This week’s PhotoEssay is highlighting tomato problems. We are seeing a lot of different things pop up here in the Demonstration Garden, and you are probably seeing some of the same things in your gardens.
This is one reason why you should use cages or a staking system to get your tomato plants off the ground. Not only does it prevent disease on the leaves, but it prevents this type of damage. We have two tomatoes that be bitten by mice (or rabbits) and one tomato that is rotting on the side that was touching the ground. These tomatoes were set so low on the plant that they were on the soil even with a cage. Mulch is also important for preventing fruit rots.
95 times out of 100 this type of damage on tomatoes is due to Septoria Leaf Spot or Early Blight. The disease lesions develop and cause the leaves to turn yellow and die, starting from the bottom of the plant. However, this plant doesn’t have any of those characteristic lesions. I know that this particular raised bed has a history of nematode damage, so it seems that this variety (Italian Ice), is more susceptible to nematodes than the other cherry tomatoes. Even the other heirlooms are still looking fine!
Of course, we have Blossom End Rot, as I discussed last week.
Then we have this not-so-friendly critter, the stinkbug. No, he doesn’t make the tomatoes stinky, but he does suck out juices, leaving ugly white spots on the skin when the tomato ripens. They don’t damage the eating quality, just the pretty factor.
Are you thoroughly depressed yet?
This is our first tomato from the Family of 4 Garden, one of the ‘Fabulous’ tomatoes. It weighed 8 oz., for a value of $1.00. It is showing some cracks, which is also very common in Kansas tomatoes. These are fairly minor cracks that don’t harm the edibility of the fruit. The only thing you can do to minimize cracks is to pick the tomatoes before they are fully ripe.
Let’s have a couple happier pictures before we close for the week.
Have a great weekend!