Who even knew that tomatoes had shoulders because I certainly didn’t. I do now and I also now know the reason why several of my tomatoes are sporting totally unnecessary green or yellow ones! You ‘ll never guess, not in a month of Sundays (unless that is you’ve experienced the same problem)…….
……. apparently my tomatoes have had too much sun!
How is that even possible?
I live in the UK for crying out loud! The NORTH of the UK at that!
Yes, we’ve had a few weeks of sunshine and high humidity which could in fact be designated ‘summer’ but even so …. too much sun for a tomato!!! Never would I have thought that this would be the cause of my interestingly coloured tomatoes.
Of course, at first sight I thought my bumper crop had merely fallen victim to some hitherto unknown pest or disease and so turned to Google for help. A quick search led me to tomatodirt.com, an informative site which revealed that this was not an unusual occurrence, nor was it the result of some exotic virus, or root burrowing bug.
No, the problem was that the tomatoes, had been exposed to too much intense sunshine and heat over a long period of time, whilst they were growing on the vine. Whilst the plant itself was relishing these conditions, the affect of the heat (75F/24C and above) and sunshine on the tomatoes, over this prolonged period, was that Lycopene production was inhibited (Lycopene is the pigment that gives tomatoes their red colour) whilst the break down of Chlorophyll was prevented (chlorophyll is the pigment that causes the green colour). So put the two together and the green colour remained strong and prevented the red from appearing. Only the top or shoulders of the fruit had been affected because this was the section of the tomato which had been most exposed to the heat and sun.
The same principle applies to yellow shoulders which are caused by Carotene (the pigment that produces yellow and orange) being less affected by the heat than the aforementioned Lycopene.
Thankfully and unlike many problems with vegetables growing, the solution to this particular problem is straightforward and requires nothing more than to provide some shading for the remaining tomatoes. Also the tomatoes are still edible, although I would recommend slicing off the green or yellow section as these won’t taste very nice. We have enjoyed the red sections of our affected tomatoes and these have been just as tasty as the unaffected fruits we have eaten.
Staying with the tomatoes, the Mudlets had a strange looking tomato with their tea last night. I have no idea why it grew in this particular way, as it was hanging free on the plant with no obstructions. It was the same variety as the perfect specimen that featured in my seed saving post the other day and yet other than the colour red, it bore no resemblance at all to its’ compatriot. Very strange.
Little Mudlet did want me to save the seeds from this tomato but I thought better of it ….. I mean I don’t want to sound like the supermarkets or anything but really!!! I think not.