I have been growing heirloom tomatoes since 1993, and every year poses different challenges. We have a great crop this year but are still waiting to harvest most of it.
The first of tomatoes were planted on time at the end of March and beginning of April. In mid-May we had hot and windy days, which stressed the crop. The soil may be wet enough to provide all the water the plants need, but the wind and sun sucks out more water than the roots can take up. By the end of May, the crop looked unhappy. June was great growing weather, and the tomatoes recovered amazingly well. We gave them extra organic nutrients through the irrigation system, and they responded. July has been a tough month for everyone on the farm, with the fires and ever-present smoke. There have been a few days where visibility is only a couple of miles, due to the smoke. The tomato crop has continued to grow well, setting a lot of fruit that are growing to a good size. The fruit matures to its full green size, and then seems to stop. What we have now are vines that have a lot of fully-grown, green tomatoes. The final ripening is happening slowly, which I believe is due to the smoke: it’s acting like a shade cloth over the whole crop. The strings holding up the tomatoes are beginning to break under the weight of fully-loaded vines. We now have extra guys on the crew to help us re-support the crop.
Sometime in the next couple of weeks, we will be buried in ripe fruit. I am just not sure when .... Nigel