I grow a variety of heirloom tomatoes in Cleveland, Ohio.  This summer of 2013 seems to have been phenomenally wet and cloudy.  Are other gardeners having problems with tasteless tomatoes?  All of my tomatoes seem to have the same, watery taste - from my Cherokee Purple (purple color), to Rose De Bern (pink), to White Wonder (white).  If weather is not the problem, what can it be?  My soil is rich and well-fertilized and the plants have never been deprived of water.

Much Thanks!


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5 Answers

Sounds like next year you need to add lime to your fertlizer mix and turn it in good.

Some peope are saving their egg shells and using a blender with 2 cups of water and adding that to the soil around the existing plants.
by (152k points)
If calcium is what you're talking about, it was added in April in the form of crushed eggshell (in a mortar and pestel) and Espoma Tomato-tone organic fertilizer (which contains calcium). Additionally, I added Azomite to the soil for its micronutrients and calcium.

If anyone is interested, here's the answer from Cornell University.  Dr. Zitter is one of the authors of the book, Compendium of Tomato Diseases.  I asked them the same question because I wasn't satisfied with the response offered.  It's more than a matter of lime addition during the dreary summer of 2013!  Here in Ohio, we need sun and heat!! 



I am assuming that you are actually referring the Vegetable MD Online web site? The Cornell Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic does link to that web site but we do not manage any content.

I did consult with Dr. Tom Zitter however, and he noted that blandness in tomato would be related to the plants getting too much water and not enough sun, so yes, the weather is likely the cause of the issue---not any problem with your soil or site.

I hope this helps.


Sandra Jensen

Plant Disease Diagnostician


Cornell Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic

334 Plant Science Bldg.

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

we have had huge amounts of rain here  and our tomatoes were fantastic

  i would suggest 2 things

1st try getting seeds from a place like totaly tomatoes  where you are getting  heirloom seeds  that have not been tweeked every year like  many others sell  ( we had several blacks yellows reds pinks and other types over 20 kinds in total but all were excelent this year)

2nd and i reccomend this  no matter what weather you get  try using "plastic mulch) till your soil as you would then lay  a layer of  black plastic mulch cloth down then cut  a X every 10-12 inches  making a row  i  choose to do 2 rows  EX; the  mulch cloth i use ends up being aprox 4 ft wide  so i  will cut  a X  about 1 ft from one edge then a second X about 1 ft from that   so if you are looking at the  row you have a 1 ft outer strip  open then a plant  a 1 ft space and a plant then the last 1 ft of space  doing this all the way down the length of the row  then we put  a fence stake every 10 ft and lightly hang  a piece of fence on it down the center of my row ( plastic fence netting chicken wire or any type of fence will be fine )  this way you can tie the plants  from either side to the same fence  easily !  

  the point being  the plastic mulch will controll the excess water  if you get too much it will help  lessen the effect to the plants it also allows earlier germination or transplanting  due to it warms the soil !   ( one last thought if you can not get the plastic mulch rolls you can use a  good grade of weed block papper  it will also work !

I'd like to know your location, Anonymous.  Here in NE Ohio, we've also had an abnormal lack of sunshine, our August has been in the 70s and all days have been cloudy so far. (It's August 6).  July hasn't been much different, short one week.

In terms of seed, it was purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, a solid company.  In terms of staking, all of my plants were pruned of suckers and are about six feet tall.  The plants are beautiful and the tomatoes are beautiful.  The beds are also covered in weed block, and some with black plastic, so warm soil and germination are not factors.  Remember that when plastic gets drenched, water goes through it, too. Next year, I may try the red plastic for better sun reflection, should we get any sun out here!

I use black plastic mulch in the melon beds too, but the continued dampness, coolness, and lack of sun seems to have triggered wilt.  Friends and neighbors are losing their vine crops to wilt, too. 

I still think that the folks at Cornell are spot-on in this case of weather and its importance to tomato taste.  

Neighbors are getting no tomatoes at all - they're ripening at an extraordinarily small size, bitter, and with a tough skin.  Perhaps, I should be thankful - my tomatoes taste great when I put them in the dehydrator! 


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