Tomato 2023 Season

I wasn’t able to find a 2023 season tomato thread, so I thought I’d make one. I think having a thread for questions or comments on pests and diseases, varieties, approaches to growing, history and facts of the varieties, photos, recipes, or anything tomato related would be great. This is the fourth summer I’ll be planting tomatoes, and I’m hoping it’ll the best year. I’ve never seen a bloom so big before; added others of varying sizes.


Has anyone seen any tomato hornworms this year?


I’ve seen no pests at all yet. my tomatoes are all indeterminate, these are beefsteak and Sam marz, both are about waist high with about 6 suckers on each. I let them get bushy to some extent, the bed ends up belonging just to them by the end of season (I plant basil and have purslane in there, and lettuce up until they start to take off) there’s tomatillos next to them that are also getting massive.

it is an early tomato year for me, usually I wouldn’t see fruit starting until sometime next week.


Ya’ll won’t see any hornworms this year. They’ve all migrated to my garden. I pick at least two off a day. Only stripped one plant down so far, which has been good.
I’ve been picking carolina gold, black plum (free seed, very productive), and zapotec (free seed). Gotten a couple of medusas too.

Shadecloth goes up this week on my favorites. We’ve been having temperature in the high 90s. I’m hoping its not too late. I’ve never put it up before.


I haven’t seen any tomato hornworms. What I have been battling are aphids.


Nothing yet here. I just bought a SunGold, and a Cherokee Purple. I planted 5-6 plants out there with tags, but I can’t find the tags.
But here is one so far, the largest.


I hope your right but I’m still declaring war on them. Just been raining here often, so I have not been putting Sevin powder on tomatoes. Wondering if there is a way to predict their arrival.


that’s a big guy.

I planted a big tomato one year that was ripe when it was green with a hint of yellow. I forgot I had planted it, lost the tag. then they all dried on the vine and I still get one or two volunteers every year, I’m always squishing big green guys to see if they’re that one, and ready


Some pics of our maters.

On right, orange KY beefsteak, four in front, in rear two pink Brandywine. On left, front four are Early Girl, back two pink BW. The plant in between us a volunteer pumpkin that sprung up from seeds from the patch last year. It’s taking over…

I mulch with fresh grass clippings, which also provides a bit of fertilizer as it breaks down.

Some more plants, there are 33 total, not as many plants as we usually plant. Front left plants are Better Bush.

Getting lots of fruit set already on the OKB, they’ve only been in the ground about a month.


I have found one hornworm on my tomato leaves and about five on my muscadines.

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That’s Giant Belgium, I finally found the tag. If I leave mine on the counter they will ripen eventually.

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I planted 34 tomato varieties of various colors and shapes and another nine of cherry/currant tomatoes; I did not do flats or grow lights as I had done before. My father told me that his father used to sow seeds in a patch, dig them up, and transplant them. I decided to have a bonding moment with him and to jog the memory of his own father, so I threw seeds of 34 varieties into a cup, and he planted them. I placed nine varieties of small tomatoes in a cup and did the same. I now have 124 plants from the seeds he planted and 18 of the varieties I planted. I lost a few along the way, but not too many. It’s quite a fun thing not knowing what variety is which.

I don’t know how I ended up with so many. I thought I placed two seeds of each in the cup, but I was wrong. Some seeds must have had another stuck together or I miscounted.

Transplanting took a couple of days. I had to dig them up, place them in a bucket with water to separate them—my grandfather would simply separate without water so I’m guessing the soil was sandy in their land or he was just an expert—, dip them into another bucket of water to clean them up from debris (a few had aphids), and place them deep in a hole that was mixed with composted steer manure and a little Espoma Garden-tone. I watered them with fish and kelp fertilizer until they looked perky, lush, green. I did lose three: two to cutworms and one I must’ve damaged the tap root.

I’m actually very proud about the tomatoes. I didn’t think I’d do too well, but some have fruit and are looking great.


Just a reminder that tomato hornworms and other pest like stinkbugs…literally glow in the dark… if you shine a black light on them. Makes them really stand out… easy pickings.

I found a little blacklight flashlight at walmart… around 10.00. Wiped out my hornworms in a couple visits just after dark.


My tomato bed, it has Giant Belgium, Black Krim, Beefsteak, and SunGold. This year I exercised restraint, normally I have too many plants.


One Cherokee Purple plant… trained to two stems… loading up with some whopper maters :wink:


We’re just getting our first few ripe tomatoes from the high tunnel. First pepper too, a buena mulatta. Normally our first tomatoes would come in about a month. It’s been terrible tomato weather too. We’ve had nearly 3 weeks of cool rainy weather with daytime highs in the low 60’s and nighttime temps in the 40’s.

It’s amazing how big the leaves get on high tunnel plants. The solawrap probably helps since it diffuses the light so much. Look at the size of this leaf! The terminal leaflet alone way bigger than my hand:

We have 30 tomatoes, all trained to a single cordon using string and clips. The whole works is suspended from the collar ties of the high tunnel frames


Awesome tip, I’m curious what I might find.


I’ve never seen hornworms on muscadines. I’ll start watching for them there. Did have hornworms on peppers last year though.

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Thought I’d share something we kind of tripped over last year.

We had terrible problems with blossom end rot on our tomatoes for years. My wife would diligently water them in the diligently weeded garden once or twice a day. It was a lot of work and still some tomatoes would get hit with blossom end rot. Grrrrr.

I’m working to establish a food forest on my property so I’ve got woodchip-mulched beds galore. Last year we experimented with planting tomatoes in there. YOLO. We watered them once when planting and then maybe once later in the year when we gave them a shot of fertilizer. The mulch did the rest. Rains were irregular: lots of rain early in the season and very little late in the season. Every now and then a finger poked through the chips into the soil came back damp so we just left them be.

The results were striking: we had a great harvest of tomatoes and zero blossom end rot for all the tomatoes planted in the wood chips while experiencing the usual for those not in the wood chips. From what I understand researching afterward, tomatoes want consistency in the moisture they see so they can continuously pull in calcium from the soil. Watering into bare soil once or twice a day gave them wet / dry cycles that interrupted their calcium uptake at times, leading to the disease.

We planted almost all our tomatoes into the wood chips this year. We are still some ways off from harvesting out here but the plants are doing well so far.

TL;DR: heavily mulch your tomatoes and spend the time you freed up from watering on something enjoyable. Like making BLTs. Delicious, delicious BLTs.


Was it fresh mulch? Any particular type of mulch? How thick is the layer?

Can you show a pic of your tomato bed?