In July 2013 we harvested 1970 tomatoes, of which 770 were in the front yard and 1200 in the back yard.
Let's compare this year with prior harvests...
2013 -- 1970 -- Sixth
2012 -- 6068 -- Second
2011 -- 3863 -- Fifth
2010 -- 4108 -- Fourth
2009 -- 4576 -- Third
2008 -- 1629 -- Seventh
2007 -- 6154 -- First
This year barely beats out the worst harvest month, 2008. Bleah.
As you can see it's not a good year. Why?
I don't think the seedlings were as solid as other years. I simply think the plants were weaker and that's the main issue. What I've been keeping an eye on is beware of windstorms within a week or two of when you purchase your seedlings. I believe that occurred this year. The plants start strong and get to a reasonable height. Up to this point there appears to be nothing wrong with the seedlings. The plant starts to produce fruit and then "hits the wall". The plant starts to turn a grayish color and the fruit stays seriously underdeveloped.
There's so many tomato seedlings like this I can't list them all. Pierce's Pride, Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red(1), Green Zebra, Blue Beauty, Berkeley Tie Dye, Pineapple, Stupice, Nyagous, Jersey Giant...all produced severely undersized tomatoes. Or in the case of Green Zebra, no edible ripe fruit at all.
The second thing that possibly affected the seedlings are that we took to long to actually put them in the ground. In some cases I think it took us over two weeks before we acquired the seedling and actually put it in the ground. That's too long. I'll think about digging some holes before we acquire seedlings next year.
I believe we fertilized pretty well in preparation for this year. One can always do more but I thought we were well prepared. Speaking of which, we still have some hay bales acquired about a month ago that we still need to spread on the ground.
The third thing was that we got hot early. No, we didn't hit 110 like we did in June of 2008 but there were several early heat waves.
So two out of three items we really didn't have control but we'll work on the third for next year.
August may not turn out so bad. We've had some relatively mild weather for the past week or so. I expect some of the remaining plants to recover somewhat and have a second wind. Let's see what happens.