Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

Blossom End Rot

I’ve had blossom end rot attack my tomatoes in past years though most often it is not a problem. This year it is. One of my varieties, Big Boy, is supposed to be particularly vulnerable to it. I’ve lost about a third of my tomato crop to it so far.

Blossom end rot is when the blossom end of the tomato fruit turns brown and watery. You can cut it off but the entire tomato is often mealy.

My research indicates that inadequate calcium is the culprit. This often occurs because of erratic watering. I’ve been trying to water either every other day or every day during the recent hot period. I did not mulch my garden this year and I suspect that is also a problem – the soil is giving up moisture to quickly to evaporation.

From one on-line source I learned to make a slurry of pelleted lime and water. After mixing the slurry for a long time I then added it to the plants at the ground. I will report back on how that goes.

Today’s photo are my wife’s Morning Glory which is in full growth and bloom. It greets me every morning as I go out the door.

Happy Gardening,
Dan Murphy


Tomato Problems

Solanum lycopersicum, commonly called the tomato is an edible delight in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). They originated in Central and South America. Although botanically a fruit, tomatoes have a lower sugar content than most fruits and are considered a culinary vegetable.

Although not terribly difficult to grow in most of the United States they do have some problems due to their sensitivity to how often they are watered, how they are watered and how much water they get.

This year my tomatoes are doing well. All but one of the plants has good foliage growth. All have good blossoms and are setting fruit. I have some cherry tomatoes that are picked and eaten.

I attribute the success mostly to the weather. Until this coming week when we are to have triple digit heat the weather has been mostly in the 80sF and some days in the high 70s. The plants seem to thrive in those temperatures.

In the video below from, Ben Vanheems teaches us about how to care for tomatoes and avoid their common problems.


Happy Gardening,

Dan Murphy

Vegetable Update

The vegetable garden is in full growth now. I harvested a dozen small tomatoes today along with a beet. I will be cutting broccoli later today. We have enough for one dinner at least.

A few of the tomatoes have blossom end rot and I tossed those. Everything else is coming along though some things are much slower than usual.

The photos here show the garden boxes with their full growth. I still see very few beans. Someone suggested I may be watering too much but I doubt that. I get blossoms on the beans but no bean. I’ve never encountered that before.

IMG_0123This is the last big month for the veggies. I will be harvesting several times a week now. Cauliflower is coming along well, I have a head on each plant. They do remain small though.

Happy Gardening,

Dan Murphy

Roses and Tomatoes

tomato-050215 Yesterday I planted two tomato starts I bought at the Farmer’s Market. This is a bit early to plant tomatoes for me. I usually use Mother’s Day as the fail safe date for tomatoes but I am feeling adventurous this year.

Behind the tomatoes are peas. I planted 8 of them on 3/29/15. Of those three came up and snails attacked two of them with vengeance. Now I have applied slug bait in hopes of deterring further mayhem to the peas. I also sowed four more seeds. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of snails, where do they come from? When we moved here in 2002 there were plenty of slugs but few snails. For the past few years we see the usual slugs but they are far outnumbered by the snails. If I am not careful they decimate the hostas and much of the tender garden plants.

While weeding the flower bed in the SE corner of the yard I was struck by the intense fragrance of a yellow rose bush. I have included a photo here. I do not know the variety as this bush was here when we moved in. I suspect it has been here for over 20 years.

rose-050215The blooms are stunning but the fragrance is amazing. I cut four of them and put them in the kitchen. Neither my wife nor I are allergic to roses so we can enjoy them inside or out.

More planting should occur later today but will have to wait for next week’s post. Right now the weeds are taking more of my time. More about the weeds in good time.

Time to go outside now and get more done.

Happy Gardening,
Dan Murphy

Autumn’s Advance

Autumn, from the Latin autumnus, possibly of Etruscan origin. [autumn. Unabridged. Random House, Inc. (accessed: September 07, 2014).]

The English word autumn came to us from the middle French word automne which of course came from the Latin autumnus. The British today use the term autumn more and the Americans use fall more. Fall by the way came from “fall of the year” or “fall of the leaf”, sources on this are not very certain.

I must confess I’ve always preferred the word autumn. It sounds very New England to me and reminds me of classic paintings of New England autumns with leaf piles and all that.

It is now still two weeks away from the official beginning of autumn or fall. Mother Nature however rarely follows the calendar. Though our days remain hot here (80s and 90s F.) nights are getting much cooler. It dropped to 47 F one night last week. More noticeable is the dampness. The dry nights are over. My pick up truck is covered with moisture when I get up in the morning. Dew is heavy.

The leaves are slowly starting to fall as well. The neighbor’s sweet gum tree is dumping a few every day now – small yellow leaves, formerly green, that are scattered around my front yard and will soon mean the first of many rakings for the season.

Dusk is now just before 8:00 PM and the morning light is closer to 6:00 AM. The days continue to shorten on their march toward the shortest day, December 21.

In the garden things are beginning already to fade. The basil is exhausted and I will soon have to pull it out and dry it. The peppers want another good month of heat they are not likely to get so as usual my pepper harvest will be disappointing to non-existent.

Tomatoes are happy and giving continuously ripening fruit but the leaves are showing the age of the plant. They are anticipating fall and the first deadly frost.

I must admit that autumn is my favorite season. I love the colors, the cool crispness of morning, the harvests, and all the other good things about this time. I also welcome the relief from the heat.

Next week I will talk about the winter plans for the vegetable garden. See you then, and enjoy the changing season.