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Problem & Solution
August/September 2014

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Strange Tomatoes
Problem: This year my ‘San Marzano’ tomatoes are developing a “second” tomato at the end of the fruit, as seen in the photo attached. It’s not happening to just one or two tomatoes now and then — it’s a bunch of them. Do you know what causes this, and is there anything I can do to prevent it?

Strange tomatoes.

Joyce Gonzales
Dripping Springs

Solution: According to Joe Masabni, vegetable specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife, this is physiological, caused by environmental stress during blooming, and some varieties seem more prone to this type of damage. There is nothing you can do to prevent it, but try a different variety.

Mumbo, Gumbo?
Problem: In a past publication a few years ago you had an article about an individual who had and sold “migrating onions.” Do you have that article in archives? I have been searching a long time for that article and contact information. Thank you very much.

Joe Wallen

Solution: We think you are referring to the article about gumbo onions that was published in our May/June 2011 issue. We are sold out of the print version of that issue, but you can order a CD with the 2011 issues on it. That will have the gumbo onion article. The cost is about $17. You can place the order online or call us toll-free at 1-800-727-9020.
L. E. Andrews wrote the article and, at the time, sold bunches of that onion to our readers. To meet demand we even offered bunches of gumbo onions the next year. You can contact Mr. Andrews at 10545 Hinds St, Houston, TX 77034, although we are not sure he is still sharing his gumbo onions.

Red Spider Mites
Problem: I have to ask about red spider mites in my tomatoes. At least I think they are red spider mites. There are webs and red spots on the back of leaves. This morning I clipped those branches off and put them in a garbage bag, and I am sure that there are more leaves that have the webs and red spiders on the back. What do you suggest to get rid of them? The tomatoes are still real green and not ready to harvest. I have noticed some new green shoots around the bottom of some plants. I have fertilized them twice already and water them every other day.

Irene Peterson

Solution: Yes, those are likely red spider mites, and they can be a serious pest on tomatoes during the hot, dry days of summer. They are found mostly on the bottom side of the leaves and can be removed with a strong blast of soapy water or just plain water. You will need to repeat this once or twice a week to reduce their numbers significantly. Be sure to spray the water hard on both sides of the leaves and on all leaves (including the healthy ones).

Muscadine Grapes
Problem: I was trying to find out where I could find muscadine grape plants for sale to plant in my garden.

Stephen Hagan

Solution: If you are unable to find some muscadine plants locally, try either of these Texas-based mail order nurseries:

Bob Wells Nursery
PO Box 606
Lindale, TX 75771
(903) 882-3550

Womack Nursery Co.
2551 Texas 6
De Leon, TX 76444
(254) 893-6497