logo

   

 

 

 

Tomatoes 2019---A New Record!
Kevin Milaeger

 

 

 

 

A record, yes, but not one to brag about. This is the latest start to the tomato season that I can remember. I planted sixteen good sized plants on June 6th, and not one has yet borne any edible fruit. In years past, my plants have always produced by the first week of July. Not on all varieties, of course, but the cherry and grape tomatoes for sure, and other early types like ‘Bloody Butcher.’ This year’s plants look healthy, and have been fertilized three times. ‘Jasper,’ a cherry tomato, is now over 6’ tall, and has about sixty fruits on it---all green! Sometimes flowers fail to pollinate, but I was watching closely during flowering, and I didn’t see any problems. (You never get 100% fruit set.) Right now, the biggest fruits on my plants are about 3” wide, but those varieties (‘Brandy Man’ and ‘Buffalo Steak’) usually ripen at more than 4”, so maybe another ten days. I guess things just progress more slowly when the start of the gardening season is a prolonged cool spell. But we all know gardeners must be patient.

We have a little garden at Milaeger’s, with about twenty tomato plants. Most are dwarf types that we are evaluating for the first time. From that garden, we had one red fruit on ‘Bloody Butcher’ just before the Fourth, but it had blossom end rot. The Milaeger’s garden is about three miles from Lake Michigan, and my home garden is much closer to the lake. In summer, it’s always at least several degrees “cooler near the lake,” sometimes as much as fifteen degrees difference, just in that three-mile distance. I guess that could account for the delay in ripening at my house. But it doesn’t account for the overall lateness.

I have a friend who lives in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, at the western edge of Lake Geneva. That’s about forty miles from Lake Michigan. He is growing twenty some tomato plants and his plants are a lot like mine. Big and bushy, with lots of green fruit. He has yet to pick one tomato. I’m sure his weather has been warmer than Racine, but his results so far are the same as mine.

Though the tomatoes are late, at least I’ve had plenty of cucumbers to enjoy. Like tomatoes, cucumbers originated in a warm climate, so they thrive in heat. It surprises me a little that they are doing so well this year, but mine weren’t planted until about June 10th, after the coolest weather was past. I don’t have any at my home garden, just in the garden at Milaeger’s, so it’s a little warmer there. Regular readers know I only grow mini cucumbers. It’s not that mini cukes taste any better than larger, traditional cukes. With larger cukes, I usually use only half of one when I make a salad. The remainder goes in the fridge, and when I finally want to use it, it’s mushy. So, I grow ‘Mini Munch,’ which should be picked at no more than 5”, just the right size for my nightly salad. It has very thin skin so no peeling is necessary, another plus. Seeds for this variety are very expensive. ‘Mini Munch’ is parthenocarpic, which means it produces only female flowers, and therefore lots of cukes, so the extra cost is justified. With all cucumbers, it’s important to harvest at the recommended size---check the plant label or seed packet for that information. If you let them get larger, the flavor will be compromised, quite bitter. One sign of bad flavor is the skin starts to turn yellow. Don’t eat yellow cukes. To prove my point, I sampled the yellowish cuke in the photo---Yuck!

 

Please email me (kevin@milaegers.com) if you have any questions or comments.

 

 
       

Archives  (Click on text for links)

    

2019

March 2019 - The Year of the Potato
March 2019 - Tomatoes---America's Favorite Vegetable
February 2019 - The Greens are Coming
January 2019 - Long, Chilly Nights Make Me Think of Tomatoes
 

2018

June 2018 - Learn the Rules Before You Break Them
May 2018 - To Plant or Not to Plant
March 2018 - Brrr...Can You Plant this Early?
February 2018 - February's Climatological Shift

 

 

2017

October 2017 - Remember: Every Tomato Variety is Someone's Favorite
August 2017 - A Tomato Miracle
July 2017 - Our Big Garden & Some Unpleasant News
June 2017 - Mid-June Tomato Report
June 2017 - Tomatoes----The Acid Test
April 2017 - It's Time to Plant Onions
April 2017 - Raspberries: It's time for annual pruning
March 2017 - Warning! Internet Garden Danger!
March 2017 - Tomato Talk---Shorter Varieties are Trending
March 2017 - It's Only the Start of March, but...
February 2017 - Tasty Greens and Winter Tomatoes
February 2017 - Green is Right Around the Corner

 

2016

October 2016 - Autumn Greens, Eggplant and more
September 2016 - The Tomato Polls are Closed, the Winner is...
September 2016 - Pity the Hornworm? Maybe not.
August 2016 - It's true!---Sometimes tomato beauty is only skin deep!
July 2016 - Summer Heat Means Fast Ripening
July 2016 - July Tomato Update---a few concerns
June 2016 - The Great Bell Pepper Challenge!
June 2016 - Super Start for 2016 Vegetables!
May 2016 - Tomato Planting Date Inches Closer!
May 2016 - Vintage Veggies Now & Disease Resistant Tomatoes!
April 2016 - A Few New Plants & Garden Updates!
April 2016 - Go Outside---It's Time for Planting!
March 2016 - Yep! ----It's Time to Plant Greens!
March 2016 - The Quest for the Perfect Tomato
March 2016 - Think Green! It's almost time to plant
February 2016 - Pepper Pointers: it's all about patience
February 2016 - I See Greens on the Horizon
January 2016 - Tomato Disease --- What can you do?
January 2016 - Tomatoes on my Mind!

