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Season 2018

2018-11-02: After a long time of silence finally some news. The end of the season has been hectic and busy between the creation of the Association, the setting up of the sales site and the disaster of Tuesday, October 30...
"TOMATOFIFOU. The Association" is the official name of the association. This one has for goal:

-the safeguard and the promotion of the old varieties of tomatoes, peppers and hot peppers through demonstrations with educational character (fair, expo etc...)

-To promote the creation of educational vegetable gardens in all places, by implementing the most natural methods possible.

-To act for the discovery of gardening in schools.

Membership is open to all, the annual fee is 20€ and gives the right to 10 bags of seeds or for people living nearby 10 tomato plants.

The seed sale website: https://www.tomatofifou.com, aims at financing the actions and projects of the association while answering the more and more numerous requests of the users of this site in search of rare seeds. I invite you all to visit it and why not to make some purchases!...it's for a good cause....

After this good news, the disaster of October 30th will leave a bitter taste to this season while putting an end to it. Indeed, following heavy and greasy snowfalls, the two greenhouses located on the new ground exploded! At first, the damage seemed to be limited to the replacement of the straight legs and the tarpaulin, but as the "cleaning" went on, it became obvious that the damage was much more important, more than half of the metal elements constituting the frame of the greenhouses being deformed and unusable....

