No, this isn’t a new game – the title comes from something my kids would say when they were little. It usually meant that something (usually not good) just happened.
Our tomatoes had some uh-ohs this season that produced (in addition to delicious fruit!) lively discussion and internet searches for information. We grew a few hybrid varieties and one heirloom that produces beefsteak tomatoes. Of course, I failed to write down the name and the writing on the tag has faded. I think it might be Black Krim, though. It was the variety with the most interesting symptoms.
|Catfacing (Forestry Images.org)|
Zippering –This one is caused by the male flower parts (anthers) sticking to the developing fruit. Cool weather during fruit set and genetics can play a role.
Concentric growth cracks – this happens when the insides of the tomato grow faster than the skin. The skin can’t keep up with the interior tissue expansion so it cracks or splits. It can be caused by extreme fluctuations in water and temperature as well as genetic susceptibility. Any of these three causes could have figured in this season – but only the heirloom has the problem.
|Concentric growth cracks|
|Green or yellow shoulder|
Psyllids –These were thankfully NIMG – not in my garden - although I have dealt with them other years. The insects feed on sap and inject toxic saliva into the plant. This stops growth, stunts leaves and causes them to turn yellow and/or purple. Tomato fruit is abundant – but tasteless. The little stinkers aren’t easy to find until you a) check the undersides of leaves for the nymphs or b) find what looks like sugar or salt accumulating on leaves, stems or the soil underneath plants. While there are insecticides available– and sulfur works well – it may be too late depending on when you discover the problem.
This has been one of the most entertaining, educational and delicious tomato years we’ve had in a long time. Can’t wait for next years’ adventures!