Tomato trials

Our first year as tomato farmers is not turning out so well.

We had a bumper crop of green tomatoes, but rather than ripening our tomatoes are rotting.

Rotting tomatoes

We’ve had a couple of frosts and tenderly covered the tomatoes with a tarp to protect them, but our care was apparently unnecessary. The plum tomatoes ripened and remained edible, but the big round tomatoes have become pockmarked with big spots of I-don’t-know-what.

So much for my plans for fabulous flavourful homemade tomato meals.

Anyone have any idea what went wrong?

15 thoughts on “Tomato trials

  1. What you have looks a hole lot light late blight. You need to rip the tomatoes up, and leave zero debris behind. Either bag it and bring it to a dump, or burn the debris. Don’t dump it in the woods where the spores can thrive. Once it’s in your soil, it’s in your soil for 3-4 years. Don’t plant any blight susceptible plant there during that time (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers). I was just having this conversation with someone else because we got early blight (different) as well as another disease. The crazy weather patterns didn’t help this year. There are lots of extensions sites you can read about late blight, but it’s often airborne and easily spread, so if any neighbors had it, it’s likely you’d get it. It may have already been in your soil, or it may have come in your seed stock unfortunately. There are a couple helps for it, including nipping off the bottom suckers and any low to the ground shoots once the plant gets medium sized, but nothing that will eradicate it. Copper sulfate in the soil apparently helps (my brother in law and sister in law did that this year and got an incredible crop) but I’ve heard also a manure-t sprayed once a week and after rains can help too. There are a couple more extreme ways to eradicate blight/disease in the soil but it involves excavating it, refilling in with fresh soil, etc. or “cooking” the soil over a summer.

    Unfortunately tomatoes are finicky and once disease is in the soil it’s hard to control. Don’t give up though. It’s a learning process. We’re making a second garden next year and will either be putting copper sulfate in it right away, or doing the manure-t method (or both).

    • Ugh. This does not sound good. Fortunately this isn’t where I’m planning on putting the vegetable garden (I just stuck the tomato plants in on the turnaround this year). I’m going to have to look into copper sulfate. Sounds like it might be a good thing to use when we put in the new garden.

  2. Steve says it’s called black rot and it’s caused by too much moisture. Throw them on the ground and they’ll grow next year.

    • Unfortunately it’s not blossom end rot (black rot), as it’s appearing on the sides of the fruits as well, the stems are turned black, and there’s white mold on some of the spots. All of these indicate late blight. Blossom end rot would be a lot easier to fix as it is caused by a calcium deficiency. It is definitely helped along by moisture fluctuations which can disturb the appropriate calcium needed by the plant which is why it often seems like a moisture issue.

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