Here is the news, and although the last one is demoralizing, we have to go on, even if for a moment I thought of giving up... The setting up of the association, the start of the sales site which is well above my expectations and the numerous messages of symphathy received since this misfortune have quickly restored my morale. I give you an appointment in 2019...
2018-10-12: Some photos from the Beaumont show last Sunday. Still summer days and some crops and still no significant rain...
2018-10-01:
2018-09-21: the last fruits have been picked for tomorrow's show in Clermont. A little more than 150 varieties of tomatoes, peppers and peppers will make the trip of what to astonish the Arvernes more used to consume the potato, another solanaceous!... A beautiful and good day in perspective especially since a tasting awaits you there...
2018-09-20: it's the full production for peppers and chillies and it's a good time for the exhibition of this weekend in Clermont Ferrand. There will also be a few varieties of tomatoes that will make the trip, mainly "blue" that have endured the heat wave well...
2018-09-15: Still under a regime of fine, dry weather, with the occasional thunderstorm avoiding the region...
2018-09-12: good harvest but later than last year, it seems, for peppers and chillies. On their side, tomatoes and eggplants are getting scarcer and scarcer, the burnt clusters of this summer explaining the sudden stop of the production. Some varieties are blooming again but the hope of seeing new fruits is minimal...
2018-09-08: finally some rain, a few stormy showers have poured barely 10mm of water, which is far from making up for the water deficit accumulated this summer. Pickings are becoming more and more staggered, only the "blue" and most of the "Kozula" are still producing regularly. The housework has been done in the greenhouses and at the end of the season we can identify the areas that will need a more consistent amendment in the spring. Indeed there are places, well delimited, where the plants have dried up because of a lack of food. An analysis of the soil is in progress in order to correct and remedy the imbalances/shifts noted this summer.
2018-09-04: Autumn is settling in and with it a greater thermal amplitude, the thermometer is making the big difference! From 4 to 5°C, the last nights, to more than 25°C at the best time of the day ... It goes without saying that the plants are suffering and the few remaining fruits are starting to bear the stigma. The tomatoes are getting thinner and thinner, which is not the case for the peppers and chillies which are producing generously. The fruits brought back from Brussels have been treated, transformed into coulis after graining, 4 days of non-stop work... We are in Auvergne nothing is lost!... The next few days will be devoted to tidying up the inside of the greenhouses. Due to lack of time, pruning and maintenance have been put aside and many plants have sprouted gourmands. A pruning is necessary if we want to harvest some fruits, if by chance the weather is favorable and we are spared the frosts which are again present!
2018-08-31: some pictures of the tomatofest in Brussels... There are few this year, I could not make the tour of all the exhibitors, overwhelmed by the questions of the visitors, surprised and curious!
2018-08-22: for 3 days now, the heat is back and there is still no precipitation... The greenhouses take their end-of-season finery, dry or yellowed leaves hanging on plants devoid of fruits, where sometimes remains one or two embryos that struggle to develop. Some varieties are resisting, such as "Mystere Berthier" or "Rosa de Hijar", the latter showing a nice green foliage and big fruits to come. The preparations for Brussels are coming to an end, the last fruits will be picked this morning, unfortunately like last year the most beautiful specimens have been collected long ago! Only the peppers and chillies are just in time for the appointment in the "flat country" which will allow us to have a well-stocked stand to offer to the visitors' eyes...
2018-08-17: after 2 very cool nights, +/-7°, back to seasonal temperatures. Many plants are without fruit as the crops were so abundant these last days. Unfortunately many flowers have been burnt and therefore no new fruits to come. The latest varieties, like Rosa de Hijar, have finally produced and have not deviated from the current rule by delivering up to 5 large fruits at once... Next weekend the now traditional exhibition in Brussels, preparations have begun and the question of who will be on the trip is asked.
2018-08-10: end of the heat wave or just a break... Anyway, since yesterday, temperatures are falling, 10°C this morning... Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, thunderstorms have avoided the region, the rainfall being limited to a few showers with a total of just 12mm, which will not be enough to make up for the water deficit accumulated since the beginning of the summer. The ripening is even more accentuated, which means that many varieties have lost all their fruit. Information taken from specialists, the poor assimilation of nutrients, especially potassium, is also partly due to the heat. This last one provoking a stress at the level of the plant and by the same a nutritional dysfunction. Let's hope that the intake of comfrey juice in quantity will stop the phenomenon, unfortunately it is already too late for the fruits already formed and ready to be harvested!
2018-08-03: the weeks are following each other and look like, the heat wave and the drought are well and truly installed and a few isolated thunderstorms are not going to change anything!... the production is now very high, it is not rare to pick 4 to 5 ripe fruits on the same plant, probably a consequence of the heat. The few problems of apical rot having been solved, it is now a deficit in potassium that we have to face. On some varieties, probably more sensitive, the fruits do not ripen completely, the upper part turning yellow and remaining hard. This deficiency is perhaps induced by the contribution, in too great quantity, of calcium to stop the "black bottoms". It is important to know that these two elements essential to the good growth of the fruits can become antagonistic, if the plant consumes one in too great quantity it can inhibit the absorption of the other... This phenomenon is essentially visible on the greenhouses installed on the new ground, undoubtedly an imbalance at the level of the ground which it will be necessary to correct this winter by the contribution of the missing elements after analysis of the ground. In the meantime, comfrey juice, rich in potassium, is injected in the irrigation circuit to eventually reduce or stop this dysfunction.
