Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Tomato troubles.

Finally we are getting some rain here, and the temperature has dropped too. It is a welcome relief after the hot, dry conditions of the past few weeks.

More importantly it may mean that Tommy(my tomato plant) will have a chance of setting some fruit at last. It's been so hot here that the flowers, of which there are many, are not having a chance to pollinate and form baby fruits. Its all a bit depressing really. My plants look fantastic, lush and green. But to date there is only ONE growing tomato...

I did some research on the internet and was dismayed to find that we have entirely the wrong kind of tomato for this climate (beefsteak). We should be growing Cherry or Roma varieties. That would explain why you don't see Beefsteak ones in the market then, doh!

It's too late for us to start again this season as we will be out sailing before they would have a chance to fruit so I am just hoping the lower temperatures will allow a few more fruit to set.

People in the lowland tropics only grow the smaller (cherry and plum or roma) types for good reason: fruit set of large market tomatoes is very poor in many hot, tropical areas. If you have a variety of large tomato that is healthy and flowering, then the reason it is not setting most likely has to do with temperature. Both daytime highs and nighttime lows have a variety of effects on the ability of a tomato to set fruit. Small tomatoes seem to be less adversely affected by these extremes, which is why those types are the ones in local markets. We had hoped to find clear-cut guidelines but could not, so we will venture our own: If daytime temperatures are not less than 33 deg.C (92 deg.F) and nighttime temperatures less than 22 deg.C (72 deg.F) you may experience difficulties. If daytime temperatures are over 40deg.C (104 deg.F) or nighttime temperatures over 26 deg.C (79 deg.F) you will almost surely have poor fruit set and possibly damaged fruit.

Um...should have read this website first I guess!

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