Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tomato Splits

Mmmm.... doesn't that sound yummy? Bet you've never had a tomato split, have you?

Are you envisioning this yukky red concoction of tomatoes and ice cream? Yeah, yuk. And double yuk.

It really is yucky, even though I'm not talking about a real tomato split with ice cream. My tomatoes are all splitting, and it's due to all the rain we've been getting. This is the first time I've ever encountered a tomato split. At first I thought I had some sort of exotic disease and, since I'm growing organically, was panicking that I was getting ready to lose all my tomatoes.

An Internet search (ain't technology jest wunderful?) enlightened me on the cause. It's an overabundance of rain. There are some ways to mitigate the amount of rain, but all are a bit too involved for my small plot so I'm just going to suffer through losing a ton of tomatoes.

I did learn a few things during my search. Turns out I've been watering at the wrong time. I usually water at dusk. I didn't want to water during the day because someone told me or I read somewhere many years back that watering during the heat of the day can cause leaf burn.

I learned that watering at night can cause problems. Mold, fungus, other yucky things (today's word is: Yucky ;-) Tomatoes like being watered during the heat of the day as they need consistent drenching. None of the places I visited even mentioned leaf burn in conjunction with watering during peak sun times. I usually water at the base anyway, so logically I've been rather silly about my watering habits.

I really hate tossing so many of my tomatoes. Even my green tomatoes are splitting, so picking early and allowing them to ripen in the window isn't a good solution.

I still have a lot of blooms so I hope to have tomatoes for quite a bit longer. I am seeing some browning of the lower leaves on the plant which tells me that it's getting closer and closer to the time when my tomatoes will stop producing. I could be reading the brown leaves incorrectly, could be the water is causing problems there, too.

Any which way you look at a tomato split, whether it's tomatoes smushed in ice cream or on the vine, it's not a happy situation. Yuck. Yuk. (Just as an FYI lesson of the day, my spell checker didn't highlight yuck, yuk, yucky or yukky. How both them yuckles?)
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