Your July Tomato Report…& Mine

July 17, 2013

HOW ARE YOUR TOMATO PLANTS PROGRESSING? Are they producing the fruit of your dreams — or are they fighting the effects of foul weather? My tomato report, followed (I hope) by yours:

My poor tomatoes — all of them indeterminate heirloom varieties — endured record rainfall during late spring and early summer. But they survived without a hitch. Why? Because I planted them in a raised bed. Gardening on “higher ground” affords excellent drainage.

Growth was sluggish at first. But now, thanks to a horrific heat-wave, the plants are growing like weeds. Big, wonderful weeds.

To keep the vines upright, I attached a wooden post to each end of the raised bed, and ran jute twine on either side of the plants.  This “Florida Weave” is not as attractive as my previous support-system, but it’s super-easy to arrange. And it definitely beats wire cages.

A layer of mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil. Furthermore,  during a heavy rain, the mulch keeps water — and potential fungal spores –  from bouncing off the soil and splashing onto the lower leaves.

Do you remove suckers from your tomato vines? I do. Suckers burden the plants with excess foliage. Too much lushness promotes the shady, wet conditions that inevitably lead to problems (like fungal diseases). If you need a refresher course on sucker-identification,  take a moment to be read this post from 2012:  De-Suckering My Tomatoes.

As for the fruit, it’s… tiny! But I’m not concerned. Harvest-time in my Hudson Valley region (zone 5-b) is normally mid-August through late September. So there’s plenty of time for these cute green marbles to achieve their monster potential.

In the comments field below, let me know how your own tomato plants are coming along. As always, I enjoy hearing from you.

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Related Posts:
Tomato-mania!
Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Classic Tomato Pie

Comments

  1. Courtney says:

    Due to the lack of bees this year in the Chicagoland area, I’m trying my hand at pollinating tomatoes. I was afraid that my crop might be very small this year without a little intervention. Is anyone else finding that themselves taking on bee duties this year?

  2. Dennis R says:

    i grow 4 beefsteak plants, 4 celebrity plants & 4 large red cherry plants(we halve the
    red cherry fruit & oven bake them (where did i get that idea from, hmmmm?).
    all varieties are growing well w/ this Dutchess County heat/humidity. suckers are pinched on sight! veggie bed is mulched w/ cut grass to eliminate weeds & retain moisture.
    no tomato cages this year, just 7′ wood stakes; tying the plants as they grow.

  3. Tammy says:

    My NH tomatoes got a start pretty similar to yours, Kevin, and now they’re perking up and growing rapidly. I also mulch heavily and trim off suckers. I’m growing both indeterminate and determinate tomatoes this year and using my favorite trellising method for both — tall (about 5′) metal stakes that corkscrew (like the one in this photo http://www.instructables.com/files/deriv/FKI/LWCU/G6MPCHQ4/FKILWCUG6MPCHQ4.LARGE.jpg). I train the tomatoes to curve around the stake and they get lots of air circulation in my raised beds. Tomatoes happy, peppers still looking sad since all the rain.

  4. Dennis R says:

    (off topic) Kevin, first time growing Mary Washington asparagus, i know patience is a MUST!…don’t know what to expect in the next few years to come. do you have any experience w/ asparagus growing?

  5. Pam says:

    Kevin, I cannot believe I haven’t found your blog before now. I’ve already printed 2 recipes (Lavendar shortbread cookies and Lemondrop Martini) and am sure more will follow. Thank you!

  6. Melissa Caprio says:

    Here in Raleigh NC, I’m growing four varieties this year. Patio Princess, Cherries Jubilee, Mexicana, and an Organic Roma. All were started from seed, and all are looking great. There are a lot of fruit on the plants, and I’ve been picking tiny ripe cherry tomatoes for the past 2 weeks. A couple of the larger fruits are starting to turn, and I can’t wait! I de-sucker my plants as well.

  7. Kathleen says:

    Pam–you should try his Scallop Asiago recipe! It is fabulous!

    As for tomatoes, mine got a sad start here in NH as well. I planted a lot of determinate Romas and I am a little worried that I am only seeing blossoms this week. I have never planted determinate varieties before so maybe this is normal???

  8. Francine D says:

    Hi Kevin, from SacraTomato!
    Sacramento, CA has had some HOT, HOT days which sent the plants into a growing frenzy! Half of my tomato plants were volunteers this year (organic heirlooms) that I transplanted into raised beds and large pots; half were grown from seeds I saved from organic heirloom tomatoes I purchased last year from Trader Joe’s. My yellow mini pear tomato not doing as well as in years past, my Japanese black tomato plants have several dozen palm-sized fruit all ripening this week, green zebras and orange mini’s are getting larger. I will be canning tomato sauce this weekend, for sure!

