Sunday 22 August 2010

Tomato problems

Ok, so yesterday I was singing the praises of my tomato crop. Today I am fearing the worst. I have seen a tomato fruit with what might be the symptoms of blight. I HOPE it isn't, but I'm going to keep a very close eye on things for the next few days, because the weather conditions in Fleet have been ideal for blight -- warm and very humid, with night-time temperatures not much different to day-time ones -- very "muggy", as they say. I have inspected all my tomato plants quite carefully, but I can't see any other blight symptoms, such as brown shrivelled leaves, or dark spots on the stems.

I've taken some pictures of the offending fruit -- it looks dreadful, all yellowy-brown, and it feels squashy (almost as if the skin were filled entirely with water, and no flesh). Yuk!

Diseased tomato fruit

Diseased tomato fruit

I have to confess that there are one or two other problems with the tomatoes too...

Every year the Ferline plants lose a few fruits to Blossom End Rot, a very common disease of tomatoes. It is said to be caused (possibly just exacerbated) by (1) a lack of calcium, and (2) "erratic watering". I feed my tomatoes once a week with proprietary balanced tomato food, so I hope that (1) doesn't apply, and I am very good about watering regularly, so I would suspect that (2) is also not a valid cause. Anyway, for whatever reason some of the fruits get the disease, but it is never devastating, and most of the crop escapes damage.  Less severely-affected fruits are normally useable as long as you cut out the damaged parts. The other varieties of tomato I have grown do not normally suffer from this disease.

Blossom End Rot -- the one one the left is probably partially-useable

Blossom End Rot - the one on the right is a complete write-off

When the weather is wet, especially after a dry spell, tomato fruit often split. I think this is because the skins cannot expand as rapidly as the flesh. As long as you pick the fruits promptly they are still useable, although they don't look so nice, and obviously won't keep well. Here's a picture of a Black Cherry suffering this fate...
Black Cherry splitting
Maskotka splitting

Think positive; end on a high note, and all that.... It's not all doom and gloom. Just look at these (all picked today). Now THAT makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it?

Sungella and Maskotka

1 comment:

  1. Do you know Mark if I had an Italian restaurant I would take that picture of those beautiful two variety tomatoes in dishes, posterize it up to about 1.5 metre square and put it on the wall. I know this because my local Italian eatery has similar pictures which are always admired by the diners.


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