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Is this going to be a bad year for tomatoes?

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I seems the cool wet weather is playing hell with tomatoes. Anybody notice any shortages yet?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/nyr...

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  1. They've been pretty abundant down here. It started to get too hot for them lately, but a recent rain and a cold front coming in, and my four plants are full of blooms again.

    1. The NYT article is upsetting, but there don't seem to be any problems so far here in South Central Indiana. I'll make some inquiries at the farmers' market tomorrow and report back.

      1. I have about 60 cherry tom. on my one plant, my beefsteak has about 6 on it right now.
        I experimented with one of the upside down planters and it's what I have the cherry tom. in and it seems to be doing the trick. Will invest in more next year.

        Back home, my dad's creole tom. were done around the end of June but he always plants earlier than most.

        1. BETTER NOT BE! We have 6 or 7 plants that are about as tall as I am and loaded with fruit. I recently posted an article about tomato troubles in New England, but (fingers crossed), so far so good. Light a candle and think good thoughts, please!
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6354...

          3 Replies
          1. re: kattyeyes

            I didn't realize this subject had already been done. So sorry. I LOVE tomatoes. Hope all is ok up here too.

            1. re: billieboy

              No worries--it's good information, keep it coming. I'm just happy to see you posting. Will you mail me some of those cookies? ;)

              1. re: kattyeyes

                I'll do better than that. I will mail you a Canadian treat...Buttertarts...yumm-o

          2. 5n Maine, growing tomatoes is a lobor of love and for optimists only. It is raining out again, a record wet summer. Our garden is doing so poorly I 've avoided going up to it. The tomatoes are barely up to my knees and, spindly and anemic looking, just w/ a few blossoms and the start of one little green grape tomato. The peas are drowning and the Swis chard, pole beans and beets have been mowed to oblivian by slugs. I'm thinking of giving up gardening and spend the time instead at our lake side cabin fishing! It's that bad.
            It is 58 out and raining as I type. Bummer.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Passadumkeg

              Morning, Passa! That's a bummer! We woke up to pounding rain today, too, though hopefully that's all for now.

              When you said your tomatoes were barely up to your knees, it reminded me of something sort of funny that happened to me and my mom. We both bought Roma tomato plants (1 for each of us) at a local nursery on the same day. Ours is planted in a pot on the deck in Miracle-Gro potting soil; my mom planted hers in her garden. Hers hasn't grown much (likek yours) and mine is about my height (probably taller, it's staked, but there's only so straight it'll get) and going nuts with fruit. The tale of these two tomato plants could be a pretty compelling argument/advertisement for Miracle-Gro!

              P.S. You should turn on the Today show ASAP re giant squid!

              1. re: kattyeyes

                Containers tend to have higher soil temperature and better drainage than prevails in nearby ground. In a cold, wet year this gives containers a big advantage for plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and okra. The opposite is true in a hot, dry year. I grow my Gold Nugget tomatoes (determinate yellow cherry tomatoes), peppers, eggplant and okra in containers while the indeterminate tomatoes are in the ground. I am in Chicago near enough to Lake Michigan to have a lot of cold lake breezes in May and June, so we may have temperatures in the 50s or 60s while the western suburbs are in the 80s.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  That miracle gro potting soil is great! I bought a large bag of it at Costco but only had enough to fill three of my four pots I was going to use for the tomato plants. Well, the one plant that has the old soil has but a few tomatoes on it and is pretty skinny. The miracle grow ones are huge and full to tomatoes!

              2. I'm in Western NC. We haven't to my knowledge had any appearance of the blight yet, but we've had rain and cloudiness and our tomatoes just aren't ripening around here. My wife has a few plants and they are loaded, but very little red, just green. Everybody is complaining about it. I made fried green tomatoes for lunch today. This is a big commercial tomato growing area.

                1 Reply
                1. re: johnb

                  And aren't you just recovered from a horrendus multi-year drought?

                2. Mine got off to a slow start, but improved weather, rain, and temperatures moderating somewhat have increased yields and quality...I'm picking between 1/2 and 3/4 of a 5 gallon bucket daily.
                  DW just canned 9 pints of tomatoes...Day before yesterday, 7 quarts of juice. It's has been juice or tomatoes every other day...So the year may wind up pretty good after all..........

                  1. Wouldn't this be a local issue? Not every part of the country is having cool wet weather. Texas, especially in the south, in the midst of a severe drought. June was on the dry side in western Washington. Unless we are talking about tomatoes shipped across country, local conditions should determine the local crop.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: paulj

                      You're right and you're wrong. Local conditions certainly determine the local crop. Fresh tomatoes are a somewhat local market and what happens in one area may not have much impact on markets elsewhere. That said, the blight facing the northeast, if it's as bad as the link posted by the OP indicates it might be, could affect yield in a very large area, and prices in an even wider area as part of the normal market supply dries up. Similarly, the unusual weather we have been having in parts of the country has been widespread, so is affecting lots of folks, as I know from what's happening in our area and what I've been hearing.

