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Tomato Trouble

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Tomato Trouble

Post  B00kemdano on 5/10/2013, 12:10 pm

Last year, I had trouble with BER on my tomatos. This year, I made some ammendments to my MM with (hopefully) quality compost. Well, the plants themselves look pretty darn good, and are growing a lot already. I have a few baby maters growing, but many of them have this problem.



Is this more BER type problems? It almost looks like something's been eating on these guys.

I need advice on how to eat some tomatos this year! :scratch:
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  quiltbea on 5/10/2013, 12:34 pm

Looks like the start of BER to me. Sprinkle some powdered milk around the plants and some Epsom salts and scrape it into the top of the soil with your cultivator. It will add calcium to the soil and the Epsom will release the calcium into the plants. Then water it in.
You need to be consistent with your watering. Don't let them dry out too much before you water them.
As for something eating your plants, look for the green tomato hornworm. Its a big, and I mean big, green catepillar that not only eats the leaves, but also the tomatoes. If one gets loose on your plant it could be a skeleton in a matter of several days. Its the same color as your tomato stems so you might miss it with your eyes. I run my fingers up and down the stems and across the branches and if I touch something soft, ugh, I give a little yell and a shudder, then I pick it up with a paper towel and squish.
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  Turan on 5/10/2013, 12:41 pm

+1

When I looked at your picture enlarged it looked like there is also some splitting. This points to inconsistent watering. Tomatoes do not like to be over watered but they also do not like dry spells. Also, how is the snail/slug situation?

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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  B00kemdano on 5/10/2013, 12:45 pm

It has been raining a lot here lately. I don't have a big enough umbrella to cover that TT. Razz

I haven't seen any signs of critters eating on the leaves. Are there bugs that ONLY eat the fruit?

I put powdered milk on my grocery list!

I was reading about potash for BER. What is your opinion about that?

I just read about Tums, too. Is that too gimicky?


Last edited by B00kemdano on 5/10/2013, 12:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added Tums!)
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  Turan on 5/10/2013, 1:13 pm

Tums works as a calcium additive, same as the powdered milk or bone meal.
Potash is for potassium, which is usually well supplied by manure composts and a bit of kelp meal/ sea based compost. Too much potassium inhibits calcium uptake which then causes BER, so go careful.

Slugs love tomato fruits. They do not bother my tomatoes leaves but eat the fruits. Evil or Very Mad

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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  Pepper on 5/10/2013, 1:28 pm

Would the powdered milk/Epsom salts help with fruit production.
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  B00kemdano on 5/10/2013, 1:49 pm

Thanks for the tips. I did add a little bone meal before I planted. I guess I need more? Is this something I should add periodically?
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  Lemonie on 5/10/2013, 3:32 pm

Egg shells are another fantastic form of calcium and readily available in most homes. You can even use the water you use to boil your eggs to water your plants (after it cools of course). I like to rinse the shells, let them dry for a day (or bake them for a minute) and then use my blender to make them into a powder. Dig that in around your tomatoes and it acts as a nice slow-release calcium.

I am also experimenting w/ magnesium tablets (I take for migraines) crushed and mixed in w/ my MM instead of the powdered milk. It was just a cheaper alternative for me.

I hope you are able to nip this in the blossom and have a fruitful harvest! Laughing
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  B00kemdano on 5/12/2013, 12:16 pm

The fellow that runs our little neighborhood nursery suggested Tomato tone.

It says it's organic. Has anyone used this stuff?
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  littlejo on 5/12/2013, 1:26 pm

Tomato tone is an organic fertilizer. You have toms growing, so I doubt you need fertilizer. Pwd. milk works fine. You don't want to overdo the fertilizer or you will just have plenty of leaves, and no toms.
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/12/2013, 1:39 pm

B00kemdano wrote:Last year, I had trouble with BER on my tomatos. This year, I made some ammendments to my MM with (hopefully) quality compost. Well, the plants themselves look pretty darn good, and are growing a lot already. I have a few baby maters growing, but many of them have this problem.



Is this more BER type problems? It almost looks like something's been eating on these guys.

I need advice on how to eat some tomatos this year! :scratch:
Alabama is NOTHING like western Washington (the state)..... I am just admitting this up front.

1st, many heirlooms get those brown scabs on them (right from the start). They are ugly but harmless. You can let the fruit grow and cut around the scab. (the long brown scab is typical)

Next (and this is what might not apply to Alabama) When it is cold and wet in spring, (typical PNW weather), my tomato plants grow great guns BUT the cool wet weather makes the nutrient (?phosphors?) unavailable. Without this nutrient the plant cannot absorb calcium. Often the first tomatoes have BER. Once the weather gets warmer the problem solves itself BUT we like to add calcium anyway...... I crush calcium tablets, mix them in water and water them in.

Finally, in the PNW, BER starts as a yellow ring, sometimes with a white or gray spot in the yellow ring. That (for me) is usually the first sign of BER.


This is an advanced case of BER (usually the first time I notice a sick tomato is when I go to pick it and my finger sinks into the rotting fruit).... it is not spread from fruit to fruit, it is strictly a calcium deficiency, either from cold wet weather or deficient soil. (sorry, most of the really good examples of BER were flung over the fence and into the gully without a picture). This happens to be the cherry tomato Gold Nugget.

The green tomato on the right has a harmless (but ugly) scab. This tomato is the popular heirloom, Cherokee Purple. Nearly all the CP's I grew in Everett had huge, ugly scars. None of them got vine ripe in my Everett urban farm so I do not try to grow this beloved heirloom anymore.

