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Tomatoes 2014

A slice of juicy freshly picked heirloom beefsteak tomato... I can almost taste it thinking about.

Who grows tomatoes? Which ones do you like best? Predictions for 2014 growing season.

This year against my better judgment I am planning on starting from seed - with saved seeds from last year I will buy a few plants too just to make sure I have some tasty tomatoes come late summer

What's your plan? Did you start already? How's is coming along?

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  1. Seeds are getting started indoors this weekend. Nyagous and Paul Robeson which have done well for us in the past. Also adding black prince which is new and for us. We prefer the black heirloom varieties. Can't wait for the first sandwich of the season!

    11 Replies
    1. re: gourmanda

      The Black Prince wasn't very prolific for me but they were delicious!

      1. re: weezieduzzit

        I will be interested to see how they do for us. It's been such a long winter (cleveland area) that it's going to a loooong time for the ground to warm up. Curious as to where you garden?

        1. re: gourmanda

          I'm in Southern California where we had no winter at all, really. We're all a little concerned about what kind of summer we might get and are figuring out ways to save/ divert/ hoard water for our gardens if we need to.

          1. re: weezieduzzit

            I'm in Southern California as well. All the tomatoes I planted last spring didn't die off (since we had no winter) but kept growing and producing all winter! The plants are all huge and overgrown now, so we are taking them all out and starting with new plants.

            1. re: Michelle

              since I'm here too Michelle, why would you need to get rid of those plants from last year if they're still healthy and able to produce?

      2. re: gourmanda

        Well, after all of time growing our plants from seeds I think we rushed the hardening-off process and now they are sunburned :( Not sure if the tomatoes can grow through it; several of the jalapenos likely won't. Arrrrghhh!

        1. re: gourmanda

          Don't feel too bad, because me too. Luckily I did buy a couple of back up plants at a few local places, and they're doing fine.

          1. re: coll

            That's what we get for rushing things! Luckily it looks like there is some new growth on the tomatoes and a couple of peppers so I'm hopeful they will make it. I hope the same for you!! Here's to tomato sandwiches :)

            1. re: gourmanda

              Oh yeah, if I have to go to the farm stand, there will be tomato sandwiches!

          2. re: gourmanda

            Peppers are very resilient so don't give up on them yet! If there is any growth on the tomatoes not severely burned I would cut off the badly effected areas (but leave anything that looked half decent,) rebury the plant up to the good growth and baby the heck out of it for a while.

            1. re: weezieduzzit

              Good to know about the peppers, thanks weezie! I will look closely tonight. The tomatoes do have a bit of new growth since they were planted, so I am hoping they start to take off. DH was at the greenhouse to get some sweet pepper plants and also so picked up one heirloom tomato plant for 99 cents each. We should be okay, but can always buy a bushel of tomato seconds if needed for sauce and paste. I'm with you coll...will not be denied tomato sandwiches ;)

        2. So far I have San Diego, Black from Tula, Cherokee Purple, Momotaro (my favorite!) Sweet Millions, Roma (I grabbed the wrong one- didn't mean to buy Roma but by the time I realized it I was home so I planted it,) and 2 Black Cherry in the ground. A neighbor of mine has her annual plant sale coming up and I will pick up Arkansas Traveler and hopefully Indian Stripe there. I don't have a Paul Robeson yet and they're supposed to do well here. I have seeds for Paul Robeson and some other heirlooms I really want to try but it's really much to late to start from seed for this season here, I'll have to do them for the fall planting.

          3 Replies
          1. re: weezieduzzit

            A neighbor bought me a black cherry plant this weekend as a thank you for taking care of her bunnies while they were away so now I have THREE and they are insanely prolific! They do dehydrate into excellent "sundried" tomatoes, though. Looks like I'll have a nice big stash for next fall and winter. :)

              1. re: gourmanda

                I lao love the black cherry or "chocolate cherry" as they are called but they are so sensitive and split very easy esp if over watered or when picked. They are frusstrating!

          2. I had gret success last year with the La Roma 3. I like them bigger so I don't have to core and peel so many little ones.

            1. I started seeds 3 weeks ago, which was probably too soon for my tomatoes, and too late for some of my peppers. My raised geds are full of roots from the nearby redwoods, so I'm growing determinates in earth boxes. I have tried to fight the redwood's roots, but when I see the trees towering above me, I realize it is futile. I will look for my list and post it, but they are mostly for sauce/cooking.

              When I grew in the ground, I had a lot of success with Paul Robeson.

              1. While I like to try new varieties every year, there are some (mostly heirloom) that I always find a place for:

                Dark: Cherokee Purple or Black Krim or Black from Tula
                Cherry: Riesentraube or Sungold or Pink Ping Pong (ok a little larger than cherry!)
                Oxheart: Anna Russian or Kosovo
                Early: Matina or Stupice
                Red: Neves Azorean Red or Andrew Rahart Jumbo Red

                Seedlings are up and 1+ inch high.
                Experimenting with Momotaro, Berkeley Tie Dye and a couple of Dwarf varieties this year.

                7 Replies
                1. re: DonShirer

                  We grew Kosovo a couple of years ago. Okay flavor but huge fruit prone to cracking. Hope you have better luck!

                  1. re: DonShirer

                    I loved the Black Krim I grew a couple years ago.

                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                      I love it too. Have trouble telling when it's ripe, though!

                      1. re: gimlis1mum

                        The specific Green Zebras I got turn a little pink on their white stripes, if not for that I'd be lost.

                        1. re: gimlis1mum

                          Update: the Black Krim I planted is going gangbusters. I finally remembered to throw a few shovefuls of compost around before planting, and it seems to have done the trick. The plant is lush and happy with a decent number of green tomatoes hanging on. bonus was a number of volunteer tomatoes that sprung up from the compost...I edited out the weakest/adjusted for spacing, and it looks like I've got a cherry tomato, one or two of the multi-lobed kind (probably yellows, if memory of last year's tomatoes serves me well) and a couple of still-a-mystery.

                          I tried a variety called Italian Tree tomato and it's living up to its reputation, height-wise, almost as tall as I am. About 6 good-sized tomatoes hanging on and many more little ones behind that.

                          Bad news is, late blight has been spotted in our area and a woodchuck moved in behind the garage. Can the tomatoes survive? (Sounds like a reality show, lol).

                      2. re: DonShirer

                        We grew sungolds last year (in the Pacific Northwest). They were like candy! Hard not to eat them all straight from the vine.

                      3. Just started my seeds three or four days ago, no sign of life yet. Also some hot Thai plus cubanelle peppers, and eggplant.

                        I put in a bunch of green zebras, I bought the plants last year and fell in love. Last fall I saved some seeds (also shared some) so we'll see what happens. Out of all the normal tomatoes I also grew, these were the most prolific of all. And so sweet, despite the color. Also put in some other seeds I saved, I'm pretty sure they're Early Girl. I just wrote "small, earliest" on the package. In May I am sure I will pick up a few more plants, along with my exotic herbs. I am very interested in the purple Cherokee variety, hope I luck out.

                        I also was at The Christmas Tree Shop and found some tomato seeds imported from Italy. The translations on the back were amusing enough to convince me to get a couple. One is Roma San Marzano, and one is a small round variety called Principe Borghese. Both supposed to be excellent for canning. I usually stick with Burpee but we'll see what happens!

                        Predictions? What started as rain yesterday just turned to snow and now sleet, think it's going to be a late harvest.

                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                              My 'maters

                              Clear Pink Early
                              Yaqui
                              Pribce Borghese ( hope to smoke them)
                              Mariana
                              Russian Persimmon
                              New Big Dwarf

                              Peppers

                              Serrano Del Sol
                              Aji Dulce 2
                              Scotch Bonnet
                              Ancho 101
                              Bella Rosa
                              Biscayne

                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                My termaters on mother's day weekend.

                                 
                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                  what area of the country are you in Shrinkrap

                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                    Northern California, with a predominantly Central Valley Climate. Sunset 14.

                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                      my tomatoes were crazy beautiful when we lived in Granite Bay across the street from Folsom Lake. was it the humidity? probably.

                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                            I have a flower on one of mine.......probably because it hit 90 last weekend.

                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                              102* here last couple of days...not sure the plants like it but I'm beginning to droop

                                          2. re: iL Divo

                                            Humidity and heat, that's the key!

                                            1. re: coll

                                              Only to a point- they quit blooming here when the temp gets up over 102, which it has done with startling regularity here the last month.

                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                I'll keep that in mind, what with global warming and all! If it gets into the 90s here no one even leaves the house.

                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                  It's too hot now in S Florida for tomatoes. My plants are toast but I had 4 months of nice tomatoes.

                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                    fort Lauderdale last week was lovely at the beach, I'm toasty brown..............

                                                    you're fortunate to have had some nice enough weather already and enjoyed your toms. lucky you..... :)

                                  2. I planted 18 tomatoes on March 5th: Black Krim & Honey Bunch grape, both of which did well last year; and Bloody Butcher, which is new to me, so I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's had experience with it. All but one of the seeds have sprouted and the seedlings are 2-4" tall. This is my favorite part of the growing season, the hopeful part.

                                    23 Replies
                                    1. re: small h

                                      Me too, I planted 4 varieties of tomatoes, a couple of batches of a hot and a cubanelle pepper and a lot of eggplant. All four varieties of tomato are up (and I only planted them a week or so ago), all else nothing happening. So my prediction: it will be a year for tomatoes!

                                      1. re: coll

                                        My tomatoes fly out of the ground in 5-7 days, but the eggplant takes 2 weeks, and the peppers take 3-4. Hang in there.

                                        1. re: small h

                                          Thanks I thought I remembered only a few days for some last time, now I have hope!

                                          What I am happiest about with the tomatoes is I planted two Italian imported seeds from a discount store, and two types I saved from last years garden. Wasn't sure if anything at all would happen, glad I was wrong.

                                          1. re: coll

                                            All four tomatoes up and very prolific, I'm going to have to thin them out majorly. Eggplants up, Thai peppers up but still no sign of the cubanelles. Can't complain.

                                            How many plants do you leave per container (I use mostly yogurt cups)? And when to thin and still have hope of them rerooting elsewhere? I feel like the times I tried to move them to another pot they died, like the roots weren't developed enough. I would love to have enough to share with the neighborhood!

                                            1. re: coll

                                              I don't transplant them until the seedlings have two "true" leaves. The first two tiny leave that emerge were tucked inside the seed and have a different shape than the true leaves.

                                              To thin the seedlings I just yank them out of the dirt and throw the extras onto the compost pile. To transplant them I use a small spoon or popsicle stick to gently lift them out of the seeding tray, while keeping the dirt around their roots - try to not disturb the tiny little roots.

