Tomatoes in Western Washington

These past two years we've had terrible tomato crops here in Blaine, WA. We had more rain, wind and cooler weather than normal summers and our crop suffered for it. From what I heard "El Nino' is in full swing now which should bring some much needed warmer and sunnier weather to these parts. I have some extra time this summer to take care of my garden and I want to spend the spare time with the tomatoes so we have a good crop. Any suggestions? Advice on mulching, insect control, diseases, etc.would be greatly appreciated. We already have yellowing spots on our lower leaves which makes me think we lack nitrogen? We grow outdoors, which a few years ago worked out fine. I currently have clear plastic bags over the tomato stakes which will be coming off this week. Any help will be much appreciated. I was 'an active member' of this group awhile back and received some very good advice from all of you. Thank you. Mark Thompson
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I'm beginning to seriously consider a plastic hoop house/high tunnel/call it what you will. This year every time I turn around it's raining again (New England.) Fine weather if you're a slug, not so good for anything else.
Seems like it might be time for giant water pipes across the country.
Stuff/spots on tomato lower leaves, specifically, is usually from things splashed off the soil surface - mulch can help with that. Cage or stake training to get most of the plant up away from soil splash also helps. Rather than post misremembered culprits, I'll leave it at "things" and someone else can clarify. The "lower leaves" is the big clue here. I'd remove the affected leaves, and add mulch.
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On Wed, 03 Jul 2013 09:36:19 +0000, Mark wrote:

In the Puget Sound area the weather has been amazingly dry and warm, especially compared to the last few years. My tomatoes are (so far) looking great! I'm not sure it's due to El Nino, though.
The most important thing for me is growing tomato varieties that are cool evening tolerant. Blaine is probably similar. We've had particularly good luck with "Kimberly" [OP], which have small but early & tasty fruit. We used to like "Early Cascade" but that hybrid is no longer available.
Yellowing spots on lower leaves may be a fungal disease - compare with online sites that show what tomato leaves look like when they're sick. You may need more ventilation if those plastic bags are restricting airflow.
I like mulches to help keep our soil from drying out too fast in the summer, but some (e.g. Steve Solomon) don't. If you've never had your soil tested I think it's a good idea. Many counties have a free or low cost testing service.
HTH-
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Mark wrote:

I don't think so. According to the Oz bureau of met ENSO indicators are neutral at the moment. Also during an El Nino event I would expect the west coast of USA to be wetter not drier. I would think you get drier when we have La Nina.
D
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<http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/22/19088861-floodwaters-begin -to-recede-around-calgary-leaving-3-dead-soggy-mess-at-nhl-arena?lite> Floodwaters begin to recede around Calgary, leaving 3 dead, soggy mess at NHL arena
High River, southwest of Calgary, was one of the hardest-hit areas and remained under a mandatory evacuation order. Police said they have recovered three bodies in the town.
It is estimated that half the people in the town of 13,000 experienced flooding in their homes. Police cut off access to most of the town and helicopters circled overhead. Abandoned cars lay submerged in water, while backhoes worked in vain to push water back from houses.
Police asked residents who were forced to leave the High River area to register at an evacuation shelter. By Saturday morning, 485 evacuees had registered at the shelter in Nanton, south of Calgary, and 278 people were on the inquiry list.
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In article

The northern jet stream seems to have waves in it, which are causing all sorts of unusual weather. <http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/Firehose+moisture+caused+flood s+Calgary/8561123/story.html>
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