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Member discussion regarding the methods, varieties and merits of growing tomatoes.

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Old January 16, 2018   #1
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Posts: 42
Default NZ. Drought, then Wet and Psyllids.

Howdy. It's been a while.

I grew 13 different varieties this year, some of which I've never grown before. I've had a few ripe tomatoes, and I'm still waiting for the first fruit to be ready on some plants. It is probably too early to name the best varieties from the current season just yet.

However good old Gold Nugget has proven to be a keeper once again. It is one of the first to have ripe fruit, and it has quite a pleasing flavour.

I tried Sub Arctic Plenty for the first time. While I've had some ripe fruit, it didn't fruit particularly early.... even though I planted my Sub Arctic seeds maybe a month before the rest of the crop. But it has cropped well and it tastes relatively good, so I intend growing it again.

Another new type for me this season is Scottish Yellow... which I believe to be the same as Scotland Yellow. Some of the plants are fairly robust and generally they are carrying a good crop. The texture and flavour are a little disappointing, but we've had an odd season.

We had a really dry and hot few weeks leading up to Christmas. And now we are getting a lot of 'unseasonal' wet weather. I just checked the 10 day forecast, and five of those days are predicted to be wet. So, besides splitting, the rain may be contributing to the mushy texture and blandness.

And now the psyllid beetles have arrived. I don't think they've settled on all my plants yet. Some plants really wilted and curled. I've sprayed with neem oil, but I'd rather not spray at all. I'm thinking the psyllids are probably a fact of life now, and I will just have to work with them. If anybody has any recommendations for dealing with psyllids without using sprays, I'd love to learn about them. I'm especially interested to learn about tomato varieties that don't seem to be too badly affected by the pest. I'd rather select survivor plants .... or plants that show promise of building resistance.... instead of having to depend on chemicals.

Next year I will grow more early fruiting varieties to see if I can get much of a crop before the psyllid numbers build. I'm thinking that early determinate types would be good so I can harvest enough fruit in a couple of days to make and bottle sauce.

Best wishes....
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Old January 16, 2018   #2
Nan_PA_6b's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 2,780

Steven, do you consider diatomaceous earth to be a chemical spray? Get the food grade powder, mix with water per package directions, and spray on the plants. The physical shape of the powder grains cut up the bugs when the powder is dry. Not harmful to pets or people.

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Old January 17, 2018   #3
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Posts: 42

Thanks for that Nan. I have some diatomaceous earth powder that my son-in-law gave me. I've applied it dry with a 'puffer' bottle, but I haven't been game to mix it up with water. I figured it might block the nozzle. I should try it though. I'm absolutely fine with using remedies like this... it is just a pity that I have to !

I don't have any directions with the powder I got, but I will see what Google says.

Thanks again... best wishes...
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