                                              I try to do the transplanting before the plants have 4-6 leaves, otherwise the roots get tangled into their neighbors. I'd put one plant per pot in a yogurt cup-sized container.

                                              I'm jealous of your eggplants, I have a hard time getting those to germinate and then the seedlings don't thrive. Probably too cold in my cellar where I keep the grow lights.

                                              1. re: gimlis1mum

                                                I have mine growing in the dining room; not inviting anyone over this Easter ;-) Thanks for the info, I think I usually try to thin it all too early before any real leaves and also maybe not gently enough. I have a bunch of extras, so even if I get a couple more plants out of it that would be cool.

                                                The eggplants (and Thai pepper) are Burpee, I always get 100% germination from that brand. As far as them making it to maturity under my care, that's another story.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  you hit the nail on the head coll.
                                                  my problem is because they are my baby's, my husband forgets that they need water when I'm not home. that is the single biggest problem I have getting seeds successfully growing. they don't get enough water, the wind is often a problem drying out every thing even if I am home it's a constant where we live let alone the heat.
                                                  even when I am monitoring the water, they dry out before the sun comes up again.

                                                  so I can't always blame the seeds or seed company it's me or Mr. ID that is the offender.

                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                    Mine are hanging in there, I am just off to drop off some extras to a friend. They don't look like the Black Crims or Purple Cherokees I just picked up at the local nursery, with nice thick stems, but if it ever gets over 80 degrees around here I may still have a good chance!

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      yah, funny you're saying that. we walked to get the motor home last night to bring it home, it's getting washed and polished today and I have much to do with is for the start of the motorhoming season. but it was cold walking 13 houses away at 5pm last night. then last night after dark, I was outside watering the pots of seeds and actually brought them up under the front porch for more warmth then just leaving them out in the cold windy elements. thought maybe their little footsies were gonna get too cold and croak.

                                                2. re: gimlis1mum

                                                  Heat mats make a huge difference in germination time and early growth for peppers, eggplants and tomatoes. I would not try germinating any of them in my unheated cellar in Chicago even if the winter was not as cold as last winter.

                                                3. re: coll

                                                  This is how they look right now; I have very little experience/success in this field so let me know if it's time to just get rid of some of the excess! TIA.

                                                   
                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    Thin them but to reduce risk of damage, snip the ones you don't want with scissors as opposed to pulling them out of the cups.

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      Looks like your lights are way to far away. Depending on the light can be 4 inches. Luckily with tomatoes the stems sprout roots so every time you transplant them you plant them up to there necks.

                                                      They like to be started in small pots and moved up slowy. Don't just take a small seedling and plant in a big pot thinking thats what they will want later. You want deep roots. A one litre milk carton would be a good next planter.

                                                      1. re: daislander

                                                        Thanks, I actually moved the lamp head up to take the snapshot more clearly. But this is the first year (third year overall) that I realized the movable lamp head should be as low as possible. I'm using one I bought for SAD (winter mood) so it is full spectrum. Seems to work OK! They still seem sort of leggy but I'll give it time.

                                                        I've been seeing suggestions on Facebook of using half gallon juice containers for a few plants each, I may try that next year.

                                                        You are all the best, thanks so much. My husband used to garden intuitively (square foot method) but I'm finding myself at a loss, even with two years under my belt.

                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          hope it's fair to say that we all have down seasons as far as our local home grown veg varieties are concerned. I know some years here are brilliant while other years are a bust.
                                                          do I plant with plenty of shade so they won't/can't/don't burn by the strength of the sun?
                                                          do I plant in full sun so to ensure they're getting enough direct light?
                                                          is there overwatering?
                                                          I know there's under watering.
                                                          should I feed with tomato food?
                                                          if so which kind?.
                                                          so many questions to get the best results or in my case often, any results at all.

                                                    2. re: coll

                                                      I plant in 3" peat pots, 2 seeds per pot. I start hardening off at the beginning of May, and a couple of weeks later I put them outside, some in containers on my balcony, and some in the ground at our weekend place. I'm only about 70% as successful at growing things as I'd like to be, but I'm also not willing to do much more work to get better.

                                                      @gilmlis1mum: Glad to know that the Bloody Butchers are productive. I could definitely use a better yield from my full size tomatoes. I got about a million grape tomatoes last year, so no problem in that department.

                                                      1. re: small h

                                                        I used to use the peat pots in the old days, and the plastic pans with lids etc, but trying to do it now as cheaply as possible.

                                                        My Green Zebras were unbelievably productive, and probably the sweetest out of the whole lot to boot! Their seeds too, I had shared most and only saved a few for us, but I think every single one came up so far.

                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          coll, if you can cut a tomato or two, harvest the seeds I'd love to send you some cash if you'd put them in a moist paper towel then in a small zipper bag and send them to me. don't need that many that's been for years how I start my own tomatoes from seeds I've caught then stuck in dirt.
                                                          LMK tnx.

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            I sent a ton last year for my family, doubt if they even remember; this year I will send all the extra seeds to you. My favorites so far are the Green Zebras, for taste and productivity. This year I added a Black Crim and a Purple Cherokee, so I will save some of them for you too.

                                              2. re: small h

                                                I tried Bloody Butcher several years ago, unfortunately I don't remember much about it! My yard is not that great for growing tomatoes, to be honest, so itmight be that it didn't grow very well for me. I've narrowed down my choices a lot now. One Black Krim for fresh eating, one cherry tomato for nibbling, and everything else is Amish Paste for cooking/canning/saucing.

                                                1. re: gimlis1mum

                                                  Came across my old garden journal (back when I used to actually write things down!) and discovered that I tried growing bloody Butcher in 2006. All I wrote about it was that it was "very productive." Since tomatoes don't do well in general in my yard, I'd expect it to go gangbusters in a better site.

                                                2. re: small h

                                                  As a balcony gardener, I always appreciate when my plants decide to do more with less. Behold, the twin tomato. Dunno how that happened.

                                                   
                                                3. I always plant the same 3 types every year. Calabresi Belmonte and sweet pomodorini (cherry type) for fresh eating and San Marzano for sauce making/canning. These I start from seed and are sowed indoors at the end of February/beginning of March.

                                                  I also like to plant 1 or 2 plants of other types just for fun. These I'll typically pick up at a nursery for direct transplanting.

                                                  1. I'm trying Burpee's Brandy Boy this year. I love the superb flavor of Brandywine, but I'm tired of the minuscule yield and its disease sensitivity.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                      I've had good luck with Brandy Boy, fwiw.

                                                    2. Ever since I started using red tomato mulch film, I'm a fan. Use it every year anchored right over soaker hoses. No weeding and great tomato yield. Worked a treat in Zone 4b, and now that I am in Zone 7b I still use it.

                                                      Here's one brand, as an example: http://tinyurl.com/nbyx9b5

                                                      1. I bought my tomato plants in Home Depot, no clue what types, bought a bag of potting soil, slit the bag and planted the 4 plants. I staked them through the bag for drainage and I've had non stop tomatoes for the last 8 weeks (South Fl).
                                                        We've had a perfect winter for home grown tomatoes and my plants look very healthy, so I'm hoping they'll keep going till June when it gets too hot and humid.

                                                        1. I got my seeds started late so I am definitely going to be buying some starts

                                                          I had good luck last year with Mortgage Lifter and Biltmore and some cherry verities - Mr Stripey was prolific if not the best tasting so I saved seeds from these and bought some Italian ribbed seeds as well - I will infill with some standard beefsteak and Roma hybrids that will hopefully perform

                                                          Cannot wait to see the garden started

                                                          1. Our 3 Better Boy (in ground) plants are about 18" tall already, and one has blossoms.

                                                            I'm finally off the walker and using a cane, so should be able to walk around the garden center soon, so looking forward to buying some other types of 'maters: San Diego, black cherry, zebra.

                                                            I've never had luck with starting from seed (well, no luck transplanting seedlings, I guess), so I'm jealous of those who do.

                                                            Also looking forward to shopping for other veggies and all the herb plantlets. Woo-hoo, spring!

                                                            1. Im surprised with the popularity of the black tomato. I like my tomato red, yellow or orange. Im done with purple, black, zebra.. I want my tomatoes to look like a tomato. It definitely messes with my enjoyment. I hate seeing blocky pulpy jell...

                                                              Sungolds are awesome (also in PNW)
                                                              Early girl is a fav (we have a short season here)
                                                              Costolutto
                                                              San Marzano
                                                              Big Belgium
                                                              Sashas Alati
                                                              Flamme
                                                              Bonny Best
                                                              Saltspring Sunrise

                                                              ah my mind is blank. About 10 other varieties. We did about 35 varieties last year and have tried to scale back this year. A neat one was a yellow paste which I have never seen before. Wasn't bad. I am trying to grow more paste as I bought a pressure canner to make sauce as I realized canned tomatoes is the one thing I buy a lot of and don't really want to use canned goods. Plus homegrown homemade can't be beat.

                                                              1. I have a question: living in SoCal, it can get very hot during the afternoons/early evenings. The last 2 years, I've killed my tomato plants, quite possibly from overwatering? But if I don't water them every day or every other day, they become very withered and droopy looking.

                                                                What do you do when the sun is so hot that the plants are wilting, but when you put your finger in the soil, the soil is still moist?

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                  Totally normal for vegetable plants to wilt in the hot sun, as soon as it goes down they go back to normal. It's how they protect themselves from heat stroke.

                                                                    1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                      I too have killed seemingly healthy tomato plants I am sure by over watering. but you're scared if it's too hot, that they'll croak for sure.

                                                                      I am going to wait a while a try to look for sales on already established plants at the garden nursery places around town or elsewhere. only because they waiting for patience it takes to get them that far is already done for you. oh we do have many about to pop their heads up but nothing substantial yet. maybe I'll just splurge on some bigger ones today if the mood suits me. we'll see

                                                                    2. sort of behind but I have the babies transplanted from jiffy pellets into peat pots and getting used to the outdoors in the dappled sun under a tree - hopefully ready for transplant within two weeks

                                                                      started from saved seed this year
                                                                      roma
                                                                      mortgage lifter
                                                                      mr stripey
                                                                      cherry (from a plant given by a neighbor)
                                                                      unknown steak tomato (hopefully was a heirloom not hybrid)
                                                                      and from bought seed
                                                                      Genovese Ribbed

                                                                      don't have enough space but would like to add a few bought starts for safety and variety

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                        Starting to put them all out on the front porch for a few hours a day, then planning on planting mid month....barring a snow storm!