                      If your supply comes strictly from your own garden, then you only care about your very local conditions. If you buy tomatoes from someone else, then this situation could affect availability and prices to you even if your area has escaped the direct impacts.

                    2. Yesterday in southern Mi was beautiful day.........for September. I've been fighting blight all season. I read an article indicating that it started in this area from maters bought at HD. I bought two plants there this year. :(
                      If I'm lucky we might have ripe maters by mid august.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Fritter

                        My plants are a good size with a fair amount of fruit on them, Fritter--I bought my plants at the RO Farmers Market, plus one from English Gardens which is in one of those topsy turvy thingies (not doing spectacularly well, BTW).

                        But they aren't making any progress toward ripening. I agree about August being likely for good tomatoes.

                        I hope this week we have summer FINALLY staying with us for a while. That would help.

                        1. re: coney with everything

                          The best plants I have by far came from the RO market. IIR it was Maple Creek Farms.

                      2. In 30+ years growing backyard tomatoes on Long Island, this has been the worst year, hands down. I grow my own seedlongs, so the blight-contaminated commercial seedlings were not an issue. The biblical rains were. For the first time ever I had some seeedlings die in the ground, even in my raised beds. The survivors were stunted. About a third of the plants have recovered to the extent that they look like they should if it were a month ago. Overall, few green tomatoes, few flowers, short plants, fewer branches, and a lot of disappointment. Ironicly, this year had the healthiest seedlngs ever, thanks to Miracle Grow potting soil used as seed starter. Go figure.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: therealdoctorlew

                          It's August on Long Island. I finally harvested my first 3 tomatoes today from the 20 surviving plants. They were 1/3 the size they should have been at ripeness -- 1/3 the diameter, or about 1/9 the weight. They each had a few tiny bad spots. The surviving plants are more than 1 month behind usual growth. Usually at this time of year I can harvest 20 pounds in a week.

                          Took a drive out to the north fork, usually brimming with farmer's stands. The tomatoes were from New Jersey! Picked before maturity and shipped! Three out of the 10 stands I visited had a small number of local tomatoes and they were small, poorly ripened, and expensive as hell.

                          I finally found two ripe local tomatoes that cost more than $2 each. Each was ripe and had a bad spot. One was delicious, the other adequate.

                          This is a LOUSY TOMATO YEAR!!

                          1. re: therealdoctorlew

                            I'm in Huntington, Long Island. Have similar experience. My Mr. Stripey just yielded it's one and only tomato -- mealy. My Brandywine plants (3 of them) have 4 tomatoes. I picked one ripe one -- mealy. Still waiting on anything from Prudens purple. What a waste!

                            Worse are my cucumbers. Yellow, bloated in one spot, withered in another. They look like gourds. I guess constant torrential rain will do that.

                        2. Here in central coastal NJ we have had a lot more sunshine in the last 18 days. The late blight that has most of the northeast alarmed will be diminished with more sunny, hot dry days. My own garden has really perked up in these past 2 weeks. True everything is way behind, a solid 2 weeks, but with more seasonal sun and heat I expect to get another good crop. Probably not the yield I had hoped for, but still I expect some delicious meals from my garden. Don't give up just yet.

                          1. Northern Iowa here. We had somewhat of a cold snap that had me a little worried. But our cherry tomatoes are doing good, just had two ripe the other day and they were sweet! And more ripening on the plant. I don't think our beefsteaks are going to produce, though :(

                            1. Picking and eating great tomatoes from our garden or about the last week. They are really coming on now with a little blast of warmer weather. Wonderful year for Tomatoes in Oregon.

                              1. Coastal Maine here, tomato plants twisted and deformed w/ blight and w/out sun spelled BUILD ARK in our garden. More rain tomorrow.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  You sure those tomatoes weren't spelling MOVE SOUTH? ;) It's raining (again!) here, but I noticed one red Roma, on the smallish side, but ripe for the picking...as were two little grape tomatoes. Both were delicious! I eagerly anticipate the ripening of all the other tomatoes on the deck. I have never had my own heirlooms before. This is exciting. I foresee lots of ciabatta and fresh mozz in my future. Oh, and sandwiches with Duke's mayo (thanks again, alkasis!) and basil. Think dry thoughts, Passa.

                                2. Looks fine here in CA.

                                  I planted late (Memorial Day as usual), but my 2 Early Girls already have a dozen small tomatoes on them. The Black Krim plants looks strong and have many blossoms. The Yellow Brandywines aren't growing as well, but have quite a few blossoms. I probably have been watering them too much.

                                  1. Time seems to have ceased for almost the last month. I have various sizes of fruit each at different stages I suppose, but all of them are green, and according to Kermit - that can't be easy. Did I kill them?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: enbell

                                      The first round finally turned! My cherry tomatoes are good and sweet, I guess I didn't kill them afterall :)

                                    2. My first tomato--a delicious Roma. I've also had a handful of grape tomatoes. Everything else is in nice shape, just waiting to ripen. HOORAY!