  9. badger gardener says:

    My Green Zebras, Brandywine , and Sweet Million all have some fruits starting. They are looking good despite my fears before planting them out when they looked to be suffering from a blight. Eggplants still not flowering even w/ this heat.

    Our local news channel was demo’ing the Florida weave the other day and I noticed the foliage was all pretty clumped together. My instinct is to always give them lots of air circulation so definitely let us know if you have any problems with it. I may try it next year if it goes well for you.

    Let me also say that you were not exaggerating when you said Morning Glories in containers need watering every time you turn around. I put mine in 12″ pots but will probably go bigger next year. I watered this morning, put in a short 5 hr. day at work and came home to find one of my vines absolutely limp. Hoping it rebounds, but otherwise it does have some smaller vines that look okay.

  10. Penny says:

    Started using the gardening method from ” backtoedenfilm.com” and we have been truly blessed with no weeding , and very minimal watering. Our garden is a pretty much take care of itself, except for the pruning of the tomatoes and harvesting. We live in Mo. and have had great weather this year for a change. All our vines we have on tepees from bamboo stakes and are doing nicely. Harvested zucchinis, bush beans, early tomatoes already, broccoli and some peppers, beets, radish and many leafy veggies already. Our squash look like your photo and are looking forward to the fruit that’s on the way. This is our first try at a garden for many decades now. Glad we decided to do so! Thanks for the encouragement. I highly recommend watching the eden film, this fall would be a great time to do this method for next year.

  11. Kate says:

    The cool, soggy weather of June set my southern Maine garden back. I am hoping this heat will finally dry it out. My tomato leaves are all purple. I would think mineral deficiency if they hadn’t all turned purple last June when we got over 7 inches of rain in one weekend and slowly greened up as the soil dried. My garden is too big for raised beds (1/3 acre- I like to garden!), so I shall just let Mother Nature take its course. Last year things recovered nicely; I am sure this year they will too. Though next year I am moving it to higher ground!

  12. Welcome, Pam!

    Kathleen – Thanks for the Scallops Asiago shout-out. I suspect your determinate tomato varieties will be okay. Most of the blossoms should appear at the same time, and consequently, you should get fruit that ripens (mostly) in unison.

    Dennis R. – Would you believe I’ve never grown asparagus?

    Francine – Wow! Sacramento is waaaay ahead of me! Kudos to you on your tomato success.

    Hi Badger Gardener – Glad your tomatoes are producing. There are ways to keep the Florida-woven tomatoes from being too crammed together. I planted mine two feet apart from each other, and have pruned not only suckers, but certain branches, too. These efforts insure adequate air-circulation around the plants.

    Hi Penny – I’ve seen the Eden film and think it’s wonderful. He does exactly what I’ve done for years — and that is to use wood chips for mulch (I also use shredded leaves for mulch). Over the years, I’ve alerted many readers (including Tammy, in comment #3 above) that wood chips can be obtained for free. Your Missouri garden sounds…Fabulous!

  13. Denise in NJ says:

    We also suffered from an abnormal amount of rain last month. My tomatoes so far are healthy, but still green. I planted cherries, small plums, San Manzano plums, Campbell’s soups, and Rutger’s. These are all in a raised bed mulched with straw. Two Illinois Beauties in pots are looking awful. I haven’t de-suckered, but so far they’re okay. Which is more than I can say for the rest of the garden. Lost the strawberries to gray mold last month with all the rain. Now the plants look blighted. The cucumbers have succumbed to downy mildew, the apples to fire blight, and the birds are eating up all of my blueberries and raspberries. Some of the raspberry leaves look like they’ve been eaten by something. I see holes, but I can’t find the culprits. The peas only grew about six inches high then fizzled out. The green beans fought hard against being chomped short by rabbits and I get a few a day, maybe a half dozen to a dozen beans. The potatoes also look like they’re blighted. In one bag the plants are completely gone and the others don’t look healthy. Scallions look good, but only about a half dozen plants made it from the seeds, leeks are more numerous but growth is sluggish, and onions are wimpy. I’m so disgusted with my garden this year I’m ready to quit! To make matters worse, I just finished up the Master Gardener’s program in my county. I’m embarrassed to say so when someone looks at my garden.

  14. Cathy says:

    I’m in the same situation as you with my tomatoes. I’m about a mile South of Lake Erie.
    I planted two Mortgage Lifters from a local garden center. The name and story behind them caught my attention, so I’m trying them. They are in a raised bed and I can easily supplement watering from my rain barrel when things dry up (if they dry up)
    We have a very invasive Perslane that takes over if you miss one day of weeding. I found some black fabric “mulch” at the end of last year and put it down, cutting slits for the tomato plants…what a great invention! I will save it to use next year, too.
    I have lots of little, green tomatoes.
    I have not pinched back the suckers, yet…something I’ve been planning to do.
    Looking forward to yummy tomatoes in my salads.