2018-07-27: A scorching week and getting hotter and hotter, so much so that we had to urgently find a stratagem to lower the temperature inside the greenhouses in order to preserve the fruits from sunstroke and the floral clusters from burning. The installation of a simple opaque tarpaulin had the effect of maintaining the temperature within reasonable limits, not more than 36°C at the hottest part of the day whereas without this artifice 50°C were expected or even exceeded. Thanks to a rope system, the protection is quickly put in place at the hottest time of the day, i.e. around 11/12H and removed around 17/18H. The big sizes arrive in production and the pickings are more and more important. The graining has started as well as the making of coulis to recycle the cut fruits.
2018-07-20: unfortunately the storms of the weekend have spared us, the lack of water is starting to be felt. The week was sunny and warm, the temperature inside the greenhouses being maintained in acceptable values thanks to a good ventilation but the ardour of the sun on certain fruits caused insolations. More than half of the varieties have fruited but the production still has difficulty to really start... Eggplants are starting to produce beautiful fruits in spite of some plants invaded by red spider mites whose eradication is a problem.
2018-07-13: sunny week but at the cost of a strong North wind and consequently the return of very cool nights... The production marks a little the step the plants distilling their fruits with the drop. Eggplants seem to decide to produce better than last year, probably thanks to a better exposure. The first fruits harvested were generally smaller than the standard ones. The reason being that the plants were too young/not strong enough, the lesson to be learned is that it is preferable to remove the flowers on immature plants so that they do not bear fruit too early, thus favouring the good development of the plant which will produce later but will offer bigger fruits.
2018-07-07: weather more tormented and less hot this week with the passage of a stormy episode not too violent and which gave a cumulative rainfall of +/-16mm. The few days of extreme heat caused the fall of some flowers and burned some leaves. Day after day, new varieties of tomatoes are maturing with their good and bad surprises (new non conformity)...
2018-06-30: summer week in spite of a persistent night coolness until these last days... it grows nicely in spite of the appearance of new cat flowers undoubtedly due to the 3 cold nights of the beginning of week. First appearance also of apical necrosis on some elongated varieties, these last ones having received an additional watering (lithothamme diluted in water) to stop this deficiency. Many flower clusters have been shortened because of their length and the number of flowers they carry in order to avoid a multitude of small fruits.
2018-06-23: finally some color with the return of the sun and heat ...although this morning 5.8°C on the thermometer!...
2018-06-17: phew!... the stormy period that was raging for 3 weeks is over! The arrival of summer is announced for this week and with it the heat that has been lacking for a few days because of a strong north wind. In spite of this, our little world is doing well and growing nicely. The plants are slowly getting loaded with fruits, the varieties coming from Russia being the most supplied.
2018-06-10: Despite the continuation of the stormy and very wet weather the growth of the various varieties continues decently. 2/3 of the cultivars are bearing fruit which allows us to determine if the variety is well conformed. At first, the shape of the fruit will be checked and later on, the size and the color will be checked. With this control the first disappointments appear, for example "Blanche de Prusse" which should be round and slightly flattened, is heart-shaped! The same goes for "Black Charcoal" whose standard indicates a beefsteak type, here it appears oval! Fortunately, these are isolated cases, and as every year, it is to be expected that there will be 5 to 10% of non-conformities.
2018-06-06: In Brioude, the first peppers are ripening under the gaze of a couple of green lizards of about thirty centimeters. Here too, the tunnel, heated by the sun, mulched and sheltered from the torrential rains during thunderstorms, offers shelter to these reptiles which remain harmless for the plants and can even be excellent auxiliaries for insect hunting...
2018-06-03: this beginning of June starts like the month of May, as a whole, under storms and rain. It is not less than 150mm of rainfall that we counted for the last month in the region... In spite of this, and apart from the "hunting" of crickets which remains topical, the growth of the plants seems to proceed correctly, if all goes well the first real harvests should begin at the end of June... The first fruits were tasted this weekend, Ida Gold, on the tomato side, and for the peppers Sakharniy Rojok and Criolla de Cocina.
2018-05-30: A new name added to the list of tomato pests: the field cricket or field cricket (Gryllus campestris, Orthoptera Gryllidae). This was the conclusion reached after the discovery of a dozen plants damaged at the level of the lower part of the stem. The inspection of the greenhouses confirmed my suspicions, apart from their very visible presence, near several gnawed plants was a cylindrical tunnel of about 15mm in diameter which went down diagonally for about fifteen centimeters, which corresponds to the housing of this insect. Thus, having nothing else than the plants to put under their mandibles, the latter served as a pantry. The mulch provided them a good camouflage and the greenhouse a warm and dry shelter, what more could you ask for! An intensive hunt allowed the capture of about forty specimens, I think the bulk of the battalion, which, I hope, will stop the plague! But let's remain vigilant...
The weekly visit to Brioude allowed the first harvest of peppers, certainly modest but for the end of May it was almost unexpected!
2018-05-23: appearance of the first fruits... Depending on the variety, the growth of the various cultivars is very variable but all in all quite correct, even a little ahead of the previous years. The weather is favorable, although still very disturbed with daily thunderstorms, the heat is there and the nights have become milder.
2018-05-23: in Brioude the first peppers and chillies are starting to ripen, it's early in the season which is a good omen...
2018-05-21: After last weekend's snowy interlude, we are back to more seasonal temperatures with capricious weather alternating between sunshine and stormy rain. The growth of the plants is correct and seems to be in the average. The pruning has started and the hunt for suckers is on. It is the same for the "cat's flowers" which pulverize at the beginning of the season and we know by experience that it is better to remove them in order not to exhaust the plant.
2018-05-13: snow is back on this last day of the ice saints... Yet the two previous days the temperature was rather summery! Loss of more than 20 degrees in a handful of hours, luckily hat and scarf were not far away. As far as the plants under the greenhouse are concerned, there was not much to worry about, although we had to remove the heavy and sticky snow from the tarpaulins in case the snowy episode wanted to last longer.