why do my tomatoes lack flavor?

I'm looking for suggestions on what to improve or change for next year.
This spring we planted 6 nursery 'Better Boy' plants, in clay soil we amended with manure and peat moss. I got huge plants and tons of fruit coming.
Unlike last year, the squirrels aren't all over them. Last year I lost most of my tomatoes to squirrels. This year I haven't seen a single one. The new neighbor's large dogs may have something to do with that.
Also last year the yield wasn't very good to start with, we have heavy clay soil here, which is why we added to it this spring. Last year we broke ground on the garden at this house, so we have a fair amount of work to do to improve the plot.
I've got beautiful plants. Lots of blooms until it got hot, lots of fruit coming along, I had mites right after I planted (in April) but I sprayed and they've been pest free ever since. I've got a drip hose on the garden now that it's staying hot and they get sun from morning to early evening. It would seem I've never had a better year for tomatoes.
The problem is my tomatoes have very little flavor. Is it just this variety? I prefer to plant Romas, but couldn't get them this spring and I had heard Better Boy was a good variety. Could it be something in the soil? Is there something I could do to get better tasting fruit next year? I'm not sure anything can be done this year....
Dawn
d duperault at ay oh el dot com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Dawn) wrote in message

My first guess is too much watering. I usually cut back on watering when a plant has tomatoes ripening since too much water seems to dilute the taste. The variety is probably also a factor since most of the mainline hybrid tomatoes are grown for productivity, uniformity and shelf life; not for taste. Another possibility would be soil that is too alkaline but in clay with added peat moss, I doubt that is the case. Do you have any blossom end rot? That could also point to too much watering which interferes with calcium uptake.
If you want to take a quantum leap in growing tastier tomatoes, try starting heirlooms from seed. In the beefsteak line, Mortgage Lifter and Mortgage Lifter Red are very large and productive. Brandywine is one of the finest tasting tomatoes there is but I haven't been able to make them produce much in my climate.
Lee Hall Zone 6B - Tennessee
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Dawn) wrote:

If it's any consolation, our tomatoes so far have not been the tastiest this year--- even with varieties we have found tasty previously. Long cool wet spring. Missouri 5b. OTOH, the tastier types like Brandywine have not yet ripened. Our Early Girls, while picturesque, are just so-so in the taste dept AFAIAC.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
in article snipped-for-privacy@posting.google.com, Dawn at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote on 7/20/03 12:01 PM:

I have found better boy to be a very flavorful tomato. Do you replenish your trace elements? Have you checked soil pH?
Bill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Last year we planted into unadulterated local Missouri clay. This spring we added the first manure and peat moss to it. Haven't had time or need to replenish anything. :)
What kind of pH is good for tomatoes? Is there some kind of kit I can buy to do the test?
Dawn
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dawn wrote:

It took me an hour to find this ... but here it is! :-)
For processing tomatoes it is recommended to maintain soil pH between 6.5-6.8 (2003 Ohio Vegetable Production Guide - Bulletin 672-03). At pH below 6.0 the availability of K, Ca and Mg to the plant is reduced. Liming to achieve a pH above 6.8 can lead to a cation imbalance and ultimately affect the levels of K in the soil solution. At alkaline pH (above 7.0) the fixation of K tends to increase, affecting the amount of K readily available to the plant. http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/tomato/pH.htm
and also
Fertility: Tomato is a moderately tolerant crop to a wide pH range. A pH of 5.5- 6.8 is preferred though tomato plants will do well in more acidic soils with adequate nutrient supply and availability. Calcium availability is also very important to control soil pH and nutrient availability. http://www.uga.edu/vegetable/tomato.html
Bill
--
Zone 5b (Detroit, MI)
I do not post my address to news groups.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

reduced with reduced sunlight and excess water. A cool wet summer as oppsed to warm relatively dry summer. Taste and flavor choices also vary greatly with the taster. I f you like Romas than chances are you would not care for the different flavor of the juicy red canning types of which Better Boy is a prime example. I would suggest that you experiment with different varieties next year. Romas and other paste types are usually available, Saladette types are some what in between. You could even try some of the beefsteak types like Mortgage Lifter or Brandywine. Each group has its adherents. But each group has unique flavors, which varies considerable even among cultivars within that group.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Try backing off on watering while they are ripening. They usually have more flavor and will be less watery tasting. Some people also water with a little sugar added to their water to sweeten them. I've only read this and have not tried it. I grow Better Boys every year and have not had any issue with flavor. I, unfortunately, planted my garden extremely late this year and still have green tomatoes. I've finally got baby cucumbers and green beans coming.
Penny Zone 7b - North Carolina

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 22 Jul 2003 20:42:51 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (FarmerDill) wrote:

I agree trhat the home soil test kits can be unreliable, from my experience, I've found that the little capsules with the test chemicals dry up and deteriorate. For the RapidTest brand I've used, the Blue Potash capsule deteriorates first.
With that in mind, see if you can find out when the kits are stocked at your local store and only buy the test kit if you can get it within a month or so of being newly stocked. Even then, look real close at the package and see if the capsules are beginning to deterioate. I've found that you can see the Blue Potash test capsules becoming discolored and spotty when they begin to deteriorate.
There are other high quality test kits you can buy either online or from garden supply catalogs but they are generally too expensive for doing just a few samples on the home garden.
Of course, the better way to go is to have the soil tested professionally. Here in New Jersey, the local county AG Extension Agent does them for about $10 and you get a more complete analysis than just the N/P/K & PH tests that the home test kits give you.
---pete---
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (FarmerDill) wrote:

In Alaska, it's $20. I'll bet it's cheaper out there in the small states. Oh, up here, if we ask the state lab to email or mail the soil test results to our extension agent and to us, our agent will interpret the results for us and tell us what our soil needs. (He gets real specific, like, "apply 1 ton of 20-20-20-5 per acre" on our hay meadows.) I've never had my home garden soil tested. I know the pH. I just add composted cow poop by the truckload and things grow okay.
When we have hay or grain tested for protein, TDN's, etc., they'll do the same thing with our cow guy at CES. Our taxes pay for the Cooperative Extension Service. It's one of the few state or federal agencies that I can find no fault with.
NACSO sells good quality home soil test kits. They're online.
Jan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 22 Jul 2003 05:29:39 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Pat Kiewicz) wrote:

It just did. :( (Northern PA here.)
After a month of total dryness - which followed the ENTIRE SPRING OF CONSTANT RAIN. <Help, I'm lost in this sentence!> <takes deep breath and starts over>
Anyway: after NO rain in July, the heavens opened and we've had serious storms during the last week (even some tornadoes were spotted locally). And tons of rain, more on the way.
I think I give up on this entire season...
Pat
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm having the exact same problem, and weather as Pat, tho I'm in West Virginia. July has been terribly dry, and recently as she said the storms have started. They had a tornado ALERT (as in actual tornado spotted) just south of my where my mother lives. That scared the hell outta me since that almost never happens here. I've been doing my best to keep my soil wet when it stays dry too long. For awhile there I was watering daily. Now since the storms started, they are sometimes drenching the ground, so I only water after a few days of very hot weather (which we have had this week). This week has been HOT, the day before yesterday it was 98, with heat index of 104. The hottest day so far this year. For awhile there we were starting to think summer was over, since we had almost a straight week of low 80s and nights as low as high 50s...
(Pat

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.