  15. Ilene says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Here in the Susquehanna Valley we’ve gone from a soggy June to HHH this past week. Tomato vines are heavy with nice large fruit but nothing ripening that I can see. We also tried the Florida weave this year…jury’s still out. Zucchini and cucumbers are making me crazy right now. Love your site just found it last month. Keep those tips and recipes coming. Thanks

  16. Grandma Sandy R. says:

    The leaves on my tomatoes got yellow and dried up and the plant is nearly dead. Is this early blight? Not sure what I did wrong.I fed them Miracle grow and watered them .
    They are in pots on my patio.

  17. Juanita says:

    I’m in SE Virginia and I planted all heirloom tomatoes, started from seed in my sunroom. Most of them look AWFUL :(
    I’m suffering from early blight, white flies (never had them before) and drowning plants!! We’ve had sooo many days of rain. I’ve lost about 8 plants. Even some of the ones in raised beds didn’t make it.
    I am still getting tomatoes (despite the horrible looking plants) though; and they taste wonderful!! Nothing like the cardboard hybrids.
    I spray weekly with a fungicide to help with all my problems. I also use superphosphate and tomato tone. No Miracle Grow (Montsanto) for this girl. Sandy R I don’t think you did anything “wrong” it’s just a tough growing season.

  18. Eliza J says:

    I lost all but 2 of my 30 heirloom seedlings before they even went in the ground. I had put the trays out to get them acclimated to the sun, just as “rain season” set in. I brought the plants inside, but they never dried out, and the weather just didn’t improve quickly enough to get them back out ~ they slowly rotted :( Therefore I bought plants, which I haven’t done in years! The tomato plants are doing very well at this point, unfortunately already with signs of early blight. Saturday’s forecast last night was heavy thunderstorms and possible tornado activity for southern New England. That has now changed from tornado activity to heavy winds and possibly hail. Mother Nature certainly has not been kind to us gardeners this year!

  19. Sandy R says:

    My tomato plants are gorgeous! Big, green and healthy. The tomatoes, however, are slow and very late to start the ripening process and the few that have been picked are riddled with worm holes of some sort. I have never had that happen in all my years of gardening?? My whole garden was under water for two solid days during the late spring. Happily, the only plants unhappy about this were the peppers.

  20. Sharon says:

    I’m trying the Florida weave with my Ramapos this year. I may need to use stouter twine and drive my stakes deeper next year, the whole thing is looking a bit fragile right now.

    What’s with this monsoon weather in the Northeast this year? The Ramapos are going nuts with all the water and heat.

  21. Sharon says:

    Also, no blossom end rot this year so far, which was our heartbreak last year. We amended the tomato bed with garden lime and eggshells a week or so before planting.

  22. Debbie says:

    Here in east central IL, my tomatoes are very late. The plants were blooming and not setting fruit and I think it was related to a lack of bees to pollinate them. Just this past week, I’ve noticed some bees in my garden and now I have a few small tomatoes starting to grow. I’m hopeful for both the bees and my tomatoes!

  23. Susan in MI says:

    My tomatoes here in southwestern MI were slow to start but are coming along. This is the first year I didn’t put them in a raised planter, but made an extra bed just for them along with the squash and hopefully a fall planting of snow and sugar peas. Noticed yesterday that some critter had half eaten a tomato that was ripening! My only recourse, should this critter attack continue, will be to get some T stakes pounded in and then zip tie plastic multi purpose net available at Lowe’s for $19.95 for a 50′ roll which will be a pain to have to undo each time to tie up the tomatoes on the teepees since I only planted a variety of 15 this year. The blue berries have been phenomenal this year. 2 more pounds brought in yesterday which brings the harvest up to about 20lbs so far. Same with the cherries. Wish I knew the variety which looks and tastes like Rainier but is much smaller. Strawberries? Didn’t happen this year, and while I know they are perenniels, they sure do need to be replaced every few years sure smacked me in the head and back to reality. Had to buy those from my local farm store to make preserves.

  24. Laura says:

    Garden centers in my area have tomato plants in March; the poor little things look so sad, shivering on the racks, but you have to buy then for best selection if you aren’t a seed starter. I always plant as early as possible and cover/uncover with blankets until the season warms up. This year I was too busy, and didn’t buy plants until June. I planted Sweet 100 (cherry) and Yellow Pear tomatoes; I thought small fruit would ripen faster. They are in a raised bed with 6 inches of straw mulch and they are fantastic. We have had almost no rain in the last 6 weeks, but I only have to water once a week. And I will have to sucker for the first time; the plants are huge! I have already had cherry tomatoes to eat, and will have the yellow pears next week as well. I’m in zone 6b/sw Missouri, and I’ve learned my lesson–wait until it’s warmer to plant.

