I have had exactly the same experience with a couple of my tomatoes. I went away for a week, came back last night and my formerly robust Cherokee Chocolate was completely wilted. It has about 4 nice sized tomatoes hanging on it and I am wondering if I should just let them ripen on the dead vine or pick them and let them ripen in the house or make green fried tomatoes! Same thing happened to my Black Seaman before we left and I think the Earl's Faux is on its way out with dozens of blossoms. Want to cry. I keep praying the rest will hang in there. And like you they are in three completely different spots. The surrounding tomatoes all look good - just some yellow leaves on the bottom. I assume this is due to the drought and then new rains which overloaded them. Is it bacterial wilt? What do you think caused this to us?
It has to be weather related, no? I'm just sick. That was my most robust plant, the pride of the garden, and one I was richly anticipating: Amazon Chocolate! There are 2 tomatoes on this one that area easily 12-16 ounces, and anothe rlarge one. None of them has enough of blush on it to ripen indoors, so I'm taking a change with them on the dying vines, at least until they start to lighten.
The German Red Strawberry in the last photo was always wimpy, but when I came back it was totally drooping and can barely hold up the pea sized tomatoes. It is not afflicted with whatever the first 3 plants are suffering from.
I'm also finding that well over half of the flowers on all of my plants are dying up on the vines. It's sickening!
I'm so sorry! I know you're just sick. I don't know what your temp and rain situation has been. We went away for a week and had no problems with ours, but I've been spraying my foliage religiously and irrigating with a timer, plus we had a couple of good rains while we were gone. This was over the July 4th week when it was unbearablly hot in our area - over 100 every day. I came home to healthy plants and a bounty of tomatoes, even after my neighbor picked some while I was gone. I'm not a disease expert by any means, so I won't comment. Maybe some other experts will.
The only plant that wilted on me last summer was the Amazon Chocolate, which then infected Aunt Maria's Heart after that one had at least produced something. I am now wondering if some of these darker varieties are more susceptible since they are the majority of the wilted ones thus far (Amazon Chocolate, Black Seaman, and Cherokee Chocolate). Earl's Faux looks a little different - not sure what is ailing that one. My Amazon Chocolate this year still looks strong but I am just holding my breath and praying I haven't jinxed it! I have had very limited luck with Amazon Chocolate. It has produced something in the past and then just quit. I only plant it because it is an early variety. It seems to be overly inflated as to production and flavor. I never get enough to really push it for others. I think I will leave two on my wilted vine and pick the rest. I am noticing that the bales the wilted ones are in are very very wet at the moment after having almost dried out before the new rains came. I suspect that is the cause of the problem. Straw will hold water for a long time. Before I left I also watered again not realizing how much rain we would get while away. So often this summer predicted storms have just gone around us. I feel your pain! They are our babies that we have nurtured so carefully.Hope the rest of your crop survives!
All of mine that have had this particular issue are also dark varieties - 1 AC and 2 Haley's Purple Comet, and those are all in EB's, so they shouldn't have had the water retention problem, though the rains have been massive. The German Red Strawberry is in an entirely different area, and in a 20 gallon pot. It IS possible that one got clogged up, and it definitely does look water-logged.
Maybe these dark varieties don't handle wet feet that well. I use Earthboxes too but not for tomatoes since they get too big for the boxes. I have a few in coir bags which drain almost too quickly when it's really hot but the plants are doing great in those. Next year I will try only dark ones in the coir bags and see what happens. But the EB's stay consistently moist for me so perhaps those varieties want to dry out in-between. Just conjecture. They may also be less resilient to extremes of heat, dry and wet as well. Interesting that you are experiencing a similar situation. Keep us informed if there is any more progression. The weird thing is that it is spread out in different spots of the garden. Trying to find the common denominator is the trick for me in mine.
J, how long were you away? I thought in the past that you asked someone to stop by and monitor your plants, but perhaps that was someone else I'm thinking of.
Interesting that you say that the only ones wilting like that were the two dark colored varieties that you were growing.
