taradal
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Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

Fell in love with Black Cherries, last year. Only one plant and it didn't produce many tomatoes,(too shady a location, I think) The few tomatoes I got were FANTASTIC! Sweet, tart, lots of flavor. I saved seeds and planted a seedling in a 20 gallon pot in a sunny location. The soil is pure compost. I got a very healthy, green plant and I have oodles of little green tomatoes-several clusters. Many more than last year. However, I just tasted two of them and I'm so disappointed-nothing special, at all. Pretty much like a nice grocery-store cherry. What could have happened????? We've had lots and lots of rain and humid weather-could that be the problem? My other plants have less disease than the last couple of years and are producing many more tomatoes that I've ever had, before, but am I doomed, as far as flavor?

*dim*
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

taradal wrote: The soil is pure compost.
thats your problem .... compost is rotten vegitation .... you need minerals and soil ...

:wink:
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taradal
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

The compost is a blend of cow, chicken, horse and goat manure blended with wood chips and leaves. It is VERY well composted-pretty much just velvety soil. I was trying an experiment-four pots with pure compost and four with 1/2 mushroom compost and 1/2 top soil. If all the compost pots produce bland tomatoes, then I will believe that it's the soil. However, shouldn't there still be plenty of minerals?

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applestar
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

*dim* might have been joking ... Sometimes it's difficult to tell.

I think your original assessment that excessive rain may have caused blandness is good possibility. Fruits of all kinds not just tomatoes can get watery. They usually taste better when flavors and sugars are concentrated from being deprived of water just a bit.

Also fruits that set and developed during cooler spring weather can be less flavorful.
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PaulF
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

I will not answer for dim, but there has never been a pot grown tomato I felt tasted like a ground grown one. As a pot gets watered whether by rain or by hose, the nutrients are washed out of the soil in the pot. Be sure to replenish the nutrients with fertilizer. I would use a full spectrum liquid diluted about half and added every week or ten days.
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dustyrivergardens
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

I would add minerals also. Azomite is a great addition has all the minerals from A-Z. I add lots of rock dust slash minerals to my gardens from Lava sand, green sand, granite fines up to 20 percent of my gardens have rock dust in them. It just adds so much flavor to my vegetables.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

Just from reading your title, I was already thinking too much water. Many places in eastern US are having a much rainier year than last year. Tomatoes tend to be more flavorful when a little bit water stressed (deficit).
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imafan26
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

Besides weather and cultural differences between this year and last, you said you saved seeds from last year's tomatoes. Is this an open pollinated variety and was it isolated? If no to the last two questions, it could be that you really are not growing the same tomato either.
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gixxerific
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

Could be many things as already stated. Look at weather and soil first, probably in that order. Were they in pots last year? Same type of soil? I am a big fan of compost but 100% compost/organic may be too much. It is said about 7 -9 % organic is ideal. I just had a test and I have 11% organic and my garden does fine. But 100% may be too rich that can lead to nutrient intake problems. Now do people grow in 100% compost, yes they do.

Good luck a lot of time it is some many factor combined that you just have to grin and bear in cause next year will be totally opposite with different problems, such is gardening.

I have tomatoes I great last year the were disappointments, this year from the saved seed they are 5 -600% better all around. Same soil, with amendments as I usually do, so basically same soil. My problem was weather last year. Like I said check there first, like RBG said an over watered fruit will be more bland.


Good luck it will be all better next year.

taradal
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

I am almost 100percent positive that it's the rain. Whether in pots, or in ground, saved seeds or new seedlings, heirloom or hybrid, NONE of these tomatoes taste like last year's. I have barely any disease and most of the plants are producing oodles and oodles of tomatoes, (with the exception of the 2 Brandywines-I think they hate the humidity) Last year, the taste was phenomenal, but production was very low and I had lots and lots of disease.
This season I did all the "wrong" things-saved seeds from diseased plants and planted in the same spot as last year's sickly tomatoes. However,out of 20 plants, only two have gotten "sick" and had to be removed! One in a pot and one in the garden. One more thng I didn't do: suckering. I let them get big and bushy and then, once each plant had little green tomatoes, I stripped all the branches on the bottom 2 feet.
The southeast has had an unusually high amount of rain, this summer, so I will trudge along and hope for better weather, next summer!
I do have 10 seedlings waiting to go into the ground. I'm planning on letting more tomatoes ripen, then I'll put these litte guys in. If I'm lucky, and we have a nice, dry, temperate fall, I may have my best tomatoes in November :-)

*dim*
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

applestar wrote:*dim* might have been joking ... Sometimes it's difficult to tell.
Nah .... I do often joke, but not this time ....

have a close look at compost bought from garden centres ..... what do you get? .... looks like half decomposed lawn clippings mixed with weeds that has been treated with weed and feed ....