                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                          ''then planning on planting mid month....barring a snow storm!''

                                                                          bite your tongue :-P

                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                            The weather just can't seem to get out of the low 60s, so I am still biding my time.

                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                              I am not surprised coll. it's been very weird here also and I live @ 3200 feet high desert where it's supposed to swelter.

                                                                      2. Added Eva Purple Ball (which are pink, not purple) to our mix. Looking good after the first transplant. Will probably have to transplant once more before they get into the ground. Our soil to too cold to even think of planting them before the end of May.

                                                                        1. Moved about 30 tomatoes from under the lights to the outside porch last week, will be planting them next week. The problem is, I only have room for about 15 plants. Which do I keep? Such a dilemma.

                                                                          RED
                                                                          Matina, Sophie's Choice, AnnaRussian, NevesAzorean Red, Gildo Pietroboni, Bloody Butcherj

                                                                          PINK
                                                                          Sudduth Brandywine, Nicholaevna Pink, Pink Oxheart, Momotaro, Kosovo

                                                                          YELLOW
                                                                          Orange Minsk, Roomi Banjan, KBX, Earl of Edgecombe

                                                                          CHERRY
                                                                          Riesentraube, Pink Ping Pong, Ildi, Moravsky div, Heidi

                                                                          BICOLOR
                                                                          Berkeley Tie Dye, Gold medal

                                                                          DARK
                                                                          Cherokee Purple

                                                                          DWARF
                                                                          Dwarf Wild Fred, Rosella Purple, Perth Pride, Iditarod Red

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: DonShirer

                                                                            Not sure where you are, but in the Cleveland area along the lake the Cherokee Purple did well for us; the Kosovo was a really big plant. Soil is too cold to plant tomatoes or peppers around here for another couple of weeks, unfortunately.

                                                                            1. re: DonShirer

                                                                              wow that's a great variety - i would not be able to decide either

                                                                              1. re: DonShirer

                                                                                Sophies choice was a early producer with great flavour for me last year.

                                                                                Russians are usually big and a bit mealy, few and late for me.

                                                                                Oxheart I didn't was great but then some told me its a good cooker so I would try again. Healthy plants.

                                                                              2. Got a cold frame up last weekend and got almost a whole bed planted with some plants I got from a friend.

                                                                                Got a late start on my seeds (end of March! ek) so keeping then extra warm and safe for another 2 weeks.

                                                                                1. I found some "Early Girl" quart pots at Sprouts for $4.00 each and planted them back in mid-March. I enjoyed my first tomato last night for dinner!

                                                                                  I also have some Sweet 100's planted from seed, since they did pretty well last year. Problem with them is they rarely make it into the house! I end up eating them right off the vine standing outside :)

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                    Right off the plant, still warm from the sun is the best!

                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                      I've been very happy with these two plants! I'll definitely plant the Early Girls again. I haven't had to buy any tomatoes for over three weeks. My equine dentist was jealous I already had tomatoes when he worked on my horses last week.

                                                                                      As an update, my Sweet 100 plants are looking very happy & healthy. No tomatoes yet, but they should be here soon.

                                                                                  2. the little babies went in the ground and in containers yesterday - Hoping for a good year - hard to believe these bitsy little plants will be a jungle soon

                                                                                    1. I've just returned from Spain today and brought with me a kilo each of fresh Kumato and Raf(f) tomatoes. Plus 5 packages of seeds.

                                                                                      From my research, apparently these two are not common elsewhere. Much loved in Costa Blanca (where I've just been to).

                                                                                      I almost cried when I saw tomatoes at the market in Spain. I felt the same when I ate them. Never thought tomatoes could make me cry!

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Pata_Negra

                                                                                        Trader Joe's carries Kumatos and I've read about people growing them our from saved seeds but I would love to hear your experience growing them from seeds you brought back. Please do report back!

                                                                                        1. re: Pata_Negra

                                                                                          the tomatoes in the supermarket make me cry all the time. they are so sad. ;(

                                                                                          1. re: Pata_Negra

                                                                                            Supposedly Kumato tomatoes are also marketed as Rosso Bruno. If you search the web for K or RB seeds you will find several people who have grown these hybrids out for several years to produce a stable open pollinated variety. I have never tried these so I don't know whether these taste like the original or not.

                                                                                          2. My 'maters are starting to turn color finally. The first (HUGE) plant was put in the ground back in March I believe. It went from 4" to about 4 feet in width/height within 6 weeks. Something about my beds turns tomato plants into Little Shop of Horrors type beasts.

                                                                                            Honestly I have no idea what the ones in back are.

                                                                                            On the front porch, I have a tomato plant my mother dropped off and planted in a shallowish planter. It seems to be doing okay. It was maybe 6" tall when she bought it. No idea on the variety; there are several ready tor picking.

                                                                                             
                                                                                             
                                                                                             
                                                                                             
                                                                                            38 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                              OMG where are you? My biggest home grown plant is about 3 or 4 inches, it's an Early Girl that I grew from last year's seeds. I also just bought a Black Krim and a Cherokee Purple, they are a nice size (like 5 or 6 inches)but there won't be any flowers for a month or two. The rest of the seeds I started are so spindly I am almost afraid to plant them next weekend.

                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                I'm in Los Angeles. My mother lives in a nicer part of town with great soil and her tomatoes are pretty puny this year. Everything on my property is virtually rock--the driest beigest sandy rocky DIRT imaginable. No grass here! My boyfriend built me a large raised bed a few years back and layered it with hay and store-bought soil. Something about this method has produced the most prolific veggie garden I've personally ever seen. My zucchini plant currently has leaves about 18" across. My green beans outgrew their poles and basically kept growing, doubled back down the vines onto themselves. It's nuts!

                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                  That is so great! I built some raised beds a few years ago, and refresh with manure and homemade compost. The stuff grows for sure. But I have critters too, that's my main trouble.

                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                    I haven't replenished the bottom layer of my beds since they were built (the hay layers). I did add lots of fresh soil though.

                                                                                                    I have critters like you wouldn't believe! Not four-legged, but rather many-legged insects. They only eat certain plants... This year they are keen on the zucchini and squash, strawberries, pumpkins, and they completely obliterated my pepper plant as it was flowering.

                                                                                                    Last year we went crazy with some store-bought organic bug repellent spray. After spending some $50 on several bottles and having to douse the garden twice a day, we gave up on it. This year I've been toying with cayenne sprinkled at the roots of each plant and it's been working but I have to reapply daily after watering and sometimes I forget. The primary culprits are earwigs. Thousands upon thousands of them. If I go out at night with a flashlight, it looks like the soil is moving. It's stomach churning.

                                                                                                    They stay away from the tomatoes completely for some reason. I read today to put little cracker boxes full of oatmeal around the garden, with one side sealed shut, and then to go out in the morning and (hopefully) catch all the bugs in the box so I can dispose of them. We shall see.

                                                                                                    What are you dealing with? Deer?

                                                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                      Racoons mostly I think. Although the birds are a pain when the plants are small, they just dig them up and toss them aside looking for worms. The deer hang out in the nearby corn fields so they're not as bad as they should be.

                                                                                                      The raccoons like to take a bite or two out of the almost ripe tomatoes, and then toss them aside. Which is more annoying than the fruit just disappearing. I'm going to try the talk radio trick later this summer, but I also have some homemade Liquid Fence brewing right now. Hoping it will keep them from nibbling on the baby plants that will go out sometime this week.

                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                        "The raccoons like to take a bite or two out of the almost ripe tomatoes, and then toss them aside."

                                                                                                        That is irritating! At least don't be wasteful!

                                                                                                        I've read good things about the radio trick. My boyfriend grew up on a farm in Oregon and he said they used to do that at night.

                                                                                                        We get raccoons around here, but not many and not often. I watch the birds during the day and they like to go sit on the chicken wire I put up around the garden (to keep my dogs out) and they just sit there.

                                                                                                        Have you tried cayenne pepper? I doused my garden liberally with it and it doesn't affect the flavor of anything I picked and I've read it can keep away all sorts of animals.

                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                          The homemade Liquid Fence recipe is eggs, garlic and hot red pepper, topped off with lots of water. You let it sit a week until it putrifies. If it works, I let you all know!

                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                            Yes, report back! Sounds funky :)

                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                              They say it only smells to humans for a short time, like 15 minutes, but the animals will run in terror. We shall see.

                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                Curses, foiled again! Just went out near the garbage cans, where I'm fermenting my Liquid Fence mix, and the raccoons not only opened the milk jug but seem to have drank half of it like a milk shake. Back to the drawing board.

                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                  hmm it seems the raccoons might have mistaken the liquid fence for a breakfast burrito!

                                                                                                                  I feel your pain - I don't get so many furry critters but just about every other garden pest known to man in my small urban garden - its like a new plague every week once the weather heats up.

                                                                                                                  This year I have inter-planted onions and marigolds pretty heavily hoping for some natural deterrent.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                    I wonder if anything really works without poisoning your vegetables too. Maybe I'll just stick with the radio as my farmer friend suggested. He swore nothing else worked for him, including electric fences. At least for the deer.

                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                      Oh no, I'm screwed. I accidentally left the garage door open last night (maybe the third time in the 12 years I've lived here) and this morning found my big bag of high end cat food out in the back yard with holes nibbled all over it. On the other hand, they totally ignored the rest of the Liquid Fence clone that I had moved in there for safekeeping.

                                                                                                                      Wish I had the nerve/skill to set a humane trap or something. This is going to be a bad summer I'm afraid.

                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                        now they think you are a food source - first a breakfast shake and now cat food - you may as well adopt the critters LOL

                                                                                                                        raccoons are persistent buggers we had to keep our trash on lock down growing up.

                                                                                                                        Something is chomping down on my bean plants - need to spray - starting with neem - hope I don't have to get too drastic.

                                                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                          Wow, I never thought of raccoons as being such garden pests. Around here, they wander the street but I never see them in the back yard. Maybe the pitbull helps.

                                                                                                                          I did have one incident where I went out to my car very late at night to grab something. I was looking down as I walked, then got to my car and looked up and this HUGE raccoon was just sitting there on the hood of my car. I was right in front of it, and kind of stunned. We just looked at each other for a long time. I realized it wasn't going to go anywhere, so I turned around and went back inside. Smug little bastard.

                                                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                            Racoons are in my garden all the time but they're after the Japanese Beetle grubs, not the plants. Unfortunately, they aren't mindful of the plants and have no problem digging them up or sitting on them to get to the grubs. I have to go out and replant things almost daily when the plants are small. Once they get established they aren't so vulnerable but the raccoons will still dig right to the bottom of the raised beds and leave the entire side of a root ball exposed.

