Gardening Rookie: Tomato Trouble


| 9/11/2009 3:37:43 PM


I was optimistic about my garden’s tomato outlook at the beginning of this growing season. I planted cherry and Roma in pots in front of my house, plus a Big Boy and two heirloom varieties in the ground down the street at my honey’s parents’ house. Then, long after these plants were busy growing, I rescued two tiny, limp heirloom plants from the greenhouse (practically free!) and planted them in big buckets in front of our house with the other potted plants.

While the tomatoes began growing, I dreamt of the overabundance I was certain I’d harvest in no time. I’d have more than I could handle for caprese salads, BLTs and homemade sauces. I’d pass along bags of beautiful, ripe, juicy orbs to friends and family to share the love. I’d even try my hand at canning a few. 

But then what is usually the beginning of a long, fruitful tomato season passed with nary a red tomato in sight. I lamented the fact I was an inexperienced grower who had botched my tomato gardening.

Only it wasn’t just my plants—long-time tomato growers in the area experienced the same plight, and even the pickin’s at the farmer’s market were slim. Those tomatoes that did appear on people’s vines tended to be a bit mushy, tinier than usual, and not nearly as tasty as a fresh-from-the-vine fruit is supposed to be. 

Part of the problem in our parts: this summer’s weather. I did a bit of research to try to figure out why it affected my tomato harvest this year: 



Late blooming 



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