1. I've got volunteer plants growing in my pot or garden from last year. What can I expect? Or, the volunteer plants aren't producing the types of tomatoes I got last year. Why is that?
Answer - If the volunteer seedlings are from varieties that are not hybrid, there is a good chance that they will be just like what you planted and harvested last year. BUT - if the variety was a hybrid, then there is a good chance you are seeing something unexpected. This is certainly guaranteed with the orange cherry tomato Sungold - which is indeed a hybrid variety. Sungold is apparently a mysterious, perhaps complicated cross. The offspring could be all sorts of different colors, and don't have the very special, unique flavor of Sungold.
2. I bought variety XXX from you, but it isn't producing what I expected - or what you described! What happened?
Answer - With seeds, there is no absolute guarantee that you get what you expect to. Seed companies can make mistakes - a stray seed of another variety can find its way into a different packet. And if the plant is from seeds I've saved, there are two possibilities - the stray seed getting into the mix, or even more likely, a bee decided to do some hybridization work and the seed I used for the variety has some crossed seed in it. I know that some people who thought they were getting a particular sweet pepper found that it grew hot...it is due to unexpected (and unwanted) crossing. And I've found this year that the Indian Stripe tomato I am growing is crossed - instead of large purple fruit, I am getting medium round pink fruit. Sorry - at least the unexpected is edible (and could be quite good!). It is good to let me know if you have something you didn't expect from a plant you got from me.
3. A few of my plants are having issues - the foliage is wilting and turning yellow, or brown, or there are lesions on the foliage. What is happening?
Answer - Ah, the bane of tomato growers - disease! And there are lots of them that go after tomatoes. The ones we seem to have the most trouble with here in NC are Septoria Leaf Spot, Fusarium Wilt, Tomato Spotted wilt and Bacterial Wilt. Caused by either a bacteria or fungus (depending upon the disease), the trouble started either in the soil, the container, or was spread by an insect. Rather than go into great detail here, if you are seeing something wrong, google each of the diseases above and you will find pictures to help you identify the problem. Bacterial Wilt and Tomato Spotted Wilt are really bad - the plant is essentially a goner. Fusarium and Septoria slow things down, but often the plant will hang in there and produce at least some tomatoes.
What else do you want to ask? email me with your questions!