Late blight hit the Celebrities and Big Boys. Not sure why this happened. One theory is lack of nutrients. I have been lax fertilizing as of late and I did not add compost to the mix this year or any slow release ferts. Another theory is blame it on the sunflowers again. They may be a vector and using them as buffer plants may have brought this on. The two Branywines are unaffected and very healthy. All tomato plants are producing a lot of tomatoes. I probably should be measuring the harvest with a scale. Maybe next year. Despite the blight I would consider this year’s tomato crop to be a success in that it produced a decent amount of nice round tomatoes without BER or cracking or other weirdness. I’m probably around 60-70 harvested so far. A second wave harvest is doubtful. The Brandywines have a shot at a second wave but I don’t see any new flowers on them either even though the plants themselves look good. A couple Celebrities look kind of stunted. In past years the Celebrities were the hardy ones — not this year. Maybe Gethsemane in Rogers Park sold me bad tomato seedlings. I have already decided not to use them next year because of their selection has been poor. This seals the deal for me.
Today (8/6) found more mites in all tomato plants when picking curled leaves. The organic spray is not working so the only thing left for this year is to keep blasting hard water showers at the plants each evening and perhaps during the day. Perhaps had I known about mites at the beginning of the season I could have used the spray when the plants were smaller with less leaves to worry about. Now it’s too late. Compared to last season however the tomatoes still have a fighting chance. The Big Boys are struggling however. Also harvested 4 decent sized tomatoes, all Celebrities.
Update 8/9: Temps dropped. Now 66F here at 5pm. Only hard showered tomatoes last night (8/8) and skipped watering everything else on main roof. Harvested four tomatoes yesterday. Some cracking but no big deal. No BER. Harvested only from Celebrities but the Big Boys look like they’ll start giving up red ones. Flicked giant catepillar off the roof who was eating the top branches off of a Big Boy. Mites are few so the hard showers seem to be working. Will get a pic up soon but the Celebrities look like they have recovered from the mites while the Big Boys keep losing branches to my pruning. Overall it’s 8/9 and although a couple Big Boys might not make it, the buffer system seems to have worked by keeping them isolated. Morning glories on NW corner veranda level seem weaker compared to last year. Must investigate possible causes.
Update again 8/9: Now I went and checked the plants looking on the backside of the leaves where most of the mites hang out after reading these articles. Pruned heavily. Mostly Big Boys but some Celebrities. My overall observation is that the Celebrities seem to have tolerated the mites better although I’m pruning curled leaves mercilessly now. It’s raining. I’m debating whether or not to spray the oil. May as well use up the rest of the bottle.
A sample curled leave taken from Celebrity tomato in caged position two. No hard showers given since application of organic anti-mite oils. I noticed that curled leaves in all tomatoes now have distinct brown spots which seems to indicate that this solution might have had some effect. No mites seen today. Saw one teeny little black beetle and hopefully that wasn’t something. Did a hard prune today but it was much lighter than the past two prunes. Also fertilized tonight. We have another 100F day tomorrow and then the cold front hits. Harvested two little tomatoes not even worth mentioning. Some tomatoes are cracked which means I might be watering too much. I’m not concerned about that.
Overall, with all I know now that I didn’t know last year at this time, so far so good. The Big Boy tomatoes have good second growth and lots of second growth flowers on all eight. We’ll see where everything is at tomorrow. One day at a time…
Update 8/5: Skipped watering on 8/4 evening because it rained somewhat. Heavy cucumber harvest today. Cucumber in the cages lost two main branches which at first glance looked like they were broken but upon further inspection did not see anything broken. Not sure as to the cause but after cutting noticed white fur around base of branches which could mean something else nasty eating my plants. Pruned and sprayed again. Saw mites in curled leaved sections hidden away in groups. They weren’t moving fast but they were there. Big Boys are having most difficulty while Celebrities might be OK (knock on wood). Even though the Big Boys grew much higher than the Celebrities, the branches being cut out of them leave their base barren. They are getting second growth and flowers butthe mites seem relentless. Perhaps if I had started treatment earlier this wouldn’t have been as big a problem because the plants are so big now it’s difficult getting around to all the infected branches. The couple of decent sized tomatoes are nice and round and no BER but some over watered cracking. They cut up well and taste good. A lot of big ones from the Big Boys should be coming in a couple of days.
First harvest on 7/19. Four eggplants and a cucumber. Cuke taken from the one in the cages which is doing well. Eggplants from caged position 2.
Possible blight on Big Boy tomato in caged position 10. Eggplant in caged position 9 doesn’t look well. Instead of pulling entire eggplant, took off all blighted leaves and removed all blighted stalks from tomato. It looks like a small and isolated outbreak. Never seen blight on eggplant before. IMHO, the outbreak seemed to originate from the eggplant which shares its container with a Cleome (unaffected). That eggplant has some healthy new growth so I let it be for now to see if the problem is over.
The tomato blight is the reason I haven’t updated photo album logs in 2008, 2009, 2010 which is stupid because these photo logs are a great resource to see what worked and what didn’t and to improve upon the future.
Tomatoes are coming in. It’s better than last year. Nothing could be worse than 2010 for tomatoes.
Here‘s a panoramic taken a few days ago.
Maybe I’ll get into the mood to take pictures again. This logbook is for me, so that I can review what I’ve done in the past so I don’t repeat mistakes.