the flesh is more red-orange, there is more beta carotene and other yellow-pigmented carotenoids mixed in.  If you go with a more deep red to red-purple tomato, there are more anthocyanins in the flesh.

One thing that you may not know — cooked tomatoes have up to about 170% more lycopene than raw tomatoes.  It’s not that cooking the tomato makes more lycopene develop, but that the cooking process breaks down the tissue.  If you were to eat a tomato raw, your teeth only break the fruit down so much and then your stomach does a little more.  But in the end, you still have chunks that go undigested.  Cooking makes the tomato more broken apart to start with, and then the chewing and digestion in the stomach breaks it apart more.  So, if you make or purchase tomato paste, there are about 60mg lycopene per cup.  Tomato sauce has about 34.2mg per cup and ketchup has about 2.6 mg per tablespoon.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomatoes for Growing Indoors


“I’m currently using the “Red Alert” variety to grow indoors during the winter – they do great in our south-facing patio door.  Is there a determinate variety with a larger fruit – something about 2″ diameter?  I’d like something a little more like a real tomato in a cherry tomato package so to speak….
Thanks – Jim”

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Hi Jim,

Thank you for contacting me through Etsy regarding growing tomatoes indoors.  Some that I think would work well would be:

index–Sub Arctic Plenty:  It’s fruit might be a little smaller than you are looking for (1-2 inches), but it has a nice, tart tomato-ey taste rather than being sweet like a cherry tomato.

glacier–Glacier
Alaskan FancyAlaskan Fancy
Hard Rock–Hard Rock
siberian–Siberian

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Catalog: Mertie Mae Seeds 2014


Over 30 varieties of organically grown, heirloom tomato and tomatillo seeds to chose from. Which will you pick?  See more on our Etsy site!

 

Vera Vera 3 Vera 2 Toma Verde Tomatillo Toma Verde Tomatillo 2 Stupice Speckled Roman Snowberry Red Zebra Red Fig Red Currant Purple Tomatillo Purple Russian Porter Pink Brandywine Nebraska Wedding Nebraska Wedding 2 Napoli Napoli 2 MExican Midget Lillian's Yellow Heirloom Gold Currant German Johnson Pink Christmas Grape Chocolate Cherry Bulgarian Triumph Brown Berry Brandywine Black Sea Man Black from Tula siberian Black Brandywine Bella Rosa Hard Rock Aunt Ruby's German Green Alaskan Fancy Anna Russian Amish Paste Amana Orange Alaskan Fancy Abe Lincoln Original

Legend Tomato Longevity


“About how long does Legend produce tomatoes?

Wendy”

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Legend Tomato

Hi Wendy,

Thank you for the email regarding Legend Tomatoes.  If well cared for (diseases, insects, etc. managed), Legend Tomatoes will produce from about the end of July until frost.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.