                                       
                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        I'm so glad for you, katty! My sisters live near you and I was afraid your area was getting too much rain, not enough sun. I know tomatoes love water, but they also need lots of sunshine. Good luck!

                                      2. I live in SE Michigan, zone 5. My Early Girls have some nice fruits on them but still green. My Beefsteaks still have flowers and have set no fruit whatsoever.
                                        Bob

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: SonyBob

                                          SonyBob, I'm in your area. I've got a couple of reddish tomatoes, can't remember what type, but if the squirrels/bunnies don't get them we'll be eating BLTs in a couple of days!

                                          All my plants have fruit. Hopefully this week's warmer weather (if you can believe the forecast) will get things moving.

                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                            Hi Coney
                                            I have one Early Girl with a little blush on it and that's all. I didn't plant 'till the 1st of June because the soil was so cold so perhaps I waited too long but that's the way I've done it for several years with good results. My plants were robust when planted and look healthy now - just very, very slow to produce. Nothing I can do now but wait and keep my fingers crossed. If you need help in eating those BLT's, let me know!
                                            Bob

                                            1. re: SonyBob

                                              My early girl is loaded and just starting to ripen. With the straight line winds and power outage from this past weekend I pulled out with very little mater damage.
                                              Some of the farm markets in Romeo, Armada etc are getting some good produce in now.

                                        2. I am going to pick a bucket of tomatoes tomorrow in the backyard. With the heat coming on all of the early ones are going crazy, the big beefsteaks are starting to turn that yellow color, new blossoms everywhere. This is going to be the summer of the great tomatoe harvest!!!

                                          Go Ducks!!!

                                          1. Well, my mom and I just planted seedlings last weekend (I know, I know), but we live in California and the guy at the nursery told us we should still end up with some tomatoes, albeit not until around Halloween =). I'll post if we actually yield anything!

                                            1. The tomatoes are having a late season here in Chicagoland. My heirloom plants dropped their blossoms with the early heat, but once that leveled out they are producing like mad. Just not ripening yet. But I hear it is that way all over. Our Sweet 100 plant has had some red ones as has our Jolly plant. The Green Zebra, Marglobe, Old German (an orange heirloom) and the Cherokee Purple have beautiful tomatoes that haven't ripened yet. And the wait is KILLING me!!

                                              1. Our tomatoes are mainly just in blossom, with a few green grape and small green Early Girl. Grrrrr. In Maine, 1846 was called the year w/out summer because of a hard frost every month. Things could be worse.

                                                1. We are in Northern Virginia and this is probably the worst year I've ever had in my garden. We had a lot of cool weather in June and it seems to have taken its toll. We picked our first tomato this week - about a month behind schedule. Not a red roma in sight, even our cherry tomatoes aren't ripening or producing much. But our peppers are taking over... go figure!

                                                  1. I planted two grape tomatoes and one other type (can't remember what it was). So far we've had one (1) of the grape tomatoes. Fooey. I'm going to cut them back today and fertilize them and get ready to yank them if they don't make a sprightly comeback, We did have a late hellish stretch of weather that finaly seems to be over with (knock on wood).

                                                    1. In Kansas City, I've had a pretty lousy year. The grapes have done OK (but just OK), and every other of the seven varieties I planted has produced some, mostly small fruit, and they're all green and still on the vines. I've had two smallish ones ripen from two separate plants, and they'd both burst a bit at the top from the moisture.

                                                      All summer, they've been occasionally dropping off the vines all by themselves, from the best I can tell. I don't see any indication it's a critter, because they're unblemished. Very odd. The grapes have done it the most.

                                                      Zucchini have been terrible as well. Had two big-ish ones in July, then every other once since then has been rotting at the end before it gets past about 4 inches.

                                                      Herbs, on the other hand, have been incredible. Best basil and lemongrass I've ever grown. Thyme's been a disaster, though.

                                                      This is a first year for this garden, and we got it in late and didn't do anything to the soil. I'm sure next year will be much better when we can take some time. But I'll trade how little we've had to use the AC for bad tomatoes.

                                                      1. Here in Central NYS it was a lousy year. I have a friend who plants 40 or 50 plants every year, and he says this is the worst ever. He hardly got any. I got a few grape tomatoes from my garden but everything else got the blight, as did my next door neighbor's. Even the tomatoes at the garden stands and the farmer's markets have blight spots on them. The romas seem to have survived better than other "full-sized" varieties, and grapes and cherries are mostly o.k., But tomatoes for canning (besides romas) are slim pickin's this year. WAH!!!

                                                        1. Now that the season's practically over, I'd like to know:
                                                          Which tomatoes turned out to be the best for you this year--and worst?

                                                          The shining stars of our deck were the little yellow pears. Sweet, delicious and quite prolific.

                                                          Unfortunately, my Black Cherokees yielded the fewest tomatoes and I'm bummed. I was looking forward to trying those for the first time and we've had a handful, if that.

                                                          But those little yellow pears have been stellar--straight off the vine with a sprinkle of salt (this has been a great snack at my desk!), in salads, in guac. These were my favorites!