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Bizarre,...Bizarre,... Bizarre... October Tomatoes? ...WTF?

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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-11 02:59 PM
Original message
Bizarre,...Bizarre,... Bizarre... October Tomatoes? ...WTF?
(Cross Posted from Rural/Farm)

The Summer of 2011 was BRUTAL here in West/Central Arkansas (Ouachita Mountains).
We are on the Eastern Edge of the Extreme Drought Area centered over Texas/Oklahoma.

Spring started out normal enough.
In fact, Spring 2011 was exceptional,
and the harvest of Spring Crops was generous,
especially the Strawberries, Onions, Garlic, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Asparagus.
...but especially the Strawberries.


We put out 22 Tomato Plants of different varieties,
and the young plants did very well... healthy, green, and lush.
Then, in late May, it was like someone threw a switch.

We went from a normal, mild Spring immediately to Record Breaking HEAT/DROUGHT
that was continuous until September.
The daily temperature exceeded the 95F mark where tomato flowers will produce fruit.
We NEVER passed through that area of Just Right normal for June, and good tomatoes.

We kept our plants well irrigated, and they appeared green and healthy with plenty of flowers,
but it was simply too hot to produce tomatoes. Out of 22 otherwise health plants, we brought in maybe 12 edible tomatoes,
and those were ugly... cracked & tough skins.

In normal years, we are forced to pull our tomato plants due to several varieties of blight
which become overwhelming by Mid-July (common for this area), but that didn't happen this year.
We had and have very little blight (see note at end), so we continued to water and care for our non-producing plants.
They have grown bushy and tall... most over 7 feet.


The HEAT dropped back to normal ranges about three weeks ago, and GUESS WHAT?
Tomatoes.. lots and LOTS of young Tomatoes.


We are now praying for a mild Fall, extended Indian Summer, and a late frost.
If so, we will have a Tomato October Fest!
We are glad to see the young tomatoes,
but it is STILL Bizarre.
We hope & pray that Summer 2011 is NOT the New Normal.
It was BRUTAL.
That kind of HEAT takes the FUN out of everything,
and makes the simplest chore a Herculean Task.

Note on Blight/Fungal Diseases:
Due to the high humidity, our tomatoes are usually overcome with Blight & Fungal problems by Mid-July.
In the past we have attempted to Nurse them along, but have found that tomatoes from a sick plant don't taste very good.
So we had decided as SOP to pull plants that show signs of blight,
and would have done so this year too if Blight/Disease had appeared, but we had little trouble.
So, as bizarre as it seemed to us, we kept tending our plants into September, months later than normal.

This is NOT and endorsement,
but we DID start using a product this Summer called "Serenade".

http://www.planetnatural.com/site/serenade-disease-cont...

There could have been other factors, like HEAT and lack of rain,
and our transition to Soaker Hoses instead of top watering,
that reduced the problems, but we feel that the use of this product was chiefly responsible
for keeping our plants disease free through September.


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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-11 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'll use remay to extend my season if it starts
getting to cold for my tomatoes. This was a brutal season. I hope to have my drip system complete by next spring so that I can do something besides drag heavy hoses around the gardens.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-11 12:00 PM
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2. Great to have another of your garden picture posts!
Alas, I did not have your complete luck with Serenade. Perhaps is was b/c my tomatoes had a bad start and never grew to complete vigor (I was away for six weeks this summer, after all) or perhaps because I couldn't afford to apply it enough to stop the blight ($16 for a small spray bottle here.) It did slow the blight for a time, so that's something.

I pulled all my in-pot tomatoes about two weeks ago, but my "volunteer" Black Cherries (that just showed up underneath the tree in my front yard-- obviously seeded from last year's crop) are still going strong. They never got the blight to the same degree (despite being quite nearby) and they have tomatoes that are still ripening. Today I plan to clip off the new flowers the plants are still making to try and get the remaining green ones to ripen before it gets too cold.

Cheers for October Tomatoes!!! :bounce:
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Retrograde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-11 02:00 AM
Response to Original message
3. Tomatoes are perennials
Edited on Mon Oct-03-11 02:01 AM by Retrograde
Tender perennials, and the first frosts will kill the plants, but given enough heat they'll live and bear for several years. OTOH, they don't like too much heat and humidity, but that's rarely a problem for me. Here forty miles south of San Francisco I get tomatoes through late November, which is when the plants die back: in fact, I rarely get any ripe ones until mid-September since we tend to have cool nights. I'm just starting on the major part of the harvest now.

Enjoy them while you can!

ETA: as the days get shorter the tomatoes are less likely to ripen on the vines, so either finish them off inside or cultivate a taste for fried green tomatoes!
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-17-11 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. or green tomato pickles
i can't wait to eat mine. got more green ones than red ones.
made some spicy carrot pickles, too, with peppers, which did well for me, unlike tomatoes.
heartbreaking year.
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-11 02:58 PM
Response to Original message
5. still getting tomatoes here too in Minnesota!!!!
and we grew a pretty decent crop of sweet potatoes too pretty much unheard of this far north
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Tsiyu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-11 04:10 AM
Response to Original message
6. Love the garden pics


And yeah, it bites when stuff just gets going at the end of the season.

I only got a few tomatoes this year and then all the plants withered up. I think my whole garden has blight sometimes, but then even the potted one withered and it had fresh soil.

The weather has been nuts this year but great for sweet potatoes, peppers and most of the herbs.

There is always next year, we must remind ourselves, (and there are always fried green tomatoes.) :D




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