En Español

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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Transplant shock in Liatris spicata
May 25, 2008 - I bought a liatris spicata start a month ago, and transplanted it into my front yard (full sun, clay soil, moist due to all the rain recently). The plant immediately wilted so I transplanted it in ...
view the full question and answer

Leaf problems on Cherry Laurel in Boulder City, NV
January 29, 2011 - I live in Boulder City, Nevada and have 4 cherry laurel trees. I'm having a hard time with brown leaves and loss of leaves. How much water should I give them each season? Temps run from 28 degrees to...
view the full question and answer

What to do about powdery mildew on Pavonia lasiopetala?
June 02, 2009 - My Pavonia lasiopetala seems to have gotten mildew this spring. I was hoping that warm weather would get rid of it. Instead it has spread to most of the plants which are located in widely separated b...
view the full question and answer

Full Sun, Wind-Tolerant Shrubs and Vines for Steep MN Hillside
June 26, 2013 - My neighbor and I share a very steep, large (in total almost 200 ft. wide) west-facing hillside in Excelsior, MN on Lake Minnetonka. We both have a flat grass area at the bottom so the hillside does n...
view the full question and answer

Vascular wilt in Rhus virens
June 22, 2007 - Hi Smarty: Our evergreen sumac grew beautifully this spring (it is about 2 years old -- we got it at the LBJ Wildflower Center plant sale). Then its leaves suddenly drooped last month (May) and turn...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center