Monday, January 11, 2010

You Say Tomato, He Says Tomauto, I Say Dead, Dead, Dead

When one of my plants dies, I die a little inside, too.
Linda Solegato

I know I won't gather much sympathy from this post. That living in Zone 8 brings me a mild winter with a temp dip below 32 an occasional occurrence. That the majority of the country looks like frozen tundra and even the orange groves are at risk this evening. But I do want some advice, as I so want to grow tomatoes.

You may recall this photo from last summer when the temps surpassed 100 for weeks in a row. Where trying to keep my plants alive became the name of the game. With no hope for the fruit to set when the temp rises above 90, I had missed the window by a few weeks. My plants succumbed to dry, shriveled, ugly, ugly death. Note to self - For summer crop, plant earlier - like March.

In October, I purchased new seedlings from the store. Fresh hope. Varied varieties named Early Girl, Brandywine, Celebrity, Yellow Pear. Planted three in the garden, three in pots. Experimenting.
Results: Cold weather blows in and although plants grow large and the fruit sets, even colder weather visits bringing vicious, frigid winds. Note to Self - For winter crop, plant earlier - like September 1.

Nothing sadder than seeing a thriving plant, die, die, die. A green thumb does not live at my house when it comes to tomatoes. I know people who just stick tomato plants in the ground and they produce so much the planter can't figure out what to do with them all. I want a harvest like that. Perhaps in more things that just tomato growing.This is the big harvest for the season. With the Arctic blast coming at us like a steam engine, I covered the plants for days. Unfortunately, 16 degrees is the limit. I gave in and picked all they wrote. Think I'll eat those baby plum tomatoes tomorrow.

Meanwhile - there are sad hearts around my house tonight. The Green Bay Packer game didn't leave us in good moods. Had to go eat Mexican food to feel better. We love the Pack. Until next year.

And that there in my dining room? That's the Fragrant Liar. Click here to visit her most informational blogsite. Don't go, however, if you don't like to laugh.

My computer is operating way too slow. Signing off for now.


  1. Good luck with those tomatos. My problem is the heat. It burns the tomato leaves and then they die. But they also need the sun, so... where to put them? So far mine are doing nicely :) Fingers crossed.

  2. I have been trying to do tomatoes in pots here in Georgia for twenty years with no luck, except for the romas and cherries! I get a few that are eat worthy, but blight or bugs get the rest. I've also tried moving them around throughout the day, getting good sun but moving into a more protected area in the worst heat of the day. Do you have a little area next to the house or patio that you could till up for a tomato patch? Wouldn't have to be too big. And plastic pots seem to do better than clay. Other than that, I have no clue. The heat is such a huge factor, like you said, buds just won't set and the whole plant quits growing while it protects itself. Yes, start early, even if you have to put them in an area of the house with a grow light.

  3. There is a sod's law attached to all my gardening efforts in the vegetable garden - everyone else has ore fruit/ less caterpillars'less fungal infections/ more sunshine etc.etc. My poor weedy offerings in the tomato line are best hidden under the potatoes in a casserold - so I am no help to you at all.

  4. oh I am sorry for the tomatoes. I tried once but mines went to heaven as soon as they started to show some green leaves :((

  5. My best advice for growing tomatoes is to move to Washington. :-) I hope you have better luck next time.

    What a great picture. Off to check out Ms. Fragrant.

  6. I got nothin'.

    Much as I love tomatoes, I don't have a green thumb to grow them. However, my daughter does, and my mom. I think they do it because they love me. Or maybe I'm just the beneficiary of their crops. In any case, until the frost hit, TG had over 100 tomatoes on her tomato plant out back, which had run amok, growth-wise. Most were salvageable until the chill set in. Yummy stuff!

  7. P.S. I am so NOT photogenic...

    But you look fabulous, dahling!

  8. Got to tell you, we're pretty excited about the game over here in Arizona. Sorry about that facemasking business at the end of the game...

  9. I have no luck with tomatoes, either. One year the vines were gorgeous: beautiful green, big leaves, staked nearly to the treetops--and the fruit was hard, dry, green. Total bust. So when you find the magic solution please, PLEASE share!!

  10. Oh don't I love the taste of a freshly grown tomato, we only have one growing seasons and fortunate for me I can always count on my tomatoes.....
    I, too am sick over the Packers game, they just played to badly in the first quarter but they came so close and I still think QB's face mask was pulled and should of been called but oh well, there is always next year.
    Have a great night....:-) Hugs

  11. You have to put them in the ground instead of pots I think. I know you have rock about one inch down, but maybe you could find a spot in your garden that has a lot of good compost and soil in it.

    They need a lot of water but not often. A deep watering is best. And you have to cut off the suckers and train the vines to a tomato wire thing. They should do well down there in Texas planted in the early Spring or even what we call winter up here in God's country--Wisconsin! And when it gets too hot you can stand out there with an umbrella and a fan from the local undertaker and keep them cool.:)

  12. Hahahahahahhahaha! That would be a site. An umbrella and a fan. Me, have patience for that?

  13. I have a hard time with tomatoes, too. Is that an es or just an s at the end of tomato?

    Anyway two of my favorite bloggers in one room! How cool is that!

  14. I would start by buying the young plants from a garden centre rather than trying to grow then from seed yourself. Then you need to keep the plants watered, but too much water and the tomatoes split. It is tricky getting the balance right!

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