Friday, August 17, 2012

Kristy Rustay: What’s Wrong with My Tomatoes?

Earlier this week I put up my Meatless Monday post about tomatoes and eggplant. I have swooned over tomatoes in many of my posts — I love them. Because I love them, I boldly planted a lot of tomatoes this year.

The small “cherry” tomatoes (Sungolds pictured here) do not seem to be
afflicted by the same problems as the full-size tomato varieties. 

I say “boldly” because in 2009 I was forced to rip out and bag all 15 of my tomato plants because of a late blight infestation. I refrained from planting full-size tomatoes in 2010 and 2011, planting only Sungolds, Lemon Drops, and Candy cherry tomatoes for salads. I bought the full-size tomatoes at the farmers’ market as needed — leaving this tricky crop to the pros. Last year I also bought two 20-pound boxes of utility tomatoes for making and preserving salsa and tomato sauce.

There was a brief blight scare earlier this summer. I took the warning to heart and sprayed my crop with copper sulfate. Since that first scare, I haven’t heard any of my gardening compadres complain of blight in their gardens.

It’s August, and finally, my big tomatoes are beginning to ripen and split and rot. Yes, split and rot. Is this blight? I don’t see the telltale white under the leaves, and the black rot doesn’t look the same as the greasy bruising that I remember from 2009.

Three different heirloom varieties, and all three are having problems.

What is happening? How can I save the rest of my crop? Gardeners, please help!

I have hopes that I might be able to eat some of my tomatoes.
This one, among many others that are on their way to maturity, looks good so far.


Jenny said...

I don't know about the blight but the rot looks to me like blossom end rot. I had a lot of splitting this year because of the drought (we're in zone 6b and had weeks of temps over 110) mostly with my Cherokee purples. My romas and pear tomatoes were fine.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jenny. Do you think I should pick the unripened tomatoes to prevent any further damage? Will they ripen in a sunny windowsill?

Jenny said...

Yes you can do that and that will help. We just started bringing all of ours inside while still yellow: the round ones, the romas, the pears - all of them. I don't put them on a windowsill just on the counter and they ripen nicely within about a week or so. Good luck with them. It can be so frustrating when you have worked so hard and things you can't control start to go wrong.