Thursday, May 26, 2011

Special Tomato Post

Help, what's killing my tomatoes (now)!?

My guess is it's too much water on the leaves, as in we've had far too wet a spring than normal.  Here's another shot.

It's not happening to all the plants, but a few of them.  Other than that, none are growing despite multiple shots of fish emulsion.  Very annoying.  Makes me really want a greenhouse as my brother's store bought specimens are perfect because they were started in greenhouse conditions.  Unfortunately the only place to put one is against the house in the front yard, well side yard.  I am strongly leaning toward removing the grass and putting a half dozen 4x8 beds and a greenhouse.  What's stopping me are two little boys that could use that roughly 30x40 space for all sorts of things growing up.

Anyway, my immediate dilemma is this problem with my tomatoes.  Any ideas?

Lastly, I was talking to my brother during out coop building ordeal and I finally learned the difference between OP and Heirloom.  Apparently all my heirloom tomatoes were orange last year because of cross pollination.  Thank goodness I didn't save seed, because it would have bred orange going forward.  As for heirloom, Gills All-Purpose can't be considered heirloom because it's not like 75 years old or something, it's only 25 years old.  Gotta love rules like that.  Very interesting.

Thanks for the comments!

Enjoy your garden!


  1. Looks like standard issue transplant shock to me. Nights are still cold and as I recall you put them out when we were still dropping into the mid-40s, yeah? Happened to some of my less hardy varieties too. They should grow out of it.

    Open pollinated tomatoes should usually come true from seed, as I understand it, because tomatoes are generally self-fertile. Is it possible you actually had an orange variety?

  2. No clue about your tomato issues. I've never seen that on mine.

    What I think is funny is the term "modern heirloom". But I think they coined the term because everyone wanted heirlooms. So the current tomato breeders made a term for OP tomatoes that include it.

  3. Erica, hehe, what do you mean back when we were dropping down into the mid 40s at night? We still are. But thank you, I bet that's the reason.

    As for the variety being orange, I doubt it for Yellow Pear, hehe. Now I know however, so will be more diligent when I plant next year.

  4. I don't know if overwatering would harm them in the way pictured I'd agree with transplant shock.

    You can tell if they have too much water when the leaves curl down so they can expand their cells to the sun and give off the extra water. If they are underwatered they curl up trying to close and block their cells from the sun light (evaporation.)

  5. What do you mean about your tomatoes being orange last year because of cross pollination? Did you use your own saved seed?

    Tomato cross-pollination is pretty uncommon since the flowers are self-fertile. You can usually save seeds and be reasonably sure that no crossing has occurred (unless you're growing a currant tomato, which have a slightly different flower structure that allows insects better access to the pollen), even if you're growing lots of varieties at the same time. Also, even with cross-pollinated tomatoes, yellow skin (which makes a red tomato) is dominant over clear skin (which results in pink tomatoes) and red flesh is dominant over yellow flesh (I believe that a yellow fleshed tomato with yellow skin is dark yellowish orange and a yellow fleshed tomato with clear skin is pale yellow?) so I'm not sure if orange tomatoes are the logical result of tomatoes crossing in your garden? It of course depends on what you grew in 2009 if you were growing your saved seed, but the chances are better that you'd get red tomatoes as a result of crossed seed. Here's a link about tomato genetics

    As for the tomato in the picture, it does look a bit like sunburn.

  6. A greenhouse makes a huge difference. I, too, struggle with how much space to leave for the kids vs. the garden. Since our yard is sloped, flat space is at a premium. Maybe a small greenhouse?

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