We are well into summer in early August and the tomato plants are growing vigorously and setting lots of fruit. In Flagstaff, Arizona we are now fortunate to be basking in the ideal temperature range for growing tomatoes: 55-85 degrees F. All species of tomatoes apparently originated as wild forms in the Peru-Ecuador-Bolivia area of the Andes in a climate where the temperatures were a constant 55-85 degrees. To this day, tomato plants require these conditions. Blossoms won’t set below 55 degrees, and in fact, tomato pollen becomes sterile at 90 degrees.

aug tom 2My heirloom tomatoes are doing quite well. I have harvested many “Stupice” fruit so far. These have been larger than usual, and one was the biggest I have seen–about two inches across and with beautiful color. One of the “Black Carbon” has also ripened. It was big and luscious and provided enough slices for three sandwiches.aug tom 1

Continue the steady and consistent application schedule of watering, and applications of fertilizer and Great Big Tomatoes organic liquid compost. Don’t worry about bottom leaves curling and dying off as long as the upper parts of the plants are producing new growth and the fruit is setting and getting bigger. We want the plant’s energy going into fruit production.

Contributed by Jim Mast