                                                                                                                            I'm thankful that they help with pest control but wish they didn't do so much damage.

                                                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                              I had the same raccoon problem 2 years ago. I plant tomatoes using black plastic sheeting for mulch, perforated to let water into the soil. The raccoons discovered that if they ripped out a plant, they had access to worms. I lost several plants before I started using a giant hav-a-hart trap.

                                                                                                                              Last year I made a yard wide border of fall leaves thick around the garden. The raccoons dug in the leaves and stayed off the plastic. It's working this year, too. A couple times a week I rake the leaves smooth and there are always lots of holes dug in them after a day or two.

                                                                                                                              1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                I get lots of holes in the garden bed too but I'm pretty sure it's actually the birds, digging for worms. At least that's what I observe.

                                                                                                                                I am disgusted to report that I saw a rat near my garage. A RAT! In my yard! He looked right at me like "Howdy neighbor!" and I couldn't believe my eyes for a minute.

                                                                                                                                I hope it's not him, but my block is completely surrounded by corn fields. Already something nibbled one of my baby kale plants bare. Living in the boondocks is not for the faint of heart.

                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                  'Living in the boondocks is not for the faint of heart'

                                                                                                                                  AMEN!!

                                                                                                                                  I'm on 2 acres and have a ditch/spillway (call it whatever you want) on the north side of the property. I don't work out there without my gun because of the copperheads & water moccasins!

                                                                                                                  2. re: coll

                                                                                                                    That is too funny! Sorry but that really made me laugh out loud. What a PITA for you.

                                                                                                                    I agree it's time to try the radio.

                                                                                                        2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                          Mix teriyaki sauce and oil in containers like yogurt containers and set them in the garden bed so the top is level with the soil. Earwigs drown themselves by the hundreds in it. Empty, fill again, repeat.

                                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                            Awesome, thanks! I'm going to test this out today.

                                                                                                          2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                            oh I hate earwigs. I dream not in a good way, of them.
                                                                                                            called our DD about 2 months ago and she was crying. I asked what was wrong and she told me she was dying of pain from having to go to the ER because in the middle of the night she woke up in sheer pain with an earache like never before, went to hospital where they found an earwig in her head. had gone up through her ear. by the time they put a solution in there all the while she was in crazy pain, it crawled out not liking the solution. the after pain and fright still plagues her however.

                                                                                                            sorry you've got those buggers buggin you too. they're a pesky problem.

                                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                              That sounds like a monster movie! All I've ever got from them is a pinch.

                                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                Those are the kinds of stories that horrify me. My mom is an ENT (ear nose throat) surgeon and she told me similar stories growing up (earwigs, spiders, cockroaches, beetles, etc.).

                                                                                                                Occasionally I find an earwig crawling up the bedroom wall and I cannot sleep until it's dead.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                    I'm sorry JTP, unfortunately I felt worse hearing it from a daughter. wanted to cry for her.

                                                                                                                    1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                      Me too. One that haunted me, even through med school, featured a tape worm that was brought up by a drop of milk on the tongue. Not thinking it reallyhappened, but that's how I remeber it.

                                                                                                                      Hope il Divo and his daughter's memory have a happy ending.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                        Before we get flagged, I have one from mom. A teenage girl had gone to Africa on safari with her family and returned with what she thought was the biggest, most inflamed pimple on her forehead. She finally came in to have it drained. My mother sliced into it to find dozens and dozens of maggots (larvae). A fly had laid eggs inside one of her pimples.

                                                                                                                        My mother's been practicing for 30 years now but she said that one made her lose her appetite for the rest of the day.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                          thanks Shrinkrap, ID and HER daughter and both doing well.
                                                                                                                          she shutters though and now retires to bed with a small cotton swab in each ear.

                                                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                            "now retires to bed with a small cotton swab in each ear."

                                                                                                                            Does she really? Every night?

                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                  we'd bought a kiddie pool at WalMarchay years ago for the dogs to wade it but they decided it was more fun to chew on and ruin than wade it, sooooooooooo, it became filled with soil and planted with seeds. mostly herbs but the tomatoes worked too.

                                                                                                                2. re: coll

                                                                                                                  Coll, I'm not sure where you are...have you started hardening off your plants yet?

                                                                                                                  1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                    Yes for the last couple of weeks, but it's so windy and most days not much over 60 degrees, so I almost fear I'm doing them more harm than good. Last few days left them in the front window instead, just cracked open.

                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                      I'm in the same boat with temperatures though it should warm up a bit mid-week to start putting them out for an hour or two. I've been turning the fan on the plants for a few hours a day to get the stems ready for real world conditions. Soil temp was surprisingly 60 degrees at the garden, so we're good there..just waiting for the night temps. to moderate.

                                                                                                                3. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                  wow I have tomato envy right now tomatoes are months and months away here

                                                                                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                    The little red ripe tomatoes from the front porch's smaller plant were picked yesterday and put into a salad. My boyfriend *hates* raw tomatoes but I made him eat them. He said they were far and away the best tomatoes he's ever had, and he picked them out of the salad and went so far as to wipe the salad dressing off before popping them into his mouth. He then asked if there were any more ready for picking. I couldn't believe it.

                                                                                                                    Wish I knew what variety they were. I'll ask my mother when she gets back into town.

                                                                                                                    Hope your tomatoes bring you much joy when they're ready JT :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                      haha - I *hated* fresh tomatoes for most of my life - because the tomatoes on sandwiches and burgers and salads were always so gross - I did not realize that I was also missing out on garden tomatoes - I still wont eat supermarket tomatoes raw unless they are marinated or made into salsa or something - but fresh *real* tomatoes are so amazing.

                                                                                                                      I am not sure what 3 of the 7 varieties I planted are - just that they are beefsteak types and theoretically heirlooms but they got all mixed up when I picked them and the branches were tangled so I am not even sure of that - its going to be an unfolding mystery watching them grow. then I have genovesese ribbed, mr stripey, roma and a tiny currant size one - at least that's I what I think.

                                                                                                                4. Planted this weekend: Sweet Million cherries, then the rest beefsteak, Big Boy, Beefmaster, Big Beef, Parks Whopper, Mr. Stripey, Cherokee Purple, German Johnson. I wish I planted Mortgage Lifter but I couldn't find any starter plants.

                                                                                                                  1. yesterday, bought 3 kinds of tomatoes, 1 basket each, grape/cherry plus a couple more of the vine ripened big guys. ate a few slices for breakfast but harvested some seeds. I'll get some dirt from the compost pile and proof my seeds next few days. put seeds on wet paper towel, slip into zipper bag, and put on window sill in kitchen to pop seeds.

                                                                                                                    1. Not tomatoes, but I picked these up at the ...wait for it....GYM last night. somebody had left CARTONS of freshly dug onions of various varieties. The largest onion on the left weighed more than two pounds! So I race home (after the workout), and look up onions in one of the vegetable cookbooks that was mentioned here in the last few months. I turn to onions, and in the first page, mention of my small town! There used to be some major onion processing here.

                                                                                                                      (My garlic scapes and sweet peas)

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                        Wow what a monster. I just got a 1 pounder (red) from the grocery store and thought it was the biggest onion I'd ever seen.

                                                                                                                        Looks like oniony things are in your dining future.

                                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                          I just saw the most gorgeous beef shin bones at BJs and was wishing I had the makings of a pot of onion soup. Not even dreaming of extreme local variety.

                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                            I thought of onion soup as well. So far I made a frittata, but I had some stock going, so I put some in a bowl and added some roasted onion and broiled some cheese on top.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                              You could just carmelize them and freeze for future fun!

                                                                                                                      2. Last night I hosted a BBQ for about 10 friends. As we were firing up the grill outside with drinks in hand, one friend noticed my overgrown tomato plant and asked if they were any good. I said "Yeah." Conversation turned to other things but he was fixated on the tomatoes. So I picked a couple handfuls, came inside and sliced them up, sprinkled with salt and pepper. I tossed in some torn basil leaves from the porch.

                                                                                                                        The tomatoes were passed around the table and everyone remarked on how "amazing" they tasted. People were wolfing them down, even the ones who said they didn't much like raw tomatoes.

                                                                                                                        I guess the tomatoes this year are great here! No idea what kind they are. I picked up the plant from a local gardening center. They are some sort of organic cherry tomato, red, about 1.5" in size. There are hundreds more ripening on my 4 foot wide plant.

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                          I can only dream of 4ft wide tomato plants. You are so lucky!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                            I agree! I'd send you a basket full if I could :)

                                                                                                                        2. We got a late start on the garden here so ours have only been in for about a month. We were still below freezing some nights in April. I have yellow tomatoes in cherry and plum varieties and red plums, cherry and beefsteaks. I think I have about a dozen plants all together, can't wait for canning season.

                                                                                                                          1. found some lurking little volunteer baby toms while gardening this weekend - I am assuming they are roma and cherry from their locations - 2 can stay where they are and hopefully survive the rest were clustered so I dug them out and separated - now in little pots I need to make space for them - I always try to keep a few volunteers to see what I get in the tomato genetics lottery.

                                                                                                                            31 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                              Last year 2 volunteers survived and bore fruit. neither were varieties I had planted the previous year, so may be spontaneous hybrids. The pink sort of plum actually grew in the weeds next to the tomato bed. These were the first volunteers in many years to have edible fruits, so I saved seeds from each and planted one plant of each variety this year. Both were the most vigorous of my seedlings, and one has flower buds 2 weeks after transplanting into the garden, so it is far ahead of all my other varieties. I hope the fruit tastes good, because if it does I'm saving more seeds.

                                                                                                                              1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                volunteers are always fun - who knows maybe you develop your own heirloom - one year I had a volunteer produce rather well in the shade - not the best tomatoes but edible - it was from foreign compost so I don't know the origin - last year my volunteers were all roma type, I - all but one of the varieties I planted this year were from saved seeds - it will be interesting to see what I get - they were heirloom (except one maybe) but plenty of room for error, cross pollination, mis-labeling. I was a bit confused on what variety was what by the end of last summer and the vines were tangled - so I don't really know what to expect - that's sort of the fun of it though.

