Tomato Update

black prince tomatoes from a SF back yard

'Black Prince' tomatoes from an Amyitis Garden

I certainly was expecting a bigger yield by now but, with that said, I am still very grateful.  Growing deliciously beautiful heirloom tomatoes in foggy San Francisco summer temps is no small feat.  I am proud.  Since our first fruit in June we’ve seen a lot of activity with these plants but less product than we expected; while the plants continue to grow toward the sky, there seems to be a dearth of ripe red fruit.

After some troubleshooting and investigation, Eben and discovered a problem with the watering system.  It seems that an old irrigation path for the grass was still coming on and soaking the beds each night.  This excess water was causing a lot of the fruit to  swell and crack.  Water is also a vector for disease and blight.  Thankfully we were spared some of the potentially nastier diseases the plants could have acquired throughout all of the soaking.  Though, I do have my eye on some powdery mildew that is developing in places.  Powdery mildew is a common fungal problem on vegetable plants, but can spread quickly if not kept in check.

Not the least of our slow production issues has been the fog.  For the month of July the fog has shrouded the Western Peninsula with an icy blanket.  As I have said in earlier posts, tomatoes and squash are heat loving plants.  Tomatoes need heat to ripen.  In the past week it would appear that our weather trend has shifted a bit.  The sun is shining and the Bay Area has seen temps well into the 90s. As you can see in the above photo, a little heat goes a long way.  Now with some of the kinks worked out, the fruit is rolling in and it is delicious!!

Happy Gardening,

David

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