2015

November 2015 - My Late Harvest (The tomato picking continues...No Kidding!)

October 2015 - Its Mid-October---the End is Near!

September 2015 - 2015---Not the Year of the Pepper!

September 2015 - Top Varieties at Tomatomania 2015!

September 2015 - Get the most from September tomatoes!

August 2015 - Tomatomania 2015---Coming Soon!

August 2015 - Oh No!!!......Freaky Tomatoes

July 2015 - A Marvelous Community Garden

July 2015 - Finally----the first ripe tomato

July 2015 - Is it Possible to overdose on peas?

July 2015 - The Garden in July --- I'm still planting!

June 2015 - And Just When Things Were Looking So Good...

June 2015 - Tomatoes, Cukes, and a Whimsical Onion

June 2015 - Trials and Tribulations in the Veggie Garden!

May 2015 - Trouble in Tomatoland!

May 2015 - Tomatoes are Claustrophobic

May 2015 - A Little Chilly, but it's Rhubarb Time!

May 2015 - Joan's Rhubarb Torte Recipe

April 2015 - "Ketchup and Fries" plant video

April 2015 - Early May in the Vegetable Garden

April 2015 - What Vegetables Can I Plant Now?

April 2015 - Making Salad Interesting

March 2015 - Ready... set... GROW!

March 2015 - Unusual Potatoes --- Not Just for Tots Anymore!

February 2015 - Next Month is Spring!

February 2015 - Greens to Grow 2015

 

2014

September 2014 - Tomatomania Review 2014!

September 2014 - Tomatomania Results by Category or Cummulative

August 2014 - Kale! Kale! The Greens are Here! Click here for Recipe

August 2014 - The August Harvest Begins

July 2014 - Greens to Grow for Fall!!!  Click here for Spreadsheet

July 2014 - My Tomatoes are Blushing

June 2014 - Some Tomato Concerns

May 2014 - Garden Update --- the Cold Weather Experiment

May 2014 - Is it Time to Plant Tomatoes?

May 2014 - Vintage Veggies #4 and Vintage Veggies List 2014

April 2014 - A Chilly Spring... What Can I Plant Now?

March 2014 - Start Growing Your Own Food Right Now

 

February 2014 - Greens to Grow   Click here for Spreadsheet

 

2013

October 2013 - Keep Calm and Garden On!

October 2013 - Autumn Vegetables

September 2013 - Tomato Popularity Poll Results Blog

September 2013 - Tomatomania Category and Cumulative Results

September 2013 - Tomatomania 2013 BlogVideo and T-Shirt

August 2013 - Greens to Grow and Spreadsheet

July 2013 - Spaghetti Squash

July 2013 - New Tomato and Zucchini Recipe Blog
July 2013 - Tomato and Zucchini Recipe

June 2013 - Cold Spring - What it Means for Vegetables
May 2013 - Tomatoes in Containers
May 2013 - Vintage Veggies 2013
April 2013 - My Tomato Garden Preview 2013
April 2013 - Don't Forget Rosemary!
April 2013 - It's Planting Time
March 2013 - Onions
March 2013 - Vintage Veggies
March 2013 - Greens to Grow Update
February 2013 - Hot Peppers
February 2013 - Grafted Tomatoes
February 2013 - Greens to Grow
 

2012

September 2012 - Tomatomania Results
July 2012 - Compass Plant
July 2012 -July 2012 - Heat Wave
June 2012 - Okra
June 2012 - Potato Onion
May 2012 - Gas Plant

May 2012 - My Tomato Garden
May 2012 -
 Vintage Veggie Fest
March 2012 - Growing Raspberries in SE Wisconsin
March 2012 - Winter Tomato Project
February 2012 - Success with Sweet Peppers
February 2012 - Vegetable Cukes Miniature 
January 2012 - Tomatoes New Varieties

2009-2011

September 2011 -Tomatomania Review  
August 2011 - Tomatomania Preview
August 2011 - Racine Vegetable Garden Tour
July 2011 - Vegetables in my Garden
July 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
June 2011 - Vegetables - Diseases made Simple
June 2011 - Vegetables - Container Growing
May 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
April 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Event Preview
March 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Announcement

September 2010 - Tomatomania Review  
August 2010 - Flowers Late Summer Color 
July 2010 Vegetables Cukes and Tomatoes 
June 2010 Tomatoes New Varieties


September 2009 - Tomatoes End of Season Review  
September 2009 - Tomatomania Review
July 2009 - Tomatoes General and Fruit Set Problems
June 2009  - Tomatoes Fertilization
June 2009  - Tomatoes Personal Experience 
May 2009 - Tomatoes General
May 2009 - Tomatoes Diseases
May 2009 - Tomatoes Selecting and Growing
April 2009 - Tomatoes General

 
Any questions or comments, please contact us at: gardenquestions@milaegers.com