More on Green Tomatoes

Dear Bay Gardener

We planted Roma’s, Big Boys and Beefsteaks, all Burpees. Garden is in full sun until late afternoon. I get a soil test done each year from Penn State. In addition, I added about four bags of manure when I tilled. When we planted, we used a mix of mostly dirt with a bit of manure and peat moss. I added the soil recommendation of 10-10-10, and just about two weeks ago I added maybe a tablespoon and a half in a two-foot circle around the plants.

Up until one week ago, the plants were growing beautifully, and small fruit were appearing.

Several of my plants are three to three and a half feet tall and bushy. We pruned them a bit this year, cutting off the little stems so that air and sun could get through.

Our plants always thrived. The problem was rock-hard green tomatoes that never even began to ripen on the vine. 

–Peter Brooks, Chesapeake Beach

A I suspect you added dehydrated cow manure. How many square feet did you cover? From your soil test results, it is evident that the pH of the soil is excessive and should be lowered using two pounds per 100 square feet. Flowers of sulfur, wetable sulfur or flowable sulfur can all be used at the same rate of application.

Your soil test results do not identify the type of soil. If the soil is a sandy loam, it could be low in boron, which is important for fruit production and ripening. Have your soil tested for boron.