The center middle red tomato has scab (not a good example, difficult to see) which has been on the tomato since it was very small. This one happens to be Siltz.

God's blessing on your 2013 tomato crop! Keep learning-keep growing your own-and-get dirty. AND bty, I don't think your product will hurt your babies, it could help, but you have been given all kinds of less expensive, home remedies that DO work.
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  dvelten on 5/12/2013, 1:55 pm

I think Debs is right. That looks more like "catfacing" than BER. Catfacing is caused by incomplete pollination during cold weather and heirloom varieties seem to be more affected by it. Up here in the NE the first few fruits on the bottom of the plant are often affected, but fruit that sets later after weather is consistently warm are usually fine.
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/12/2013, 2:17 pm

dvelten wrote:...snip... Catfacing is caused by incomplete pollination during cold weather and heirloom varieties seem to be more affected by it...snip...
How about that. I did not know there was a name or a cause. Thanks d!

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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  Turan on 5/12/2013, 3:15 pm

littlejo wrote:Tomato tone is an organic fertilizer. You have toms growing, so I doubt you need fertilizer. Pwd. milk works fine. You don't want to overdo the fertilizer or you will just have plenty of leaves, and no toms.
Jo

+1

You can supplement the powdered milk with some epsom salts but beyond that focus on watering issues.

I use Tomato-tone when potting up my starts and when transplanting. I could see you might want to give the plants a bit as a boost AFTER they ripen this fruit set. At that point a growth spurt of green would then later bring on another round of flowering. But fertilizing while setting and ripening fruit will give you more greenery and fewer fruits.

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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  Turan on 5/12/2013, 3:27 pm

Thank you, Lavender Deb and dvelten, I just learned a lot about the cat facing and the sequence for BER. I usually notice BER by sticking my thumb in it and swearing and then sprinkling epsom salts.

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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  Pepper on 5/12/2013, 3:52 pm

Pepper wrote:Would the powdered milk/Epsom salts help with fruit production.

Does the milk and Epsom salts help fruit production or just solve the BER problem???
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  jazzycat on 5/12/2013, 7:40 pm

Question. A lot of people here said no fertilizing once the plants are setting fruit. So does that mean no compost tea or fish emulsion or anything like that? Does this apply to both determinate and indeterminate? Because my understanding is indeterminate varieties will just keep growing and producing fruit until the cold stops them. (or the heat), but determinate varieties set fruit at the same time, and then may have another harvest later on. thinking

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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  littlejo on 5/12/2013, 8:58 pm

Calcium is needed for the ber, don't know what the epsom salts do. BER does not know whether it is det. or Ind., neither does fertilizer.
Watering on an even keel will help with calcium uptake.
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  camprn on 5/12/2013, 9:17 pm

jazzycat wrote:Question. A lot of people here said no fertilizing once the plants are setting fruit. So does that mean no compost tea or fish emulsion or anything like that? Does this apply to both determinate and indeterminate? Because my understanding is indeterminate varieties will just keep growing and producing fruit until the cold stops them. (or the heat), but determinate varieties set fruit at the same time, and then may have another harvest later on. thinking
I'll top dress with compost or give compost tea if the plants look like they need to be fed. You are correct about the nature of the determinate and the indeterminate tomato growth.

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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  Turan on 5/12/2013, 10:22 pm

In my experience indeterminates have flushes of growth and then fruiting, but my experiences are based around short growing season using greenhouses to extend that season. You guys with enough time to have several cycles of growth and fruiting might see it as a fuzzier or clearer parts of the cycle. Various varieties will also vary in this.

I suspect but do not know if tomatoes in general need more calcium for fruiting. It seems a logical conclusion seeing as a sever enough lack is shown with BER. They are also sensitive to PK deficiency which is shown in the purpling leaves. All this is exasperated with cool weather. Powdered milk, epsom salts are all part of trying to manage this delicate balance. Supposedly the magnesium in the epsom salts helps with the uptake of the calcium.

I do not routinely fertilize plants after planting them. But I have mature good soil with lots of organic matter in it that will slowly release nutrients all growing season long. I have been known to pile grass clippings as a mulch that feeds, but not around tomatoes. It is easy to over feed tomatoes and get lots of pretty growth and fewer tomatoes.

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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  B00kemdano on 5/20/2013, 8:32 pm

Well, I ended up sprinkling some powdered milk around my 'maters a couple days after I added some Tomato-tone, and it looks like they're in good shape! I've got a dozen or so fruit that have made it past the "rotten baby" stage. I'm getting excited that we might actually eat some of our own tomatos this year!

They didn't have epsom salts at the store the day I picked up the powdered milk, but I still plan to get some soon. I hope the BER doesn't come back in the mean time!
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  sanderson on 5/21/2013, 8:12 pm

How much powdered milk and epson salt should or could I put on my tomatoes? Per tomato plant in 1 ft. sq. And per tomato plant in pots?
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  littlejo on 5/21/2013, 8:41 pm

sanderson wrote:How much powdered milk and epson salt should or could I put on my tomatoes? Per tomato plant in 1 ft. sq. And per tomato plant in pots?

Do you have BER? I don't put any as preventive, sometimes it is an uneven watering issue, which might not be helped by adding calcium.
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Re: Tomato Trouble

Post  quiltbea on 5/22/2013, 10:41 am

I put mine in the planting hole if I remember. If not, I add it later if a prob shows up, by scattering it over the top and working it in with my hand cultivator.

Some use crushed eggshells but I feel they can't help the soil in that condition until the following year. Powdered milk is better IMHO.
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