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Tomato Problems and Garden Values

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Posted on : 9:34 AM | By : Nic | In :



Isn't that a lovely picture to start the day with? My tomatoes have blossom end rot. I planted two varieties, a beefsteak and a smaller pasta sauce variety and both have it. A lot of my beefsteak tomatoes are also deformed. I thought I would post about this as I didn't know what it was and had to do a bit of research. What happens is as the tomato ripens a big brown rotten circle forms and destroys the fruit, and it means that they have a calcium deficiency. This can happen when there are fluctuations in how much water they are getting (drought to too much water), too much water and/or low calcium in the soil. This is exactly what happened - we had a week of really, really dry weather and it was hard to keep them watered properly. Then all of a sudden (overnight) it rained a ton and got really chilly, which makes the tomatoes need more calcium than usual. The only thing you can do is keep the soil moisture steady and maybe add something to the soil like epsom salts or egg shells, but I guess it's questionable that adding anything really helps. We purchased the soil this year and it was so good for the spinach and beans and lettuce I didn't think I would end up with a deficiency. :(

Anyway, I was reading today on Not Dabbling in Normal about the financial value of a garden. It's a good day to figure that out I think, lol. This year we spent about $380 on the soil and the wood and delivering the soil to our house. Raised beds aren't cheap! It was about $120 per bed I guess, plus the fancy compost bin for $60. I took an inventory of the yard (see this post) and here's what I harvested:
Shirley tomatoes
Beefsteak tomatoes - there would be at least 10 pounds of tomatoes if the weather cooperates, but the forecast says rain
Bush beans - nothing... where did they even go?
Carrot - these are still going but I would estimate 5 pounds
Snow pea - 8 pounds
Dwarf bean - 3 pounds
Broccoli - these bolted before doing anything
Cucumber - these did not sprout
Lettuce - 10 heads
Spinach - 20 pounds
Garlic - 3 heads
White onion - 1 onion?
Dill - enough to fill a jar of dried stuff

In pots:
Minette basil - nothing sprouted
Chives - half pound
Sweet genovese basil - this has given me enough for a batch of pesto
Dill - nothing sprouted
Cilantro - enough for a batch of salsa
Onions - nothing big

We also have:
A small strawberry bed with some raspberry transplants - we got one strawberry but weren't expecting anything
A young peach tree - 30 pounds
A walnut tree - we have yet to find out

I am thinking that with Island food prices we have just about broken even. We plan to do a fall garden when the tomatoes are done at which point we will have saved money. However without the peaches, which were free and took no work I'm not sure we would have. We also had blackberries which helped. If you look at it from the standpoint that we got organic locally grown food that we didn't have to use a car to get, then we definitely saved. :) It goes to show though that the weather can really screw things up and is probably why things like broccoli had a hard time.

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