Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - August 18, 2012

From: Spokane, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Edible Plants
Title: Problems with non-native tomatoes from Spokane WA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 2 tomato plants in 1 whiskey barrel, they are in abundance with tomatoes. My problem is when the tomatoes start to ripen, half green & half light red within 1 day the tomatoes are really soft and scribble up like they turned rotten over night. What am I doing wrong?? one brand is Early Girl & I can't remember the other.

ANSWER:

Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler climates. Its scientific name is Solanum lycopersicum, which means it is in the nightshade family. You might be interested in this article from Science Daily on nightshade plants.

However, while the tomato is not one of the deadly members of this family, it also is not native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to  North America, but to the area in which that plant grows natively.

You can do a search on "tomato pests and diseases" and get a number of sites, with pictures and solutions, to answer your question.

Your best source of information, since this is a food grown to eat, is probably the Washington State University Extension Office for Spokane County. There is contact information on that website, and they are bound to know more about tomatoes and growing them in Washington than we do.

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Edible and Medicinal Plant Resources for West Texas
March 02, 2013 - I am a teacher of gifted and talented students in Paint Rock, Texas. We were looking for a reliable book or website for edible and medicinal plants in West Texas.
view the full question and answer

Edible plants beginning with I, T, X and Z in Colorado
March 26, 2009 - My friend would like to know a fruit or vegetable that he would plant in his garden and come back yearly. The plants would have to start with the letters I,T,X, & Z. It has to be edible, of course.
view the full question and answer

Controlling Cnidoscolus texanus (Texas bullnettle)
July 18, 2013 - Hello,I need your help to control some nasty weeds in my yard/pasture. I am an old timer and do not have a picture to include—haven't figured out that part of the camera/phone yet. This weed is a pri...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pomegranate failing to fruit from Highland Village TX
October 20, 2012 - Last spring I planted a pomegranate tree (type: Wonderful) which is supposed to produce edible fruit. It had 5 or 6 absolutely beautiful blooms, but each of them dropped off and no sign of fruit. Is...
view the full question and answer

Are flower petals poisonous?
December 01, 2008 - Is it toxic to eat the petals on a flower? Ashley
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.