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Disappointed with your tomato crop this year? You're not alone

Beefing about beefsteaks: Many Okanagan gardeners are disappointed with their tomato crop this year as weather conditions failed to duplicate the last two growing seasons in the valley.
August 25, 2016 - 4:30 PM

PENTICTON - It would seem the tomato crop in gardens throughout the Okanagan this season is not great.

The nursery manager at Penticton GardenWorks has noticed. Scott Austin says a lot of tomatoes were undersized this year.

“We really noticed this spring that every plant that flowered had tons of flowers,” Austin says. “Even in the wild, there were lots of flowers.”

Austin says last year’s conditions and the early moisture experienced through most of the Okanagan this spring created a perfect set of circumstances for plants to produce flowers.

“It’s about plant physiology. Plants produce more flowers based on previous growing seasons, not because it’s a sign of a cold winter coming,” he says.

Austin says backyard gardeners may have gotten too comfortable with the last two summers of hot, consistent weather. This year’s roller coaster of inconsistent weather through July wasn’t the most ideal weather for tomatoes.

The poorer weather combined with larger than normal amount of flowers may have acted in tandem to reduce the size of the fruit this year.

Austin notes for the most part, commercial growers who routinely thin are producing normal sized fruits and vegetables this year.

He says the hotter weather in the past couple of weeks won’t make up for poorer weather earlier in the growing season for other heat loving plants such as eggplant and peppers.

“Every year is different. I think we’ve just gotten spoiled, compared to the last two seasons.”


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