                                                                                                                                I am surprised that I got any volunteers this year given that I turned the garden and pots more aggressively and that we had a real killer of a winter - I will definitely save seeds if they produce something good.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                  All of my volunteers so far seem to be cucumbers or melons....too early to tell.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                    That made me laugh. I have *something* that has popped up all over the area where I used one particular batch of bokashi compost. It appears to be some kind of squash, I'm hoping for butternut! :)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                      The volunteers did end up being butternut squash and they are EVERYWHERE in my beds. I'm letting several of them run rampant. :)

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                    2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                      suddenly a ton of what appear to be little cucumber volunteers have sprouted in one of my big planters - I am guessing cukes because I had them there last year - possible they did not cross with anything weird but who knows - I will let a few grow out for fun - one year I had this crazy bumpy gourd looking squash take over my garden - winding its way through everything - but the fruits were actually pretty mild and ate like summer squash

                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                        I had a cuke going south so instead of chucking it-scooped seeds planted and 'something' is occurring in the pots ;:-/
                                                                                                                                        future cuke plants? hope so....

                                                                                                                                        wondering is anyone knows why my 3 year old pomegranate tree from Lowe's has never produced a single fruit? it gets few buds that fall off or maybe get eaten by critters but not so much as one red beauty.
                                                                                                                                        there is a single pom tree 4 houses up the street and it fruits like crazy.
                                                                                                                                        does it need food? gets plenty of water.
                                                                                                                                        is planted under an evergreen that does provide shade but it's fully outside in the sun. anyone.......

                                                                                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                          Your pom is still a juvenile tree. They usually start producing the 4th year but drop the fruits and then start producing for real when they are 5. I've been doing a lot of reading about them lately- mine is also 3 and I'm impatient.

                                                                                                                                          They don't like a lot of food or water. They LOVE sun. Lots of sun. I don't know what area of the country you're in but they like heat, too.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                            thanks weez

                                                                                                                                            I had no idea they need to be old to fruit. I did no reading myself-our new Kaiser hospital has planted them this is second year-the bushes are small and fruit like crazy although smallish poms. I'll be patient and we'll give a few more years

                                                                                                                                          2. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                            I have a fig tree that I grew from a twig five or six years ago and it only just made its first baby fig this year. Also my magnolia that I bought at a very high end nursery, and which came with flowers on it, never made any more flowers for at least five years. But when it did, it went wild. Five years seems to be the charm!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                              Fruit trees definitely take several years to produce. My mother bought a fig tree when I was in high school, since she's Greek and loves figs but they cost upwards of $6 for a little basket when in season.

                                                                                                                                              That thing eventually started making so many figs, and grew so large, that it was damaging the exterior of the house! She just had it removed after 10 years of loyal service and replaced with a hybrid peach tree.

                                                                                                                                              Similarly, when my younger brother was maybe 4 or 5, he grabbed half of an avocado pit from my mother's guacamole at a BBQ. He scurried off and dug a shallow hole and planted it next to the garage. Nobody noticed the thing growing for the first few years, as it was amidst some bushes.

                                                                                                                                              Fast forward 20 years later and they have this avocado tree that is taller than their 2 story house. It produces avocados constantly by the hundreds. Like, literally hundreds. It's a scurry to get to them before they go bad and fall on their own. My mother brings garbage bags full of them to work to share.

                                                                                                                                              The tree's roots have damaged the foundation of the garage.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                    You're killing me, nothingswrong! Fruit trees, giant tomato plants!

                                                                                                                                                    As a plant lover, I am so jealous of California!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                  I have avocado trees growing all in pots around the house for years but no fruit yet. of course maybe that's because they get snowed on every year. 120• during summer regarding the poms so plenty of heat in my Southern California home.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                    I can't remember exactly how long it took for the avocado tree to start making fruit. Seems like it took a while, maybe even 10 years or so.

                                                                                                                                                    Last Christmas when all the "kids" were home, my brothers peer pressured me into climbing a ladder on top of the garage and knocking avocados down to them with a baseball bat and other longer reaching devices. We ended up with bags and bags full of avocados.

                                                                                                                                                    I agree with coll--you won't be sorry when your trees all start producing!

                                                                                                                                                2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                  I finally last year got any reasonable amount of production from my fig last year - this year's winter killed the "hardy" fig down to its roots - it is sending up new sprouts vigorously but I assume It will be years for figs again - will wrap it for the future -

                                                                                                                                                  I also have a cutting from my great grandfather's fig tree that I brought inside so it survived but again will probably be years to fruit.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                    thanks coll I'll wait for year 5

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                      You won't be sorry! The first fruits are such a thrill.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                        Anxiously awaiting the maturing of my pom tree--it's 3 years old now. Produces beautiful flowers, but no fruits. Hope we'll still live here once it produces!

                                                                                                                                                        Tomatoes are beginning to turn red, plus I planted more sweet 100s, which last year produced like mad.

                                                                                                                                                        Have 4" eggplants and 3" cucumbers, so they'll be ready soon.

                                                                                                                                                        The green beans are flowering.

                                                                                                                                                        Can't wait for full-on tomato season!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                          Up here, my peas are just making flowers, plan to stake them up this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                          Gord damm I wish I could grow avocados here, but alas, I have no greehouse to protect it from the hottest and coldest parts of our climate, which is what it would need. I want a Bacon or Mexicola avocado, but the place we've ben living for the last ten years isn't as plant-friendly as our last home, which is maybe four blocks away. Go figure.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                            I can do the avo trees but with extreme heat and extra lows which come with snow, they will never turn into anything other than the leaves I use for flavor. sad to say, coming from Camarill, the avocada capital of my universe where my bestie would toss the avo's at her barking dogs :(

                                                                                                                                                            side bar forgive: what happens after the crookneck squash blossoms fall off or are eaten, do they still make the little yellow guys? or do I have thieves in that part of the front porch, like the Quail and her baby's on my porch when I got home yesterday, looking alarmingly guilty

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                              only the female squash blossoms make a squash - they have the little baby squash at their base - if pollinated it will grow into a squash - the male blossom just falls of.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                thanks for the answer, now I'd better go check and see if I have any girls in there. I thought I'd seen a tiny little crookneck baby a week or so ago but now it's gone.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                  I found my first girly pumpkin today - I am going to have to keep an eye on her. Last year my squash were not happy and the fruits never matured - they would appear then shrivel and die - not sure what was wrong there I think I picked the wrong varieties - this year they seem happier.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                    cr@ppaz@ppa-
                                                                                                                                                                    not home it's up to hubster to water & care for which I'm sure he's all but forgotten about-

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm pretty sad as there is nothing going on in that terra cotta pot where I was hoping for a massive amount of yellow crooknecks. got home Monday morning at 3:30 because the banquet never wanted to end. the appearance of my squash looked so dry and dead when I finally got up and checked later in the morning. this is my venture so I can't get annoyed too much at hubby since it's not important for him to check, but alas all blossoms are gone and leaves are withering away. I was under the impression that if you even dumped a part of a cut fresh zuke into soil and watered it, it'd give you mounds of more of them after they went from seeds to greenery, guess not.
                                                                                                                                                                  where are the boys when you need them?

                                                                                                                                                                  on a good note though, my tomato plant with the few blossoms, the only one that has blossoms at all, also have 4 tinsey little Roma tomatoes just peeping through. pretty funny that I can see what kind of toms they are just by the shape.

                                                                                                                                                3. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                                  One of the volunteers' offspring is now the first to flower and is the tallest and strongest of all my plants. I really hope the fruit tastes good!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                                    That's cool - I am interested to see what come of the volunteers this year - I am quite mystified to many of their origins - hopefully something good and worth growing out and stabilizing - looking for something that can withstand my black thumb and pestilent garden.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                                      The seedling from last year's volunteer went into the garden May 9. Yesterday I harvested the first tomatoes of the year from that plant: 3 largish cherry tomatoes, deep yellow with a blush of red. Very good flavor, especially for a yellow. The plant itself is almost seven feet tall!

                                                                                                                                                      I have noticed bumble bees cross pollinating the tomato plants. I figure there will be hybridization in many of my saved seeds. Every year, an adventure.

                                                                                                                                                4. Well, I resigned myself to the fact that I waaaayyyyyy overbought and wont be able to build more raised beds in time for all of the baby tomato plants that were no longer babies and needed to either be planted or tossed in the compost so I went ahead and crowded them all into one bed. I figure as long as I can keep them alive and healthy I can use them to root cuttings for fall planting.

                                                                                                                                                  On a happy note, my Black from Tula, Momotaro, Cherokee Purple and San Diego all have beautiful green fruits on them and tons more blossoms. My Black Cherry plants are loaded and some are starting to ripen. :) I hope they all hurry, I'm about to be up to my eyeballs in eggplant and they go so well together!

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                    Last year our San Diego tomatoes were exceptionally good--didn't find 'em early this season at the nursery--may need another trip there!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                      I bought it after reading how well you liked them on a past thread. I got *one* plant, apparently they have developed quite a following in this area for doing well and tasting great and they were one of the first varieties to sell out at my local indie nursery. I just picked the first red one, leaving it on the counter for a day or 2 to finish ripening. It was low to the ground and exposed so I grabbed it before a raccoon did.

                                                                                                                                                  2. I am in the great Pacific Northwest so we are a bit behind. I expect to see some small green fruits on my early girl plants next week though.

                                                                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                        My fingers are crossed for the sun sugar plant that I bought at the Salem farmers market. I hear those tomatoes are the best.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                        I'm only just starting to flower and only on 1 bush.
                                                                                                                                                        hope they all start soon.

                                                                                                                                                        any particular food they like to be fed? I've used the tomato stick spike things before but see no reason to continue, didn't do a dang thing.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                          Miracle Grow is what I use. It does make a difference.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                            I have miracle grow so it's time to mix up a batch of the blue stuff and start the process, thanks coll

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                              Try an organic fertilizer (I like the -Tone brand). Your soil (and the myriad microorganisms it should be harboring, but likely isn't if you are using harsh chemicals) will thank you.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the reminder! I just applied some Tomato-tone to my containers.

                                                                                                                                                                Taller plant (left): Mighty 'Mato San Marzanos
                                                                                                                                                                Smaller plant (right): yellow pears
                                                                                                                                                                Single 'mato: (San Marzano)
                                                                                                                                                                cluster: yellow pears

                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                  thanks for the help gourmanda, but I am sorry to admit I don't understand this post of yours (like at all). what I did understand is that I need to get tone, hopefully it's at Lowe's or Home Depot?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                    Call first. The Home Depots and Lowe's in my area don't carry Tomato-Tone though they do carry other products by Espoma.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry. Espoma makes a line of organic fertilizers such as Garden-tone, Plant-tone, Tomato-tone, etc. In the long run these are better for your plants and soil as they are made from natural ingredients and contribute beneficial microbes to the soil. Good microbes and bugs in the soil are helpful to a plant's growth and production. The good guys are killed off by harsh chemical fertilizers like Miracle Gro. I buy the Espoma brand products at a local garden center, I'm not sure if a Lowe's or Home Depot would carry them. Note that the organic fertilizers are not an instant fix. There are other organic fertilizer options out there--a lot of people like to use fish and/or kelp & seaweed.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                the crookneck squash is blooming with lots of flowers but am concerned that the little tiny baby's just peeking their heads out are dropping off, any idea what causes that? over water, snails, lack of veg food? I'm stumped.
                                                                                                                                                                TIA

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                  Same thing happened to me with my zucchini and yellow crook plants. They grew huge, bloomed like crazy, and there were a good 15 tiny little veggies growing from each plant. Next thing you know, they had all disappeared, and I only got 2 zucchini total before I had to pull them. They grew so large, they were taking over the entire garden but weren't producing at all.