  25. Susan says:

    Central Iowa – I have three tomato plants. We are currently in an extreme drought this month after a very wet spring. I have my plants in raised beds, mulched with cut grass and the plants look good. Unfortunately, now my rain barrels are dry…..

    One ripe Black Krim (yum!), several nice fruits on my green stripe, and first blush on my first Roma. Eagerly anticipating BLT season!

  26. Dana says:

    Hi Kevin!
    Here in Memphis everyone seems to be having bumper tomato crops this year. I started winter-sowing 2 years ago (found your site and thought “Wow,what a great idea!), and my raised bed garden has grown every year. This year I have Cherry 100s, Roma, Sweet Yellow (they are eaten like apples the minute they ripen…YUM!), Mr. Stripy, and 3 heirlooms. All of them are growing beautifully, and taste amazing! My heirlooms are getting bigger but are not ready for harvest yet, Can’t wait to see how they will taste. I just today picked a gallon bucket of yellows, 100s, and Roma to make REAL spaghetti sauce. I wish I had grown my own garlic now. I also have scads of basil, rosemary, peppers, gourmet beans, mint, strawberry, and watermelon. We also tried broccoli this year, but just when the plants were starting to be beautiful little caterpillery worms decimated them all! I don’t use pesticides, I just try companion planting and usually have no pest problems. Next year I will try again with broccoli. What should I plant with it to deter pests? Thank you so much for your inspiration. If not for you I would never have started this wonderful pastime that makes me so happy. The best to you, your partner, and your sweet, sweet doggy!

  27. Nikki says:

    In eastern Ontario, my tomato plants are flourishing. It’s my first year of “real” gardening (we previously had only a patio so I had a few pots – now I have proper raised beds) – so it feels like an experiment. I didn’t know about removing suckers but am going out with the pruning shears tomorrow, because the tomato plants are huge and out of control!

    I am also going to try a different support method next year. When I planted them in the spring, they were already almost to the tops of the measly cages someone gave me. Now I can’t even see the cages and I have stakes all over the place!

  28. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says:

    I am growing 7 types of tomatoes, 6 of them heirlooms plus the Sun Gold yellow cherry. I am picking from the cherry already and one other, the Mexican heirloom called Red Calabash, a lumpy beefsteak shape but very small. Other varieties are St PIerre (classic French Market round slicer), Principe Borghese (classic Italian plum for dehydrating), Jaune Flamme (round yellow French), Amish Paste (elongated red) and the Yugoslavian (large, red, pointy bottomed local hand me down). Each tomato cage, large and sturdy, is holding two plants to capitalize on real estate. Spacing is generous to maintain good air circulation. Plants have been desuckered repeatedly. A basil plant is partnered with each tomato. Mulch is pine needles or straw I made in my chipper using my own ornamental grass fronds cut down in February. Irrigation has been fairly regular via Mother Nature, but on several occasions I have used a water wand. Foliage is never wet on purpose. All plants are heavy with green fruit but I am dreading the appearance of blight due to unceasing humidity. I yearn for a basket full to make Gazpacho!

  29. Patricia Schroeder says:

    Hi Kevin, Crazy wet spring here in Southern Indiana. My husband made super big woven wire tomato cages. We put a layer of newspaper around the tomatoes as well as banana peels and then cover the ground with straw so the moisture stays. The plants look great since the heat has set in, but the only ones ripening are the sweet yellow cherry variety. We heard about banana peels from his 97 year old german Aunt Veronica and I think as the bananas rot they really help feed the plants. So sorry for the folks who have lost the bees for pollination. We are in the country here in Southern Indiana and so far we still have wild bees to pollinate. I always have something in bloom in my yard and I think that helps to keep the bees around.

  30. Lori G. says:

    Hey Kevin…

    After a rainy and cold start, my tomatoes are finally getting up to size. The plants anyway. I have Roma, Beefsteak, Rutgers and something called Super Sauce I found seeds for online. I have the plants in two different beds. One that we built last year and a brand new one for this year. The plants in the new bed are outpacing the ones in the old bed by a very large margin. I think it could be the composted cow manure I added to the new bed. Will be adding that to the old beds next spring. My tomatillo plants are huge with many blossoms but no fruits yet. I have many tiny green tomatoes, but nothing even close to ripe.

    I’ve pulled roughly 1,000,000 onions and they are currently drying very nicely on the patio. I grow them mainly for the salsa that I like to can but I’ve discovered that even my wimpy tummy can handle the home grown onions.

    I lost my broccoli and two brussels sprouts plants to some sort of weird fungus that invaded the stems and exploded them with really hard, rough, ugly growths. It was awful. I’m praying my two remaining brussels sprouts don’t get whatever that was. They are in a completely different part of the garden.

