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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Are these normal, healthy Brandywine and Homestead tomato plants in July in Central Texas?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:57 pm 
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Mine don't have industrial cages so they're sprawled on the ground but if a tomato plant still has foliage at this time of July, a lot of gardeners feel lucky! They look like tomato plants that have weathered the storm of bugs and heat. (So they look pretty normal.)

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:34 am 
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It looks like you have some blight where leave and branches die from the bottom up. It's a fungal disease caused by high humidity and moisture which we've had plenty of this spring and early summer. A copper fungicide, which can be used in an organic garden is mainly what will stop blight. Make sure that when you water, you are not getting the leaves of the plant wet. Water the root area only. I an like you, I would always use large cages. Keeping your tomato plants on the ground encourages pests and disease way more than caging.

At this point in the season, you won't be getting many more tomatoes. You can pull them up or try to nurse them along and they will produce again starting in late September/October.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:31 am 
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If I can cure the disease problem, should I prune them back a little at a time for the fall so they begin to grow from the bottom again and aren't so unruly?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:03 pm 
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By the way, the industrial cages were a roll of concrete reinforcing wire from Home Depot and well worth the $107 we paid for it since we can reuse them. With 24 plants needing this kind of support, it was the only way to go. I just wish I had staked and tied them correctly and put the cages in from the beginning. I think I lost a lot of lower branches and foliage after we put the cages in when they were already 6' tall. That was the 3rd week of May. Hubby was pretty rough with my plants getting the cages in. I don't recommend doing it that way. :? (The fence post stakes would have been pretty expensive if they weren't extras we'd had lying around. Since we have a ranch, we always have to have fencing material on hand.)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:25 pm 
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I wondered what you were using to support them. I've seen very large cages over at Marshall Grain but they come with a very large price also.

For fungus I haven't used anything like the copper (one more thing to research) but I have used a lot of hydrogen peroxide (3% - store strength) and sprayed it straight onto plants in the cool of the day. It helps with fungal problems also.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:44 am 
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Just remember that the type of tomato plants you planted are indeterminate. They will always get extremely tall. You can trim them back a bit but they may not regrow on the bottom...but they will be tall. Mine got to 17' long one year. That's way you should always use cages! Mix cornmeal into the soil around each plant to help with fungal spores there too.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:31 pm 
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Thanks!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:57 am 
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Your plants look alot better than mine. Almost all of mine have died. We haven't been getting the rain in South Texas like everyone else has.

I also use the re-enforcement wire for cages and t-post to hold them in place. However, I believe that my cages are a little smaller in diameter. If I recall correctly, I made them either 8 or 9 squares. I found that if I make them too large, the tomatoes tend to fall over in the cages and not grow up.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:17 am 
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Hm! Sounds like a good idea. I'll have to try that next time, when I get the cages on from the start. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:05 am 
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I started an Early Girl Hybrid in April of last year, since it was an indeterminate is grew about 9 feet long and I had to keep cutting it back, however. This image (bottom picture) is from July of last year - it was very pretty and vigorous; only ever put out a few flowers and never set fruit. This year I started from seed in mid-January under plastic (middle and top pictures) with lights and am only weeks away from my first harvest.


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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 5:52 am 
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If you have indeterminate plants, they always get at least 10'-15' tall. By cutting them back, you're losing all those tomatoes. You should find a way to stake them up to a point then let them hang back down.

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