                                                                                                                                                                  I've just started over with 2 new plants, which are small but already flowering. Hope it goes better this time. Last 2 years, I've had zucchini up to my eyeballs, so I don't think it's the soil, pests, or sun.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                    il divo, lack of pollination causes that. Try planting marigolds or other flowers near the zucchini to attract bees, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                      I had the same thing happen, although my zucchini plants weren't huge. I got 7-8 flowers on each one starting to bud, but then dropped off. A few of them opened up before dropping, but the others fell off as buds. Any idea what caused this? My plan was to wait until a few opened and then cross pollinate with a small brush, but I didn't even get a chance to do that.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                                                        Male blossoms drop after they have opened and released their pollen, female blossoms drop because of lack of pollination or cool weather. Also, make sure it isn't overwatered.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                                                          my zucchini did that all last year - I think I got two fruits off of 3 plants - it was so frustrating to watch them flower and never fruit - hoping for a better year with them - they are not in the best spot in my garden but I had been successful there in the past.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                          you mean we should have left the 10' bee hive alone that had taken over the attic?

                                                                                                                                                                          we have bees but maybe not enough of them. there are flowers galore and they love the lavender, sage and rosemary flowers, they're always eating at them.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm in Eastern Washington and you're ahead of me if you're already seeing fruits. I purchased my starts from a local woman that specializes in growing tomatoes (this year she had 6500!) The were probably 5" tall when I transplanted them into my garden Mother's Day weekend. Most just started flowering last week.

                                                                                                                                                                      This year I planted:
                                                                                                                                                                      Purple Brandywine
                                                                                                                                                                      Old Flame
                                                                                                                                                                      Orange Russian
                                                                                                                                                                      German Red Strawberry

                                                                                                                                                                      They're all growing quite well, but I just put in an easy deep watering system using perforated pipes in anticipation of hotter temperatures coming soon. Last year was the crop was sad, I got a total of maybe 10 tomatoes from my four plants. I'm crossing my fingers for a good crop this year. The guy that cuts our grass says he's going to start bringing his salt shaker with him once they start getting ripe. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    3. Just picked these guys from my big plant out back. Also, one little zucchini from my dying zucchini plant...

                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                        You still have LOTS of time to get another zucchini plant going. :)

                                                                                                                                                                        What kind of tomatoes?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                          I was planning on pulling the zucchini today, so I picked up a new one last night, plus a crookneck yellow squash. Stuck 'em in the ground about an hour ago, along with a red bell pepper plant.

                                                                                                                                                                          The tomatoes are some sort of cherry... no idea... I didn't grow them from seed, and the label they came with didn't specify. Got them from a small local gardening center that has really great organically grown fruits, veggies, and herbs.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I have a plot in my workplace's community garden, the plot next to mine was more or less abandoned last fall, but one tomato plant sprang up and got my attention. I watered and fertilized it, and since we had such a mild winter, it stayed alive and is now producing lots of strangely colored and shaped big cherry tomatoes. I have no idea what type it is, but it has to be an heirloom variety. It gives me 5-15 tomatoes daily, minus what the farking birds ruin. By the way, I live in the Sonoran desert, which is brutally hot and dry. Cherry tomatoes are the best choices for here- less surface area to burn.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm starting with Old German and Stupice, which worked well for me a few years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. so suddenly my garden is awash in tomato volunteers - I had a few I was nurturing along - I always find the volunteers fun but now there are tons sprouting up - it must be the heat.

                                                                                                                                                                            I have no idea what varieties they may be as I moved around and remixed all of my mix

                                                                                                                                                                            with a avg first frost of 10/28 can I expect them to make it to maturity and produce?

                                                                                                                                                                            I hope if I save some they will make it to maturity - will try to rescue one from each location to see what I get

                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                You've got plenty of time for them to produce. Some varieties will give you fruit in as little as 45 days.

                                                                                                                                                                                Because these are volunteers there is no guarantee they will produce. But...you may end up with a whole new variety of tomato that is better than any before it. It just depends on the two varieties that came together to produce the seed that sprouted.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                  its fun to see

                                                                                                                                                                                  this year is a mystery garden anyway because all but one variety are from saved seeds - but my documentation was a bit lacking so I am not entirely quite sure what variety each is - and while Heirlooms are fairly likely to self pollinate my garden is small so there is no guarantee

                                                                                                                                                                                  I am mostly out of room but I will try to grow out a handful of these little guys to see what I get

                                                                                                                                                                                  last year I got plum tomatoes as volunteers - the year before it they came up from compost and seemed like a bushy commercial variety - but one even produced in mostly shade

                                                                                                                                                                                  I like the genetic lottery of tomatoes I wish I could grow all of them out.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                    You never know. Maybe you will grow a tomato that cures cancer.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                      I will just be happy if I can keep them alive til harvest - I like to grow things but I am not very good at it.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm glad for volunteers as well.
                                                                                                                                                                                  happy my flat leaf parsley comes up every year and all year.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. I could not help myself and bought two plants this weekend - a Cherokee Purple and a German Queen - and "rescued" a handful of the volunteers - so I am now beyond tomato capacity for sure - I found some of the little volunteers a new home with some neighbors and may just have to put some out on the curb to be snatched up.

                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                    It's easy to think "I'll never have enough tomatoes--just one more plant". Happens to me every year :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                                      yes it is a dangerous trap when you have a row house if all goes well my back yard will be a tomato jungle by the end of summer ;) Because most of my plants are from saved seed and now volunteers I justified my additions by the fact that I needed some sure things - and I did not have a potato leaf or purple variety - (hoarder mentality for sure)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                                        just myself found 4 going south tomatoes.
                                                                                                                                                                                        got out a pot with compost and supersoil and stuck 'em all in there. gave them a good good water and who knows I just may get some plum maters..........hope so

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. now the volunteers have officially gotten out of hand - there is a tomato plant growing out of a crevice near my front door - nowhere near the garden - and another in the tree pit on my sidewalk- craziness - I will have to save the tree pit tomato just for its gumption - that's a rough spot to grow anything

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Two plants got their first flowers today :) a cherry tom and what I am pretty sure is a red slicing variety - also the pumpkins are flowering too

                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                          when did you plant your pumpkin seeds if you don't mind my asking, dang, I have pumpkin seeds still in the package.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                            I started them from seed same time as the tomato - in little pellets - and transplanted outside at the same time as well - I cant remember the exact date - I probably should have just stuck them in the ground though - and I mixed them up so I have no idea which is which now - 2 varieties of pumpkin - white and and smaller orange and one variety of summer squash

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                            My pumpkins are growing! I planted one seed several months ago and it's slowly grown across its plot. It's probably 4" long now. Today while watering, I spied tons of blooms and maybe 6 or 7 baby pumpkins about 1-2" big. So excited!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                Oops, I meant the pumpkin plant is 4 FEET long, not 4 inches. Lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. My sunsugar plant has five small green fruit on it. My early girl still only has blossoms, but a ton of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Picked a handful of tomatoes today from my behemoth backyard plant. There are still dozens left to be picked. Roasted them in the oven to add to pasta. They are not that good IMO but guests have liked them. The tomatoes growing on the porch are much better.

                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Two things...

                                                                                                                                                                                                Can anyone tell me what these yellow rings on my tomatoes are? They appear on almost every single one, in the same place, in a ring around the stem. I'm assuming it's from the sun, but just wondering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Two, I have pumpkins!

                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Offhand the ring looks like damage caused by stinkbug injury (stinkbug cloudy spot) but better you should call or email your own local extension office. We're in the northeast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I am confessing,...so I watered today - I know I am not supposed to as I watered Yesterday but it is going to be 93! I have trouble finding balance here - I don't want to over water but I don't want them to fry either :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some plants have their first flowers :) hopefully the heat does not knock em off - still so far away from a juicy ripe tomato.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just got a full grown beefsteak plant at my local discount store for $9.95, if I knew earlier in the season I wouldn't have planted so many tomatoes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                      gad JTP, me too. I have flowers that I'm actually counting. but only so far on 1 tomato plant. I too over water, but when I'm not home from early early morning till late late late at night, hubby doesn't water that I know of as it's not his thing along with all else that is his thing. I just don't want all this work go to waste and really am craving a ruby red juicy tomato.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                        yes - all week what happens in the garden is a big mystery I check on it early morning and at dusk - or sometimes with a flashlight. Its amazing what happens when you are not looking - massive growth, sudden death, infestations etc. Its always a surprise out there - maybe why I like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I now have little green fruits on my sun sugars, early girls, Carolina gold, and red pears tomatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Yay the first baby Toms have arrived on one of my cherry plants - and the others are flowering away - cant wait for the first red ripe bite - cukes seems to have appeared from nowhere and the grapes are about to ripen . This week is looking warm sunny and dry - good news for the growing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Those are tomatoes?! Looks like grapes there are so many.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                                                            no those are grapes tomatoes are the tiny ones in the first pick

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the clarification. I thought I was losing my mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. This weekend I potted the last of the rescued volunteers - they are still so little I hope they have time to grow and make tomatoes - here are the little guys getting a soak after potting up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://youtu.be/sgpfhcbWlUk

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Has anyone tried the hybrid Phoenix? If so I'd love to hear what you thought about it. I'm getting ready to plant another round of tomatoes and grabbed one yesterday- wondering if I should get more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The pic I posted on WFD was a Phoenix. Get more. I will repost the pic here for anyone interested. Nice sweet acidic and tender skins. And the plant I got was pretty prolific.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks Suzi! I grabbed another one yesterday (And another yellow squash... and a kirby cucumber.... and more compost..... and......)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                BRW, if you see this today.... it's 20% off day at Big Lots (Sunday July 13,) so stock up on Badia and see what they have let in the garden section. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My Phoenix plant is positively loaded with large green tomatoes right how! I'm glad I got a few that are good for setting fruit at high temps with the heat we've had lately. My winter tomatoes are still in pots on the porch waiting to be planted out, it's still much too hot for those.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those Phoenix tomatoes are very tasty. You'll be glad you got them when they ripen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. finally starting to see some tomato like objects - i feel so far behind, next year i definitely need to add some early varieties