    I’ve planted beans three times now. The first ones did not come up at all. The second came up very sparsely (9 of about 50 seeds). The last try I planted some yard long beans in some containers just in case it’s something in the bed stopping them growing and I’ve put some beans in my little papers pots to pre-sprout and then transplant. So far so good.

    Look at me rattle on about my garden! I do love it though.

  31. Nikki G says:

    Here in NW Arkansas we are in drought conditions after a rainy Spring. Maters lookin pretty good, no red yet, but soon!

  32. Kathy B says:

    Hi Kevin,
    We too had a wet season in Central Indiana. I planted all my veggies and herbs in raised beds….love them. I planted cherry tomatoes, romas, better boy, and early girl; the cherry tomatoes are the best, and the biggest I have ever had, the romas however, like yours, are tiny, but doing well, the other two are slow, but doing well. My bell peppers are doing well, and all else except my zucchini…I have never had a zucchini plant fail me….it produces fruit, but then the fruit rots…it’s not even hitting the ground..the plant is gorgeous and lush in foliage, and produces lots of blossoms….any thoughts on what could be causing that?

  33. Madison, WI (Zone 5a)- tomatoes are not turning red but are big and green and look healthy- cherry and large tomatoes. It’s been very wet then very hot here. Hopefully tomatoes turn red soon. I can’t wait to harvest.

  34. Henrietta says:

    My tomatoes are doing wellhowever they are still green but hopefully will be ready to eat in a couple of weeks

  35. Marlyn says:

    We had an extremely wet May here in MN. Over 2″ above average rainfall. Right now we could use some rain as it’s been dry and windy for a few weeks. I lost 2 of 7 tomato plants I planted. Both were cherry type, don’t know why they died. I know it wasn’t cutworm, since I have had that before. I have tomatoes forming on a Bonny Best tomato. This is a new plant for me this year, so don’t know what to expect. All my others have flowers but no fruit yet. My Scarlet Runner Beans are growing like mad. The vines have climbed up my trellis and down the other side, so a total of 12′ long!

  36. Sue says:

    We’re in southern Missouri, and the wet weather from Spring has dried out. Our yard in shady except for a large concrete pad, so I grow tomatoes in containers. Targeted daily watering and I have to feed them a little more often than in-grounders, with organic matter. I use a half-composted mulch and add to it once during the summer. We’ve been harvesting beautiful juicy tomatoes for two weeks. I planted two beefsteaks, a cherry, and two heirlooms: Black Krim and Mr. Stripey. We had them last year, harvested a small amount, but they were sweet and flavorful. This year, they’re developing slowly, but are prolific. I had a little trouble with TONS of aphids when the blossoms first appeared, but since there were no ladybugs present, I used a little diluted Neem oil with good success. The worst gardening problem this year has been spider mites. When we got back from vacation, I had to completely take down my beloved Zepherine Drouhin–but she’ s coming back strong! The smaller patches of mites elsewhere were eradicated with Neem.

  37. Here in North Central Georgia it has been very wet through the end of June and all of July so far. Our Cherry tomatoes began ripening June 11 and we got the traditional start of slicing tomatoes on July 4. My heirlooms seem to be developing some serious mildew condition. They are so loaded with fruit, I am letting them go on. Also it would be really difficult to take them out since they are so completely intertwined with the tomato cages made from hogwire fencing. The Better boys and celebrities are doing fine. We have gotten 27 pounds of cherries and 50 pounds of slicers so far. We have 4 cherry plants, black cherry, sungold, Golden Sweet and grape rosalita. We have 15 big tomatoes of various kinds, Cherokee Purple, Black Crim, Better Boy, Celebrity, Copia, a really pretty yellow tomato and Berkely tie dye, and one unknown that was supposed to be Cherokee purple but is an orangey red tomato that is very tasty and has not suffered from the mildew/wilt affliction.

  38. Tricia B. says:

    My Chicago-area tomatos–mostly indeterminate–are tall and lush with foliage. The very first cherry tomatoes are almost ripe, but the others are still small. At least the heat wave this past week didn’t kill the foliage, like last year’s did.

  39. Edie says:

    Hey Kevin!
    New to your blog – hmmm love your house and martini! Here in Northern SC the rain destroyed my cuke and zucchini plants with mildew but not before canning dill pickles and making plenty of zucchini meals. Now we’re slammed with the biggest tomatoes ever! Many weigh a pound! Most success with Roma and Better Boy varieties. I’ve canned salsa twice, currently freezing juice for winter recipes. Next I will can spaghetti sauce and quarts of tomato chunks. Can’t seem to give it away fast enough, my frig has tomatoes on every shelf! Raised beds are wonderful, added drip irrigation this year but rain has been the water source so far. How about a new creative tomato recipe?