We had a bit of deluge up here a week ago Sunday on the 15th, but not much before and after that. Some T-storms that come through with lots of thunder and lighting but usually just a few minutes of pitter patter rain. The brook that runs by my home, you have to cross a bridge to get to my front door, is so low that I can barely see water moving.
My plants out back are on the border of lousy to OK, but it's so late in the season that it's iffy Freda will be able to harvest any fruits for me.
This Am she was out there yelling back to me the names of the varieties in each row, and darn, I didn't make out the labels, Craig did when he sent the plants up to me, and she didn't have her glasses with her either.
I recognized most of the varieties but I can't match up something like ghutirer with anything I know of on my master list, and there are some others that make no sense,but I know the traits of each of them so maybe if I do get some fruits I can ID them. I no longer do much seed saving here at home, that's done by a couple of good friends, Shoe being one of them, so at this point I won't bother to suggest you might drive up the couple of hundred miles between me and thee, for tomatoes, which I want to taste before offering them in a seed offer, or sending varieties for trial to seedsites, or SSE listing them.
So again, how long were you away, I'm just curious about that.
I was gone for 5 days, during that time it rained everyday. The weeds over took the garden and when I found one choc cherry plant it looked like the deer had got to it, until I found a HUGE tomato worm. I then found about 10-15 more and realized that they were what had taken out my plants. I was amazed at how much they can eat, and how fast. In just 5 days I came back to a completely different garden.
Yes, Linda can water for me if we have days without rain, but not much she can do about too much rain. I did check when I got home and nothing was without water. I have a water-lily of some sort, that loves excess water, and it was VERY happy! Steady rain all day Thursday night thru Saturday morning (here, just light rain in the Catskills), then more rain Monday am and off and on throughout the day. My watering cans and misc. outside containers had a good 3-4" in them.
I have an Amazon Chocolate in another area that's doing ok, as is the other Haley's Comet (the 2 in the container garden EB bother shriveled up and are close to departing this world). Everything looked great 2-3 weeks ago, but they are all showing the effects of the weather. Looks more like late August out there than late July.
The Dad's Sunset, Orange Minsk, and Pork Chop have some very nice looking tomatoes on them, and the quite a few of the reds are looking good, as is the Cherokee Purple. I sure am glad my first few years of tomto growing were good ones, 'cause I probably wouldn't have gotten addicted if they'd been like the last few years have been.
I just hope the ones I do get will at least taste good. My first few have not been anything to write home about.
Have you grown Dad's Sunset before? It has never produced much for me. My plants are usually twice as big as they are now but we have had a lot of rain and cool temps followed by just the opposite. I can say they are producing.
I too was gone for only 5 days, I will be gone a week next time. I can't believe how fast the weeds grow and the tomato worms for that matter.
Sequee, have you grown Orange Minsk and Pork Chop before? This is my first year for them and I am very excited to taste them. Pork Chop is huge but took forever to set flowers. It now has a lot but it is hard to tell whether it will set fruit or not with this crazy weather. The Orange Minsk is setting despite having a major set back in the beginning when a storm literally snapped it's head off as a seedling. It has since recovered. It is small but growing and producing. I don't know Dad's Sunset - will check that one out. You are smart to have duplicates. Because I plant so many varieties and limited my space I only have one of each variety. So will not get to taste Cherokee Chocolate this year. I have tried the Earl's Faux and Seaman so know what I will be missing! I have already determined I will have to grow fewer varieties next year but have at least two of each.
It's kind of hit or miss with me, especially at this point, since I have hundreds of seeds and am trying to use them up by age. I used to sow 2 seeds of 40 - 45 varieties and grow what germinated. With lower germination on the older seeds, I sow about 4 each of 60 varieties (or sometimes more), then more on the must haves. I end up with some interesting combinations! one year I had all reds and cherries...EW!
I grow Dad's Sunset every year in my "family plot". My Dad was a HUGE fan of sunsets. Used to drive my Mom insane. They retired to a resort in Florida and their apartment had panoramic views on a inlet. Every night during dinner "the best one yet" would appear over the horizon, and he'd grab the camera and run through their apartment taking pictures - I have dozens of them! So, I plan Dad's Sunset in his memory, Mother Russia for Mom, Anna Russian for my Auntanana, Haley's Comet for my Nana Irene Haley, and Three Sisters for "us girls". Thankfully they all do well in my garden - most years!
