Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Lots of Tomato Help
Many of you replied to my tomato question, thank you, thank you! My dad thought it might be the heat and he also suggested using blood meal. His first thought, of course, was that Lily was eating them all before I could pick them.
My uncle Kevin guessed the abnormally high heat we've had and he also made the good point about not planting my tomatoes in the same spot every year. Very good advice for someone like me who is LAZY about rotating her crops!
Several of you suggested calling a county extension service through the department of agriculture or some sort of garden helpline. I took Annette's (from www.sustainableeats.com) advice and emailed The Garden Hotline through Seattle Tilth Association. There web address is: http://www.gardenhotline.org, and their email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call them at (206) 633-0224.
Falaah, the Environmental Educator at The Garden Hotline replied this morning.
"Hi Sara, I am sorry that you are having trouble with your tomatoes. You did identify some causes: excess nitrogen, extreme temps (over 100 or lower than 55 degrees,) inadequate pollination. It also could be drought stress, or shady conditions (doesn't sound like this is your problem.) I think it was the over 100 degree weather that caused your flowers to fall without setting fruit. Wait for new flowers to form. Protect plants with a row cover if our night temps dip below 55. Keep your tomatoes evenly moist (not soggy); do not let the soil dry out. I hope this helps."
Wow am I learning a ton! Thanks again, everyone, for all your help. Hopefully the great advice from Falaah will be helpful to those of you out there who shared in my tomato woes. Maybe all is not lost for tomatoes this year. I'll keep you posted.