  40. jean says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Due to winter sowing my tomatoes in late March ( next year it will be early March) in Indiana and a wet Spring, my 25 or so plants have been looking tiny, but due to how weather, they are huge and have tons of tomatoes on them. So far, only picked 3 tomatoes but they were yummy. Can’t wait until I’m eating tomatoes everyday. I have Tommy Toes Cherry tomatoes, Italian, Pink German, Yellow Pear an Amish Paste tomato and I think one more kind. Then I have the mighty killer tomato that originally planted itself in my hosta bed some years back and I got a ton of tomatoes off that one. So I’ve saved the seed every year and plant it and it is doing marvelous. Wish I knew what the name of that one is, probably a bird planed it. Thanks so much for your report and thanks so much for all your help during the year. Your garden looks great. Can’t wait to try the zucchini fritters with my zephyr zucchini which I am getting tons of, so pretty with the yellow and green color.

    Jean

  41. Sharon Shade says:

    My poor Roma has loads of tomatoes but the bottoms of the fruit are turning black. We have had sooooo much rain (I’m in NE TN) that I’m surprised anything has grown. All my squash has either rotted in the bed or the fruit is falling off before it ripens (again I”m thinking the excess rain might have something to do with it). But my basil and oregano and sage are doing really well and I have little baby carrot tops popping up. My Genovese tomatoes seem to be doing better buy I’m growing those in whiskey barrels so maybe the excess rainfall is not as critical for them.

  42. Janice in Black Creek, BC says:

    While reading about Zucchini fritters, and raised bed gardening and japanese Knotweed, I decided to look up Japanese Knot weed and we do have it in some areas here in Vancouver Island. I learned some years ago that the way to get rid of some weeds–if they are edible–is eat them. And guess what!!
    http://www.tacticalintelligence.net/blog/wild-edibles-how-to-eat-japanese-knotweed.htm

    How to eat Japanese Knotweed. Who would have thought it!
    Looks like an interesting thing to do—not that I will plant the silly stuff, but I may make a note of where I see it growing and visit that spot next spring.
    Cheers, Janice

  43. Janice in Black Creek, BC says:

    http://www.selfsufficientish.com/main/2011/03/eating-and-drinking-japanese-knotweed-by-andy-hamilton/

    Oh my goodness sakes alive—-Knotweed ale and Knotweed Wine!!!!!!! and more recipes….
    Janice

  44. Ginny Otto says:

    My tomatoes are ripening very slowly here in mid Mo. due to only 6hrs of sun. Good news is that I found a guy selling bella rosa heirlooms at the farmer’s market. I wish I had bought more. Most do not sell heirlooms because they are not as productive. I would pay more for them though. Wish everyone realized their wonderful taste. thanks for the newsletter.

  45. Caitilin says:

    I’m in California. My tomato plants are beautiful and have set lots of fruit, but I have only harvested 4 ripe tomatoes so far. I gave away two of them to my son who was visiting. Now that’s love! I’ve been de-suckering this year, per your instructions, and have had great results. Last year, I just let them grow, and boy was I sorry. I had a messy mass of plant, and not much fruit. Looking forward to canning and making catsup in the near future.

  46. Anna Lapping says:

    I took two of my tomato plants out this week due to fungus and planted two others in huge pots. We have had so much rain this year, and even when it’s not raining it’s not very sunny. I have started harvesting tomatoes, cukes and beans, and so far I have one squash and two eggplants. I’m about two weeks behind my usual harvest time this year.

  47. Susan Piazza says:

    Thank you for sharing ! We went to Tomatomania this year and chose Slavic and Russian varieties since we are on the coast and don’t get the heat most tomatoes need…. We have had a great harvest so far !!!

  48. sue upton says:

    my tomatoes are getting black spot on bottom of fruit.
    What is that too much water?

  49. Hi Sue – That’s Blossom End Rot, or BER. Easy to correct the condition. The cause and cure is described in my list of July Chores, under the photograph of the ripe tomato. Here’s the post: http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2013/06/garden-chores-for-july-2013/

  50. Lisa in CO says:

    Purchased and planted (at 8,000′) only eight plants in mid June–and planted all in the garden this year. Set each plant in a #10 can with both ends removed. A few have fruited- small green pearls of beauty– most are flowering, even though no plants are more than 20″ tall. All are lush with green, healthy-looking leaves. Dad taught me to sucker tomatoes, so do it regularly while I “visit” with each. Our nights regularly get to low 40s, so I blanket when necessary. (Will pursue your FL Weave in lieu of old, broken metal cages.) I’m happy each year if I get some tomatoes rather than none at this elevation, especially without benefit of a greenhouse for late/early snows and lots of wind!
    Do you suppose the black spot weekly remedy (Milk 1part : Water 2parts spray) would be effective on tomatoes in addition to roses? A friend uses Neem oil, so why not substitute milk mix for it?
    Thanks for your wonderful tips, recipes and fun sharing, Kevin. Always keeps me interested reading your readers’ responses as well.

