tomatoes - Knowledgebase Question

denver, Co
Question by dfeuerhelm1
November 10, 2010
I had plants that were full of tomatoes but as they grew they never developed (beef steak)cracked and were very dark coloredand stunted my other tomatoes just never grew in size and also riped but stayed very small. Is this from watering or fertilizer?


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Answer from NGA
November 10, 2010

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Rather than problems with watering or fertilizing, I suspect the problem is more likely because you are growing long season rather than short season varieties. Tomatoes are a warm-season favorite that thrive in the summer. However, Colorado's short growing season limits the varieties that will produce in the Mile High City. Denver's dry air and cool nights also prevent pollination of some cultivars. You can choose to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse or cold frame, but make sure you choose early or mid-season varieties, ready to harvest within 80 days.

Here are a few suggestions:
Early Girl
First-early tomatoes are ready to harvest in 60 days or less. They grow more compactly than main-season cultivars and are well-suited for short, northern growing seasons. Their fruit is usually small to medium size. The Early Girl is ready to harvest in 54 days, and the fruit averages 5 oz. It is resistant to the fungus that causes verticillium wilt. The plants are indeterminate, so they will need support (cage or trellis) as they grow.

Champion
Medium-early tomatoes produce within 60 to 69 days. Their fruit size is larger and their quality generally better than the first-early tomatoes. The Champion harvests in 65 days, with large, smooth fruit. It is an indeterminate plant resistant to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, nematodes and tobacco mosaic virus.

Better Boy and Golden Boy
These two are just barely able to squeeze in their harvest before the weather turns cold, but their tomatoes are worth the wait. The Better Boy is ready to harvest in 72 days, with bright-red, 12-ounce fruit. It is indeterminate and resistant to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt and nematodes. Golden Boy produces vibrant orange-yellow fruits with few seeds in 80 days. It is an indeterminate hybrid.

Super Sweet 100
Cherry tomatoes are a good choice for places with short summers. Because they are easy to grow in containers, their pots can be moved to warmer locations near buildings with maximum sunlight. They also produce in great quantity. The Super Sweet 100 harvests in 70 days. Its 1-inch red fruit grows in large clusters. It is indeterminate and resistant to verticillium wilt and fusarium wilt.

Other good varieties for Denver include Beef, Celebrity, and Medina.

Give these a try next year and plant transplants rather than by seed. I think you'll see a great improvement in your harvest.

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