                                                                                                                                                                                                                the first two of the volunteers have started to fruit and look like they will be grape tomatoes which is interesting because I had only one grape plant last year and it died a very early death I would be surprised if these were its seedlings but it could be

                                                                                                                                                                                                                some of the beefsteaks and the costoluto have begun setting fruit too - hopefully they keep it up - not pictured some round cherries from last years seed are also starting to produce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                if these gape tomatoes taste good the seeds are def. keepers because they are growing super well with no problems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tomato seeds are viable for years in seed packets. Perhaps they are able to hold a year or two before germinating in the garden, too. Your volunteer may be a ghost of summers past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I've never had such a poor year for tomatoes. Admittedly it's the first year we've had a garden since we moved to this area last summer. My tomato plants have grown fine but I've only gotten a handful of fruits from 2 of my cherry tomato plants and all my other varieties have not given up anything. They have lots of foliage but I haven't seen any flowers even. Not sure what's going on. Maybe we just didn't get them in early enough before we hit the no fruit hot temps. We did have a late spring and we've had a ton of rain. Already hit our normal amount for the YEAR by June.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm hoping I see some fruit once it cools off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  26 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You might need to have a soil test done. What you're describing is soil high in nitrogen (lush green plants but no fruit of flowers,) but lacking in other nutrients. I happens to people using regular fertilizers like Miracle Gro too(are you fertilizing with something tomato specific?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My tomatoes went from fabulous to pathetic (for a different reason than yours,) so I'm ramping up for fall planting. I have a few in pots on the porch where they get morning sun but are protected from the currently brutal afternoon sun for a few more weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well my whole garden ( even the non tomato plants) were all staying small and barely growing after planting but we had a really late spring, lots of rain, cloudy days and lower than normal temps. The garden plot was lawn before this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So I started using Miracle Grow but I've used it only twice. I'm using the kind with the sprayer feeder. My plants grew much better plus temps stayed up and we had more sun. My okra still stayed small but is growing now, no flowers on it but I've had lots of yellow wax beans, peppers ( the pepper plants are really small though) and my zucchini plants are huge and prolific and I've had lots of pickling cucumbers. The peas aren't even 6 inches tall and they were planted with everything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think the late spring plus late planting didn't give our tomatoes a change to really grow and flower before the heat hit when they don't set fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My tomatoes stink ths year. They are so short! The cherries, which are normally huge are pathetic. Two feet tall. I have picked 4 cherries so far. My corn is strangely stumpy also, 3ft tall and already have tassels! I have no idea what is going on. Also, my beans that were supposed to be pole turned out to be bush. Now I have this giant wood teepee with nothing growing on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I lost half my oregano in this bad winter we had, so my harvest was limited. Only thing doing really good is my mint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have so many tomato plants in pots and exactly 1 of them have flowers and fruits in small form so far. very disappointing-I feel your pain too ~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        very discouraging indeed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm having a challenging year for my tomatoes too. They got off to a great start, then we had a period of wet weather and some of the plants developed early blight. I got that taken care of, but now the temps are consistently in the 90s and my plants are dropping all their blossoms. I have probably about 30-40 fruits going, but all the new flowers are drying up and falling off by the dozens. It breaks my heart to see how many potential tomatoes I'm losing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm having the dropping blossom thing on the big plant I bought too; glad I kept it on the front porch, away from the others. The four tomatoes that were already growing are coming along, we ate the first that just turned red last night but it was sort of disappointing to tell the truth. Not juicy at all, unless I picked it too soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You're a lot further along than me if yours are getting ripe already. All mine are still quite green. What a bummer that your first tomato wasn't good. I guess there's no sure thing when it comes to gardening, well, maybe with the exception of zucchini. :) My first tomato of the season is a German Red Strawberry that is now just over 14 inches around, a giant compared to the others on the same plant. I've been anxiously waiting to see signs of ripening, but it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I stumbled upon a giant tomato plant being sold at a local grocery store, when I spotted it a month ago it already had four nice size tomatoes. And lots of flowers, none of which have come to fruition. I keep trying to imagine where they got it from.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here are a couple of pix from when I got it in mid June. Still growing taller and more leaves, but no more tomatoes so far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  boy am I jealour gmm, that is gorgeous

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  yes that may be the case coll. hope they get juicy for you though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  wonder if anyone uses their tomatoes in the still green stage for fried green tomatoes? love those things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  all I have going still is one big pot with plum tomatoes but still in the infant stage, biggest one being 3/4". long way to go.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was hoping for big or better boy or giant tomatoes that I can use in the green stage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for reminding me, if things get dire. I have a bunch of more normal tomatoes in back, and the farm around the corner, so we'll get by I guess. Just off to a bad start, and now the polar vortex is due mid week.....we'll see how it goes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had one decent sized green tomato with a big scar on one side, so I sacrificed that one and made fried green tomatoes for my dad. There's a farming community just outside of town here with various orchards and crops, that you can buy or pick yourself. This year one of them is selling green tomatoes, which is the first time I've seen them for sale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hate that for you gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know I feel the same way with my packaged seeds that didn't turn into squash at all but instead got great gorgeous squash blossoms only to all fall off or wilt off with no food growing. all of my plants that are food products or herbs are so slow to get going and the whole pot that got eaten eliminated my potential tomatoes too, very annoying and disheartening

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hate when squash do that - I have had this problem as well - trying to help along with hand pollinating

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      so far of 3 squash types I planted only the white pumpkin seems to want to make babies ARGH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm happy to report that I found a bunch of green tomatoes on some of my plants. I guess they were just hard to see with all the foliage and their small size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hope springs eternal - I have one plant 6' high without a single fruit ARGH its not the soil as both adjacent plants have fruit set

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        wow, 6 ft! Mine are probably half that size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If I was growing them for the beautiful foliage that would be great but this sucker does not want to make a tomato to save it's life - even the obstinate Mr Stripey has one tomato on it. UGH I am leaving it in to give it a chance to surprise me but I am tempted to rip it out to give some of the others more space

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the way the weather is here this week I probably should be growing bananas and papaya or something its like its monsoon season or something

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've heard that overfertilizing can cause lots of foliage but not much fruit. I did give my big one a shot of Miracle Gro right after I got it, but have held back since then. A second tomato is turning red right now, at least. I paid $9.95 for the plant; if I only get the four tomatoes that's some really expensive produce! With all the flowers it had, I thought I was going to get a bushel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and I have no doubt I am guilty of some over feeding - but the plants on both sides of this sucker - a cherry and a beefsteak - are both producing fruit and this plant shows no signs of nitrogen burn. Frustratingly it was the first to flower and the most vigorous grower. It is of dubious parentage - I blame its bad genes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                JT-Is this one of your "volunteers"? If so, I definitely blame the genes. If you were growing regular hybrids last year than who know what kind of seed they threw off. As for me, we are anxiously awaiting the ripening stage. I was advised on pruning methods this year and, even though I got started on it late, fingers crossed that we seem to be getting a lot of fruit set. Hope yours come through!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's one I started from seed but I was uncertain exactly who was who by the end of last summer's harvest - so it could of, should of, been a red-beefsteak heirloom - but it's possible I was mistaken and it was a hybrid beefsteak instead I had both planted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  while most of the volunteers are growing nicely they are still behind the plants started from seed so the jury is out but two are producing medium size pear shaped tomatoes on compact plants - hopefully they taste good too - if so they will be keepers for stabilizing as they are nice little early plants that seem happy in my yard and could fit in-between larger later varieties (I am suspecting they are determinate we will see)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think I'm more in the inches than feet :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              all the plants are pulled by vendors at the local nursery stores now. only Home Depot had tomatoes plants but the ladies working there didn't even know that today. they are all in 2 GAL containers and are all Early Girls. $15 each, I had 3 in my cart. talked to the two ladies who were surprisingly knowledgeable about all things tomatoes and also about my nonproducing zukes/squash. they didn't likes the looks of the toms they had there and said they had blight so not a good idea to buy those. it's all they had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the tomatoes that turned red today are cherry Roma tomatoes. was hoping they'd turn out to be full sized tomatoes as it's hard to make a tomato sandwich out of teeny cherry toms. guess it can be done though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That makes me think of this episode of Good Eats - fast fwd to 00:00:59 if you want to skip some of the chatter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/qui...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My sugar snap peas are still in the inches category. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                on the other hand I picked the first of my red okra today. It was really slow to sprout, we planted from seed, but it finally took off about a month ago. I've got a bunch more that will be ready to pick in the next day or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. All your pics make me jealous

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My tomatoes are definitely slow pokes this year - those that feel like making fruit at all are definitely taking their sweet time. One bunch of cherry tomatoes showed its first blush this morning so that gives me hope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. This year is the first time I've put any real effort into my tomatoes, putting in perforated pipes for watering, fertilizing, weeding, mulching and pruning. Started with 7 plants and added three more later because I thought I might lose a couple to early blight. I had to prune a few pretty heavily to get rid of the blighted leaves, so I just set up some floating row covers above the plants to give them a bit of sun protection from the 90°+ temps we've been having. I've haven't had any new fruit appear for a while because of the heat, and I thought I had 30-40 going, but I finally did a count today and I actually have about 80. I'm relieved that it won't be quite as expensive a crop as I thought it might be with the cost of the plants, stakes, pipes, fertilizer, copper spray and row cover. (Yes, I am a little obsessed this year.) And now I finally have signs of ripening!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (I can't figure out why my pic is so big, resized it as small as I could)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is the second ripening tomato from my plant on the front porch...I'm leaving it alone until it's squishy this time. Out back, I have one nice sized green fruit on my Black Krim, plus one on my Purple Cherokee and another on the Beefsteak. Meanwhile I've been filling in with Jersey tomatoes from the farmstand....not great, but better than grocery store.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              coll - do you have a Trader Joe's? I think their Kumatos (Kumatoes?) are quite good. I haven't been there in months so I'm not if they carry them year-round.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I live near tons of farm stands, and am being told the first tomatoes from their fields should be in this weekend. In the winter I try to do without, but if my husband insists, I get the Campari. When nothing else is growing, they taste decent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't buy produce at Trader Joes but I think my local grocery carries Kumatoes, are they the darkish looking ones?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They're kind of green/red/brownish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah I've seen them. They look sort of weird so never was tempted ;-) Maybe next winter....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They're beautiful. I bet they taste great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. some picks its been spotty so far but there is promise