  51. Morgan says:

    Kevin’s Tomato Pie recipe is very seriously THE BOMB!!!! My tomatoes are languishing here in SW WA state, tried topsy turvy planters, never again.

  52. Ann Honer says:

    Here in Northern Illinois my tomato plants have lots of green tomatoes. They are still small, but look for them to mature.
    I did, however have issues with my potatoes, which i grew in a grow bag. The vines had already died back and when I tipped the bag out I counted 40 potatoes, but they were all very small.
    I have never grown potatoes before, so didn’t know what to expect.
    By the way, the lavender cookies were delicious. Thanks for your ‘easy to make’ recipes.
    What was the ‘scallops asiago’ recipe? it sounds good.

  53. Janet Livesay says:

    I’m here in zone 6 just south of Portland, Oregon. I grow my tomatoes from seed and favor Territorial Seed Co.’s varieties which are for our climate. I got them into the ground during a heat spell in early May and have a few tomatoes already on my plate!. I keep track of the first to bear and then how long they produce. The deer topped off a few that weren’t close to the house but they didn’t notice. The plants are huge and some are in giant plastic nursery pots that my gardener friends save for me.These are easier to water. I will now slow on the watering so they will hurry to ripen. I am getting out the canning kettle because I have 12 plants and lots of flourishing volunteers that sprouted from my compost.!

  54. Marie Cox says:

    I planted several varieties of tomatoes this year and I planted them in stages. Every 2-3 weeks I planted 2 more until we got to 12 plants. I planted mostly Big Boys and some
    other hybrid varieties. With the cooler weather lasting longer in NC this year and all the rainfall my plants are about 7-8 ft. high and are loaded with tomatoes but they are small in size. I just started to pick about 3 weeks ago but they are slow to turn. Now that we have finally had some days of just hot, sunny weather, I am hoping that the tomato will grow bigger before turning.
    I take all the suckers off especially on the bottom right before I plant them and this is the first year that I have not had a problem with disease. I also put crushed egg shells in the holes before planting( extra calcium seemed to help) and sprinkled coffee grounds around the plants. That along with the marigolds that I have planted in between has helped to cut back on insects. All my plants are in raised beds due to the hard clay soil in Midland, NC.

  55. Kathy says:

    Hi Kevin—I live in the Southern Tier of NY. We also had mega spring rains and then HOT weather. My tomatoes started slow but now are growing well with many green tomatoes. They should be ready in 2-3 weeks. Patio tomatoes have ripened right along and I’ve picked a dozen or so off the one plant I have. Pickling cukes are going crazy. Potatoes, onions & garlic are having a super year. Not much luck with beans so far. Maybe I’ll try again now that temps are in the 80s. Great website! Thanks for all the tips and recipes.

  56. Yup my tomatoes are in full swing and my Tomrillo branches are drooping from the weight…(of course I have no idea WHEN they get ripe for picking). An occasional strawberry grows. Got the bell pepper growing, along with the chile and eggplant…..nothing else though.

  57. Cindy Marino says:

    My garden is a disaster….believing after yesterday things will be looking brighter! I planted all heirloom seeds and plants this year, used aged horse maure for the first time. With all the rain in my already soaked ground the conditons were right for failure….I planted and waited, seeds did not mature and the plants just did not grow. Then I neglected to weed, life got in the way. Oh did I mention the chipmunks had a hayday with my strawberries? Yesterday I was determined to get the weeds out that have overtaken the garden, and I mean overtaken…a friend and I spend 4 hours weeding and then mulching with straw. I pray the sunshine and lack of rain this week will make everything better….

    PENNY! Thank you for the link on Eden!!! I Love it…..

  58. badger gardener says:

    This morning I was reading up on all things tomato since I am so anxiously awaiting my first ripe ones (and Kevin’s famous tomato pie) and came across an article on WKOW out of Madison that interviewed gardener’s for their best tips. Walter Reeves, “the Georgia gardener” had a tip for plants whose flowers die off w/o bearing fruit. He suggested tapping the flowers with a pencil to spread the pollen around. I have no idea if this will work but it is certainly easy enough to try, especially for everyone reporting low bee populations this year.

  59. Sonja Jones says:

    I planted Romas (only tomato I like) in April, I believe, no wait…I think May. Weather had been nice but then all of a sudden we got a cold snap for one night and I think it stunted my plants. Then a couple of weeks later they started blooming and I snapped those off but they kept doing it. So I don’t think I’m going to have tomatoes this years. Very sad.