Orange Minsk is consistantly excellent, though the tomatoes do not grow as large for me as I've seen from others. Very good flavor and nice looking, too, with minimal cracking. Pork Chop's new to me, also, and I totally concur on your assessment. The most beautiful, hearty plants and slow to flower. I do have several nice sized fruit on mine, ans I certainly hope they taste as good as they look.
Thanks for the info - very helpful. I also start duplicates of all varieties I grow but have to give the extras away for lack of space or better said lack of time to tend to them all. Last year I had over 50 and found it too much. This year I am down to about 37 (minus 3) which is still a lot for me. At least there is always something that does well even if half don't make it! But I have never lost half yet so cross my fingers the rest make it at least one good harvest.
The surviving tomatoes are hanging in there at the moment but a big storm went through tonight so I'll see tomorrow. My Wes may be the next victim and I will be sad about that because I have had such a problem these last years getting it to grow. I used up the last of the seeds this year and still have not tasted one tomato even though they have been highly praised. The seeds were from a swap and apparently weak. It's on my list to purchase for next year. It's hard to tell with these "wispy" ones if they are just being their wispy selves or succumbing to wilt. I have too many yellow leaves for my taste on it but there are at least some tomatoes! Interesting that the Pork Chop has the habit of such late flowering fo you as well.
I'll have to try Dad's Sunset next year - I love the yellow and orange tomatoes anyway! Looking forward to tasting the Orange Minsk.
I see you are also growing Anna Russian. I tried last year with swap seeds but clearly did not get a true Anna Russian. The tomatoes were small, more egg sized but nice and solid and tasty. They made superb oven dried tomatoes so I saved seeds and planted it again. It is again producing the smaller tomatoes and is not wispy. I guess I will have to name it something original for me since I have no idea what the original Anna Russian crossed with! I also got a new packet and planted two which are producing what looks like normal ones according to all descriptions and one from the original swap package which also seems true this time. So clearly that was a problem with just that one plant I grew last year.
We have been having storms every night. Heavy wind and a down-pour. Today it has been raining off and on since I got up, and the forecast is for more of the same all week. I may never have to watr again, but everything is looking dismal, and the cracking is everywhere. You know the kind of cracking you get when the fruit's just blushing? The cracks are deep and the skin gets rough. Not nice at all. Grrrr!
Quite disappointing, but at least I'm getting a few tomatoes here and there, so surely Carolyn would tell me to be grateful for THAT! But all the fruit is smaller than it should be, most in the 2-4 ounce range. I've only had 2 @ 6 ounces, a Beefsteak, which was flavorless (though the same plant has been giving me small ones that taste great), and a Lumpy Red which was very good. My Stupice were fair - not a favorite in my garden since the first year I grew it - my second year of gardening and EVERYTHING tasted wonderful! Explotion, another extremely early variety was much better, and the Haley's Purple Comet is stellar! They are beautiful, and each and every one of them has been perfectly shaped, with awesome coloring, and excellent flavor.
Next up will be Amazon Chocolate and Orange Minsk. Both will probably be picked today even though they are not completely ripe. With all this rain the splitting is allowing them to rot rather quickly, so I'm not taking any chance!
At least your tomatoes are ripening. It seems funny that you are further north but in a warmer zone than we are! The only ripe tomatoes I have at the moment are Sun Sugar. Isis should be ready next. Little cracking evident but the big ones don't look even close to ripening. Amazon Chocolate has had tomatoes for a while and is usually an early ripener but not this year. It stormed heavily last night. Maybe when the sun appears again and the humidity wanes they will all burst forth. Like you we are getting daily rain so I fear the tomatoes may be waterlogged again this year. But I am at least getting tomatoes and fortunately we love fried green ones!!
Good plan to pick them a little earlier to deter the rotting. Will keep that in mind since so many rotted on me during last summer's rains.