Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Tomatoes - past the critical point??

With blight nibbling away at my precious tomato plants leaf by leaf I'm experiencing some anxious moments. Will any of the tomatoes ripen before the plants succumb? Indeed, will the plants succumb? We have had several days of hot dry weather, which blight does not like, so maybe the disease can actually be halted before it becomes catastrophic. My feeling is that some of the fruits are probably mature enough to ripen now, even if I have to pick them to avoid the blight. They mostly look very green still, but I know from experience that even fruit like that will eventually ripen.

I would like to be able to publish loads of photos of ripe tomatoes, but I'm afraid I can't. Well, just a few of the "Maskotka", the first of which are nearly ready:

However, see what you think of the other varieties. Every plant has at least a few reasonably advanced fruits. Despite being badly hit by the weedkiller contamination, "Stupice" is doing surprisingly well. Every truss (and it has 5) is well-filled. Almost every flower has set, to produce a fruit.

This is "Tigerella", whose fruits are now very stripy. Again, this plant has three well-filled trusses of fruit, with more coming on.

This is "Costoluto Fiorentino". I have removed lots of tiny fruit from it, because I don't want it to get overloaded. I think a small number of good fruit is better than lots of indifferent ones, and this variety produces big fruits if given the chance.

Here is "De Colgar" the Spanish "Hanging tomato". The idea is that you hang up the ripe fruits (still on their trusses) in a cool place, which will allow you to keep them for ages - long after all the fresh ones have finished. Allegedly these will last throughout the Winter if you let them. They have thick skins and are really only suitable for cooking, not eating in salads or anything.

Here is "Primabella", one of the new generation of blight-resistant varieties developed in Germany. My plant has grown very tall, but it was very late developing fruit-trusses. In terms of yield, it may therefore not be so good, but its blight-resistant qualities may still redeem it.

This next one is "Supersweet 100", which is setting some enormous trusses of tiny fruits. Probably about 100 fruits per truss, I suppose!

The last one I want to show off today is "Grushkova", a compact bush variety which produces medium-sized ribbed red fruit.

The fruit set has again been pretty good on this one. No ripe fruit so far, but several that look as if they would ripen if I had to remove them from the plant in an emergency.

I'm beginning to think that there is still a chance of a reasonable tomato crop this year!


  1. Like you my tomatoes are fighting of blight, the plants planted outside affected by herbicide, are pulling through, the potted ones aren't but the fruit is so far ok.

    From experience I can say any green tomato that is mature, has been sitting on the plant a while and is full size will ripen off of the plant, but, it won't be as sweet since it needs as much of the sun on the plant as possible to get the chemical process of producing sugar and acid in the correct quantities. So definitely best to leave the fruit on the plants as long as possible.

    I kept some of my tomato plants going until January to see if they ripen. They did, but it wasn't worth the effort with tasteless red tomatoes caused by not enough sun.

  2. Given the weather we've had so far this year, Mark, I think your tomatoes are doing really well. Mine are a complete wash out - only just starting to flower!!! I'm not holding out any hope of fruit this year. People up at the allotments have been telling a similar tale of woefully late tomatoes or very few fruits on the plants. Fingers crossed that the blight will halt and we'll get some real summer sun in August!

  3. There's not much wrong with the ones you picture. !00 fruits per truss on Sweet Million -wow
    You constantly show what a great veg grower you are Mark
    I lost just one of my tomato plants to a grey mould scar at the base about a month ago. i rescued some quite nice looking green tomatoes from the discarded plant and they have now ripened on the greenhouse bench - good enough for frying but nothing like my present crop for taste.
    On the pessimistic side I have never known tomatoes badly infected with potato blight(tomato blight) really recover - nor the picked green fruit unless caught very early

  4. The De Colgar tomato sounds quite interesting. There are a few tomato varieties like that around here but I've heard that they lack a good tomato flavour - it will be interesting to see if they keep as well as they say and if the flavour is there. Hopefully they don't get struck down by blight before you have a chance to find out.

  5. I am still anxiously watching out for any signs of blight and has you say hope that the dry conditions don't suit it.


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