  60. Annie says:

    My first time growing anything and I’m guardedly optimistic. I think I started my seeds a little late but just today I found several small yellow flowers on my 5 potted plants. Very exciting! They aren’t nearly as large as yours but I am seeing regular growth. Now if only all this blasted rain would stop for awhile! I used organic soil made from worm castings and have added egg shells for calcium. Beyond that, any advice on feeding to help encourage growth?

  61. May says:

    Hi from Maynard, MA. I have six heirloom plants that have growing fruit. Two of my plants started showing signs of blight a few weeks ago after the heavy June/July rain. I started spraying copper and fighting beetles at the same time. I’ve had to remove several lower branches from two plants and I removes leaves here and there. I’m not sure if the high temps over the last 10 days have delayed an onslaught of blight, so the other day I covered all of my plants as well as other things in my garden with Bonide Garden Dust (something I would rather have avoided). Today it started raining hard and will for the next few days. I’m hoping this will not lose my plants. When is the earliest date to reapply dust after it rains? All this and a woodchuck got under my fence and ate the tops off of my carrots, grabbed some baby lettuce, gobbled up a kale plant, and sunk his fat teeth into one of my Brandywines. Lucky for me he’s not a fan of large, but unripe fruit. Sprayed some liquid fence around my fence and hopefully that will deter him. But with the pending blight… ;(

  62. Christine F says:

    It seems like I turned around one day and there they were, tomatoes!! I was really starting to wonder if they would ever show up! Thanks for the tip on pruning suckers, I am going to do that today. I think I will try your weave thing next year but one question, do you just continue to weave the string as the plants grow? Thanks from Livingston County NY

  63. Peg Staley says:

    Silly me….I only planted two Roma tomato plants! They are producing now and just loaded with maters and blooms! With sporadic rain fall, I am watering every day and fertilizing weekly now.
    I tried to paste a picture of one of the plants but cannot….

  64. susan sexton says:

    Tomatoes are just beginning to turn.

  65. Laurel says:

    from Wisconsin – 45 miles northwest of Madison. We had heavy rains early before finally getting some hot weather. Now the weather has settled down to a lot of overcast days. We have not had any of our usual muggy humid weather.

    Because I am living with cancer I am unable to do a lot of gardening. I have an aide from the county who helps me twice a week. She knows nothing of gardening so I am teaching her while getting some long overdue chores done. Because of my health the tomatoes are planted in very large pots. I am trying three varieties this year. I have wanted to try Fourth of July since it was introduced. This year is the first time I have been able to locate a plant. I don’t know if it is the due to the variety or if it just doesn’t like being in a pot. The Fourth of July acts like it doesn’t get enough water. Every time I turn around the plant is wilted. My other 2 tomatoes, also in very large pots,are healthy and husky with less water. The first tomatoes put on by Fourth of July had BER but now that the weather has evened out it is no longer a problem. Because it is an early ripening variety Fourth of July does not have large tomatoes – about 2 inches in diameter.

    My other 2 varieties are a dwarf Early Girl, loaded with huge green tomatoes. I actually had to take one and gently work it out from between two branches. The tomato is still misshapen from being squeezed almost in half. My third plant is a hybrid patio variety. It also is loaded with huge green tomatoes. Neither is showing any signs of color, but the fruits are the size of beefsteak tomatoes. There is no danger of the plants breaking from the weight of the fruit. The plants are hefty in their own right. When I walk past the plants I have to admit to having thoughts of being attacked and dragged to the ground.

    In years past when I had my health, I would plant 1 Early Girl and 1 Better Boy in compost. I had to stake them with a quadrangle of 3/4 inch pfc and twin. I easily had plants 6 to 8 feet in diameter and 6 feet high that would trail back down 3 to 4 feet. Between the two plants I had more tomatoes than I could can and eat. But I never had any tomatoes the size that I am going to get from my patio types. I am trading size for quantity.

  66. Donna says:

    My tomatoes are looking pretty poorly, wilted, stunted and a low crop. My neighbor has the same dilemma. Does chlorinated water have anything to do with tomatoes failing?

  67. Susan L. Espersen says:

    I’m 30 miles south of Buffalo, NY and I’m afraid that CLAY in my first year garden wasn’t my only issue! Though my tomato plants took off and became a challenge to keep upright, due to their size and the number of green tomatoes on the vines, the thrill of victory all too soon turned into the agony of defeat! I’ve never had a fungus problem before and when I saw the damage and the dying leaves, I went to a local produce stand and showed the elderly farmer a couple sample tomatoes, green and ripe. “Blight.”, he said, shaking his head. “Too late to do anything now. Destroy all of the plants and fruit and don’t plant tomatoes in that same spot next year.” He suggested ‘spraying’ next year, but I don’t want to use chemicals, if I can avoid it. Got any other thoughts? Oh, in conclusion, he took one last look at my samples and said emphatically, “Make sure you take those things WITH YOU!” I got the hint! I’ll try again next year!

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