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the first are some of the costoluto - they are the best I have 3 plants and they seem to be handling the heat and humidity well

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              next the beefsteaks which are from saved seed I think/hope are Mortgage Lifter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and finally the two volunteers that are producing are making some plum shaped tomatoes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Some sort of hybrid zebra or just green zebra?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. My sungold plant is about 8-9 feet high with tons of fruit. Have had a few small basket full so far but looks like a very bountiful harvest. I have the texas tomato cages with an extra extension so they have great support as long as we dont get big winds. My other heirloom plants do have some illness - leaves are yellowed and curled up. Have been spraying 'green cure' and hoping for the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Whee!!!!!!!! The first tomato picked yesterday! An absolutely delicious Nyagous. So very good. I just hope this cold summer doesn't interfere the ripening of all the other fruit still on the plant. Who else is harvesting now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've harvested two so far but I think I rushed it. One more on that particular plant but I'm waiting until it's squishy this time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Three so far for me. The first was a Brandywine that probably needed a couple more days and the next two were German Red Strawberries, good but not amazing. Several of the fruits are so heavy that they're causing the branch to bend where they attach to the main stem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. It's been 100+ for days now, but my ladies are still putting out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That looks like a nice crop! I was able to pick two Old Flames today that I didn't think were quite ripe. This is the first year I've tried this variety and wasn't sure what color they should be when ripe, but they felt soft enough. I ate one and it was fantastic, gave the other to my neighbor. I have several that are just starting to ripen, but we have several days that will be in the high 90s ahead so I'm not sure if that will speed up or stall them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you! Can you post pictures of the "Old Flames"? Here are some of my Principe Borghese in the process of sun-drying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              All my remaining Old Flames are still green right now. Even though I've got 4 different varieties and ten plants going, I only get one or two ripe ones at a time. But I will post when I've got some.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My harvest today - the Old Flame is the large one on the left. By far my favorite variety this year. Wonderful flavor and really pretty yellow and red color inside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  did you start from seed, sorry if you've already said, or a plant? gorgeous and must say envious :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I always buy starters. I've never had any luck growing anything from seed besides beans. We have this lady http://thetomatolady.com/ here, and she has thousands of seedlings every spring. I think her page said she had 6500 plants this year, and she has a good selection of heirlooms. She's wonderful about answering questions, or finding answers for you if she doesn't know the answer herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      thank you so much for that gmm.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll take a looksie at that link.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those are real purty! They remind me of pineapple,which unlike some bland bi-colors, are sort of sweet and fruity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Ugh, my tomatoes are getting worse, now 3 of plants look close to being dead and 2 more have curled leaves but are still green. The rest look fine but it all started with one plant looking bad. I've never had this happen in all my years of gardening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My okra and yellow wax beans are doing great though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Have you figured out if it's an insect or a fungal problem - that is aggravating and frustrating!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm so lost. I have no idea. I have the curling yellowing leaves and it looks like there are white spots under the leaves and the stems have a brownish spots. It was just one plant at first, now it's spread to two others that are next to it but my others in another row have been fine. Now one of them is starting to turn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On a positive note, my pepper plants while very small are prolific. I picked about a dozen red bell peppers, a handful of cayenne's and Anaheim's and 2 habanero today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Spots on the stems sounds like canker. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Google images will have some pics you can compare to. Don't compost those plants- bag them and trash them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a nice pdf with pictures and descriptions of common tomato ailments:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/h...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. So far, I've only picked 5 tomatoes from my Stupice plant, and 1 tomato from a Tumbler plant, and 1 other tomato from a plant whose label I misplaced. My Old German tomato plant has been flowering over the past month, but has very few green tomatoes as of yet, so I've started pinching off the suckers, which I haven't done in the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Anyone else notice a problem with tomatoes? I have harvested 6 tomatoes so far (different varieties) and bought some Brandywine Pink from the Farmer's Market. None were very tasty, just bland. No acid at all. The weather has not been optimal here for heat loving veggies this year, including my cukes. Everyone's corn is stunted, spoke to a farmer a bit north of me and they had corn problems too. Seems as though this year will be a downer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am so disappointed. We had a brutal winter and were dreaming of awesome summer tomatoes through those snowy days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes! The farm so far, and the first beefsteaks from the giant plant I picked up at the grocery. BUT! Last night I picked two more beefsteaks from the same plant and they had that flavor, and juiciness, finally. My other plants (tomato and otherwise), not much coming right now but usually August and September is when things start really happening around here on Long Island.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I bought some "jersey" tomatoes at the Italian Market a few weeks ago that were really excellent

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        hard to say for my own as the larger varieties are not ripe yet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cucumber and squash are miserable

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        but I don't think the weather here in Philly is ever really optimal - its always a struggle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Jerseys that showed up here were lackluster, and then the first local crop of the year (Fourth of Julys they're called) also not impressive. Like I said, even from my own plant, the tomatoes were not good last week but this week I left them on a few days longer and FINALLY got that tangy taste. Hallelujah!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did you wait until they were pretty soft? I think it's harder to judge the perfect ripeness with heirlooms. The first Brandywine I picked seemed ripe enough, but it was pretty bland. The two Old Flames I picked still had a touch of green, but were soft and they were perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes after the first two disappointing ones, I waited a few days longer than I thought I should. What we had last night (and tonight!) was what I was aiming for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, my San Marzanos are suffering from end rot--I have eaten but maybe two or three, the size of slightly oversized grape tomatoes. I blame the weather, too--and misery loves company, so thanks for letting me know I'm not alone. I'm in central CT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My yellow pears are doing OK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thankfully, local farm stands are keeping me stocked in tomatoes and everything else not cooperating in my little container garden on the deck this summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm having a challenging year with my tomato crop. First early blight, then excessive heat causing blossom drop. I put up some floating covers and it really seems to be helping. I've got flowers and fruit forming again even though it's been in the high 90s here. I got a few giants that were the first to grow that I'm still waiting to ripen, all the fruits after that are pretty small, probably because I had to prune away so many blighted leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I feel your pain. We harvested a combination of 12 tomatoes this week. Even my heirlooms are wishy washy. We are eating Mr Stripey and Parks Whopper on BLTs now but they pale compared to last year. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. much as I hate to say it think maybe from now on I'll just buy already growing plants. so disappointing. only have the mini Roma cherrys and they're lackluster. dang

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's what I decided after this year, too. Funny that this is all over the country and not just one area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I only grew starters this year after almost all my seed tomatoes last year died during the hardening off stage. No energy to try again this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now they are predicting another bad winter here in NJ. I love snow but Mother Nature is killing my farming ambitions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. My plants are mostly huge and the season has begun. Started harvesting a week ago. Cherokee Purple coming in nicely, Costoluto Fiorentino is producing the usual ugly tasty fruits, and Azoychka (yellow) is both early and has much better than average flavor for a yellow. Cherry varieties (red, yellow, brown) all giving a few per plant per day also. Most of the plants are growing faster than the leaf blight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My offspring from last year's volunteer plants are super large and covered with fruits. The small yellow ones are good, but the pink plum shaped fruits are somewhat dry. Both are prolific. If the size of the plants and the number of green tomatoes are a good measure of success, I may keep them for next year. Both are early for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Burpee Brandy Boy is big and starting to color up, leaf blight only moderate. The proof will be in the tasting. San Marzano is a small disappointing plant but it has fruits. In the future I'll try a different cultivar or stick to canned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  happy for you....sounds like you're a fortunate one.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  maybe work schedule gets in the way for me as I can't expect my husband to enjoy my hobby enough to keep it going. he's got enough going on. plus money spent on many pots/soil/miracle grow/seeds etc. (the price) more than equals already planted plants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, do it yourself seedlings is time consuming. It's the only way to grow most heirloom varieties. I just need 20 or 30 pounds of harvest to break even financially vs buying heirlooms at the specialty grocery! Of course, if you add my time at minimum wage . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      when I wasn't full time employed it was no trouble spending any time of day attending to my growing delights. not the case now so practicality may have to come to the ball...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I have been trying to benignly neglect my tomatoes as much as possible as every time I "do" something I think I do harm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  plants are looking well and have quite a few green tomatoes on the beefsteaks - the volunteers that produced bushy determinate plums are just blushing and will hopefully be ripe for sauce soon. some of the later volunteers have started producing. Meanwhile the romas are pathetic as are the mr stripeys and the 6' fruitless wonder is now an 8' fruitless wonder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Whenever I find an overripe black cherry tomato I squeeze the seeds into the garden. When they grow to about 3 or 4" tall I carefully dig them out and pot them up to baby until they're ready to plant for a fall crop. This morning when I was watering several of them were missing and when I pulled the mulch back to see what was going on I found a fat, happy cutworm. :( I pulled him out and squashed him so I'm hoping the remaining ones will be alright now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I found about 10 hornworms on 2 parsley plants - I have never seen so many at once! Hopefully that was it - I cut them all in half with clippers ARGH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ugh, I hate hornworms. I found a huge one on one of my beloved Padron pepper plants last month. A neighbor was over talking to me and she didn't want be to kill it (like you, I cut them in half,) so I got a jar and she took it to another neighbor who has kids. A few days later I asked what her son named it and she told me it had crawled out of the jar and was SOMEWHERE IN THE KITCHEN.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd never be able to sleep with a hornworm on the loose in the house (plotting my demise to avenge the death of it's relatives at my hands, I'm sure.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I trellis my tomatoes on a chain link fence that was never taken down when the wood fence went up behind it. The birds visit every morning and evening and do the search and destroy for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Weezie, that is a really smart idea. Too bad we don't have any such thing as a "fall crop"...but I admire your creativity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We can usually grow tomatoes until at least November (we went all season this past winter but who knows what the next one will be like,) but the nurseries and garden centers don't carry starts for tomatoes in the fall. These little volunteers have turned out to be a real bonus!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Today's harvest, the large one is a German Red Strawberry, the others are Purple Brandywine. I'm fostering a Pomeranian puppy for the local Humane Society, and the large one is about three times the size of her head, but I guess that's not saying a whole lot considering at her last weigh-in she was just shy of 2 lbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So cute! She looks like she's guarding it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Finally a trickle of ripe and almost ripe toms, the costoluto are coming along and the volunteer plums are threatening to blush, soon hopefully I can make sauce. The beefsteaks are slow and lagging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Okay, I promise I'm not going to post tomato pics everyday, but these are so pretty I just had to. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Those are really pretty. What are they and how is the flavor?