We had a downpour of rain yesterday and this is the result – tomato split.
Tomatoes splitting is a very common problem that is caused by dry soil getting a good soaking …. usually a downpour of rain!
Keeping outdoor tomatoes correctly watered is very difficult. Soil that is too dry can cause blossom end rot as plants struggle to access enough nutrients (calcium for Blossom End Rot).
Soil that is too wet for long periods can cause fungal diseases and reduces tomato flavour – also root growth may be reduced.
So is it possible to keep the moisture content of your soil just right when growing outdoors? The answer is: with great difficulty!
Some varieties are more prone to cracking or skins splitting than others and a good example of this is Sungold, perhaps its only downside.
Removing the Growing Tip
When to remove the growing tip of tall varieties depends on whether you are growing outside or in a greenhouse. You might allow four trusses outdoors and up to seven or eight in an unheated greenhouse.
Of course if you find that your plants are getting a little too tall, that could be a sign to remove the growing tips also!
A Few Observations – Thick Skins
The Tumbling Toms grown in my porch have thinner skins than those grown outside and even those grown in the greenhouse.
I guess the first thing that comes to mind is that the porch has less temperature variation than the garden and greenhouse.
Conclusion: wide temperature variations can cause thicker skins.
Premature Ripening – Smaller Tomatoes
This happens when tomatoes ripen before they have reached full size.
I’ve noticed that some plants grown in containers have produced smaller ripe fruit than expected.
These plants have been late in fruiting because of a delay in flowers pollinating. so roots have used up most of their pot space.
I put the problem of premature ripening down to roots becoming “pot bound” as the fruit are growing. This will sometimes encourage a plant to ripen its fruit before the tomatoes have reached full size.
Conclusion: Tomatoes may ripen before they reach full size if a plant becomes pot bound, that is, the roots have no room left to develop.
This is consistent with the method of “forcing” when plants are pushed into flowering early by keeping them in a small pot – a technique that some tomato growers use.
Tomato plants have one mission – to produce seed for the next generation and they will try and do this at all costs!
Flying Insects and Small Bees
Does anyone know what these are called? There are lots of them flying around the tomato flowers in my garden and doing a great job of pollinating!
Professional growers use bees to help pollinate their plants in huge glasshouses.
Tomato Taste – Outdoor Plants
This has been particularly good so far this season owing to the fact that it has been easier to control the amount of water and tomato food the outdoor plants get.
Less Rain – More Control
When there are frequent heavy showers, as in the last few summers in my area, nutrients in the soil of the outdoor plants get washed away leaving tomatoes with a watery taste.
That’s it for the first newsletter in August. Please leave a message below or email me if you would like to.