combined with leylandii hedge trimmings, sticks/logs and half decomposed plastic mixed with used tampons ... (not joking.... read the forums and read the threads about shop bought bagged compost)

don't grow veg or plants in pure compost .... you need to add topsoil etc .... even clay based soil is excellent ... if you don't have good topsoil, go to your nearest forest/wooded area and take a bucket full of topsoil to mix with your growing medium.... if you don't want to do that, buy a bag or two of worm humis (vermicompost and add a handfull or two to your shop bought compost)

once you have experience with good soil/compost, you will straight away know .... if it does not look right, feel right, or smell right..... it's not allright

I'm no expert, but my stuff grows pretty well
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gixxerific
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

Taradal saving seed from diseased plants is fine. Unless it is certain viruses. Some may be transmitted through the seed, but your blights will not, they will stay in the soil.

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Gary350
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

Minerals in soil gives all our vegetables flavor. Sprinkle and inch of dirt on top of your compost then water it. The muddy water will go down into the compost so the roots can suck up the minerals. In a few weeks the flavor of your vegetables will get better.

imafan26
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

If it was the rain, sometimes waiting for dry weather helps. The fruit will dry out too and the flavors will concentrate again. That is something I found to be true with papaya. I never pick papaya after a rain, the pappaya are really mealy, but they get better picked a week later without additional rain. If drying out does not improve the flavor, I think it is more than just water.

I don't have much luck planting in compost. I don't add more than 20% by volume and often I add even less. Depending on your source materials the NPK won't be very high and tomatoes are heavy feeders. If your plants grew and produced a lot of tomatoes, and there were no signs of stunted growth or nutritional deficiencies it may not be a problem for you.

I do think the weather, the hours of daylight and the cloudy rainy days we have had this summer may have a lot to do with the flavor.
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taradal
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

I thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. I do want to say that only four of my 8 pots are pure compost and I also have 12 of my 20 plants in my in-ground garden. And I am STILL, as of the last batch of tomatoes, disappointed in the overall flavor. The compost I used in the pure compost pots was not purchased at the store-I got it from a farmer who uses a combination of manures mixed with wood chips and it is truly beautiful stuff. Sweet smelling and soft. In the four pots that have 1/2 compost and 1/2 top soil post I did purchase mushroom compost-it's not the same compost as the other pots. The pure compost plants and the ones in my garden are the best-looking. The leaves are darker green. But other than that, all 20 plants seem to be doing well and are producing lots of tomatoes. I'm hoping that this next batch, that are almost ripe, will be better tasting, since we've had less rain over the past week or so.
So many people counseled against using pure compost in pots, however, based on what I see, I'm not sure why. The least impressive of my plants are in the 1/2 mushroom compost 1/2 topsoil blend. There isn't a discernible difference between the ones in pure compost and the ones in the regular garden. I may try this again, next year, just to see if the results are any different.
As I drive around my neighborhood, I see several gardens with wilted, dead tomato plants-look like mine did, last year!!! Somehow, I seem to have avoided all those nasty Southern diseases. Wish I knew exactly why.
I think this is why tomato gardeners frequently have such varied and interesting solutions to producing great tomatoes! We do something, one year, have great tomatoes, and then we are convinced that whatever it is that we did is the magic bullet!! I'm already convinced that my lack of disease might be because I didn't do any foliar sprays and I didn't pinch back the suckers-but who knows, really, if that is it? ;-)

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applestar
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

One possible reason for your plants' better performance against disease that I can think of is that good quality FRESH compost (not bagged stuff) are still ALIVE and full of microbes. Well managed/aerated hot compost will have been naturally pasteurized with less to no disease organisms and full of beneficial microbes that will symbiotically boost the plants' health as well as outcompete with invading malicious microbes -- in simplistic terms a space occupied by beneficial microbes can't be occupied by malicious ones.

If you had sprayed fungicide, etc, it will have killed beneficial fungi and microbes as well as malicious ones. Same principle as spraying broad spectrum pesticide killing beneficial insects. (...and leaving behind "superbugs" that survive to proliferate)

BTW, the farmer's compost may already be mixed with some amounts of high grade topsoil since it is probably managed directly on the farm ground with a front loader. Commercial compost operations are sometimes managed on paved surfaces with aerating systems underneath or on barren scraped land of subsoil. When they are bagged, they are thoroughly screened to whatever degree they feel is appropriate and sometimes mechanically pasteurized before bagging and/or they are piled in their bags in anaerobic condition in the weather until purchase -- either way, they are devoid of the good microbes.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

taradal
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Re: Tomatoes don't taste as good as last year!

Oh, that makes sense! The farmer had several huge piles of compost and they WERE on dirt! I am definitely going to buy a bunch more from him, in the future.

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