Originally Posted by DayoftheGreek
I've heard people say that Brandwine tomatos are huge, but the plants have a very low yield. I've seen a few people claim they only got 6-12 tomatos all year. That sounds very small to me. Are they not caring for them correctly or is that yield common?
Last year both of my tomatoes got this black spot on the bottom. "Bottom end rot" brings it up on google. I pulled the bad fruits off ASAP and still it persisted late into the year, especially on my Romas. My soil is about an even mix of mushroom soil, compost, and topsoil in 12" raised beds. It was brand new that year, and stressed the roots because it stayed composting and quite warm far longer than I expected. Google seems think its a watering issue or a lack of calcium. Should a calcium suplement and my now-cool soil be enough to avoid this again? Every had this problem before?
There are a few different kinds of tomatoes with the word "Brandywine" in the name. They're similar, but the color and size are a little different. For example, what we call "Brandywine" is fairly large, about the volume of 2 adult fists, and brilliant red, while "OTV Brandywine" is a little smaller and closer to orange than red.
Few tomatoes on an otherwise healthy vine can be caused by adding too much nitrogen or if the soil pH is too high. Nitrogen will stimulate leaf and vine growth at the expense of less fruit growth. Low pH will slow the rate of nitrogen uptake and 6.5 pH is what I've read is good for tomatoes in general. You can lower your soil's pH by adding lime, which is also good for adding calcium to the soil.
I think your Roma's got "Blossom End Rot". That can be from too much nitrogen, potassium, or magnesium, or not enough calcium, too much variance in soil humidity, or drought. Too much nitrogen will make the plant grow faster than it should, and it won't uptake calcium fast enough even if the right amount is in the soil. Too much potassium or magnesium in the soil can prevent calcium from being absorbed. If a plant goes for a long time without water, and then gets lots of water, it will absorb a lot of water quickly. You can actually hear corn growing
when it rains after a long drought - the husks stretch and squeak. Too much water or too little can both stress the plant and reduce yield, possibly leading to a number of different issues including BER. We keep our tomato plants mulched so even on hot, dry days, the soil under the mulch stays cooler and retains some moisture.
Your raised bed might be too rich. That mix is great for getting plants started, but you might want to mix some clay into the bed. What I've done in soil that's mostly clay and sand, is to add a scoop of compost to the bottom of the hole I've dug for transplanting, sprinkle another scoop of compost around the base of each plant when they're all plugged in, and then a couple weeks later add a little more compost on top of the soil on a day when it looks like it's going to rain.Edited by willis888 - 2/20/13 at 2:15pm