First Substantial Tomato Harvest of the Summer!

We’ve been picking and eating Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and Yellow Pear tomatoes on a daily basis for a couple of weeks now, but yesterday was the first time some of the other tomatoes were ripe and ready for picking…and all I can say is WOO HOO!!!

Those are two Early Bush ‘Goliath” tomatoes in the front.  The three large tomatoes in the back are Mortgage Lifters.  The small tomatoes in the middle are Sun Gold cherries, Yellow Pears, and Principe Borghese. 


These lovelies are San Marzano plum tomatoes – the same tomatoes that just a week or so ago were suffering from Blossom End Rot.  This time around not a single tomato (on any plant) had blossom end rot – hooray!

The slicing tomatoes were slightly split or cracked, which I understand is also a side effect of inconsistent watering (gee – I sound like a bad mother or something!  I swear, I water regularly!), but  they should still be just fine to eat, and I cannot wait to dig into them the minute I get home from work today!

Here’s the whole batch:

A little salt, olive oil, and vinegar on some of these sliced up…I’d just about call that a meal!

I was a little concerned at the beginning of the summer that I’d gone overboard and planted too many tomatoes for two people to keep up with, but I think we’ll manage just fine.   If we start getting inundated over the month of August, I certainly won’t complain!  It will just give me an excuse to start canning!

Here’s the list of the tomatoes we’re growing (one plant of each type, all in containers):

‘Sun Gold’

‘Yellow Pear’

‘Principe Borghese’

‘San Marzano’

‘Mortgage Lifter’

Early Bush ‘Goliath’


The Dreaded Blossom End Rot Has Struck.

My tomatoes have been doing great.  I was nervous for a while there because many of the leaves and stems on several plants were yellowing but after a healthy dose of additional compost and then some liquid Dr. Earth fertilizer a week later, they seem to have perked up.  They are all planted in containers and therefore need a supply of nutrients to replenish those that leach out after watering.  Oddly enough, the tomatoes planted in the enormous half wine barrels seemed to suffer more than those planted in smaller 5-gallon pickle buckets!  Go figure.

I was just glad they all recovered and we’ve been enjoying plenty of Sun Gold tomatoes from an out-of-control-happy seedling I got from Elaine over at Bucolic Bushwick a few months back – thanks, Elaine!  Principe Borgheses have also been delicious, and we’ve had plenty of decent yellow pear tomatoes.

We’ve had our eyes on the Mortgage Lifters, which are starting to turn pink now, and on the San Marzano plum tomatoes, which look absolutely gorgeous…at least they DID until yesterday, when as I bent down to pick some weeds from another container I noticed a dark spot on the bottom of one of the plum tomatoes…and then another…and then another.

Blossom End Rot


I know a little about blossom end rot and that it has to do with an inconsistent supply of water which affects the plant’s ability to draw up calcium when it needs it.

I can’t really understand why this plant has been affected but not the others (I HOPE the other larger tomatoes will be okay!)  They are all on the same watering schedule which is basically every other day (unless it’s REALLY hot like last week, in which case I watered every day.)

I soak the mulched soil (not the plants) all around just until I see the first drops of water coming out the bottom of the barrels, which are raised up on casters for mobility as well as for drainage.  The bottom quarter of each barrel is also filled with styrofoam packing peanuts for additional drainage.

I’ve read of a few cases where people’s plants recovered and went on to produce healthy, BER-free tomatoes.  Boy oh boy do I hope that’s the case here.  I was hoping to can some of these guys or have Mr. B make some of his amazing tomato sauce for canning.

The afflicted tomatoes were removed in hopes of the plant being able to recover and put its energy into healthy fruit.  All fingers and toes are crossed that the Mortgage Lifters will get by unscathed.

Anyone out there have any experience with this?

Tomato Leaves Turning Yellow

Oh dear.

My tomatoes have been doing so well (all but one Brandywine, which for some reason has never taken off the way the other seven tomato plants have.)

They’re tall, lush, green, producing lots of flowers and lots of fruits, some of which are ready to eat now!

About two weeks ago I noticed some of the lower leaves on a few of the tomato plants were turning yellow.  No dark spots, no wilting, just turning yellow.  I thought they might just be getting shaded out down there and I removed them.

Unfortunately more leaves and leaf stems have been turning yellow, and now I’m starting to worry.  It’s not happening to all of the plants, just a few.  And it’s only happening in the lower leaves, although it’s starting to creep up.  The rest of the plant still looks lush and green and healthy…I’m not sure what to think.

I’ve dressed them with some compost hoping to provide some extra fertilizer for them but it may be time to bust out some fish or seaweed fertilizer.  My friend Bev wondered if they might not be getting enough sunlight.  That may be an issue since everything in the yard is receiving much less sun now that the fig trees have filled out.  These containers are on wheels and could be moved, but it sure would be a pain in the butt – they are HEAVY – and I’d lose the cucumbers that are climbing up the fence.  I am REALLY hoping this is just a lack of nitrogen issue, which I can hopefully remedy. (Bev also mentioned an epsom salt “tea” of sorts to add magnesium, which I’m going to look into.)

I took these “emergency” photos this morning with my phone…not the best pictures, but enough to show what’s happening.  Have you ever seen this or do you have suggestions as to what it might be / what I could do to help?

this tomato shares a large self-watering container (holes in the bottom for drainage) with a pepper and two cucumbers.  The cucumber leaves are ALSO turning yellow.

the aerial view

Another top view.

Same tomato.  You can see how the yellowing is traveling up.

This is an heirloom called ‘Mortgage Lifter.’   It has been thriving and is taller than me (and I’m 6′ barefoot!).  Now its leaves are beginning to turn yellow too – and this one has some dried edges.

Here it is again.  The rest of the plant still looks very healthy.  It hasn’t produced a lot of fruit yet, maybe just 3 or 4, but they are enormous.  I really don’t want to lose any of the tomato plants and have really been looking forward to this particular plant’s fruits.

This is the other tomato that is afflicted with the “yellow leaf syndrome.”  It’s a Roma and it had been doing well until the last week or two when the yellowing began.

This is the same plant.  The plant next to it has not shown signs of yellowing.  Yet.  And I hope it won’t!

These plants all generally get the same amount of sun, and as I mentioned before it’s been less than what they are used to as the fig trees have filled out.  There is still a lot of bright light and some direct sunlight – it’s not like they are suddenly in shade, it’s just more filtered light.

We’ve had a lot of really hot weather, and I’ve stayed on a regular schedule of watering pretty much every other day.  All containers have drainage holes.  All potting mixes were mixed with a lot of compost when I planted the containers.

Up until putting an extra dressing of compost around the base of each plant earlier this week, I have not fertilized them.

I have not seen any pests or evidence of pests other than a few aphids, which I have stayed on top – gently spraying them off with water seems to have worked.

Other than the few times I’ve sprayed off the aphids, I’m careful when I water the plants to water the SOIL and not have it splash back up onto the stem or leaves.

I really hope it’s just a matter of nutrients and that it’s not too late for me to help!  The plants with the most yellow are the first photos of the tomato that shares a container with 2 cucumbers and a pepper…perhaps it’s just too many plants competing for nutrients in on pot?

Whatever it is, I’m hoping to turn it around and save my tomatoes!