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Thread: Tomato Plant Questions

  1. #1
    Super Member ILoveToQuilt's Avatar
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    Question Tomato Plant Questions

    DD has 12 heirloom tomato plants that she is growing in 5 gallon pails (2 plants to a pail). She planted them in early June from seedlings. None of them have any buds on them and they are getting "leggy" but not bushy. Some of the leaves are yellowing and falling off. The pails have good drainage, but it has been very hot and dry up here and the plants tend to be on the dry side. They have full sun for most of the day (at least 7 hours worth).

    1) Are heirloom tomatoes usually late bloomers?
    2) Does she need to feed them (Miracle Grow)?

    Any suggestions or help would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance!
    Anita

    The only place that housework comes before quilting is in the dictionary.

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Tomato plants do better not getting dry. She may want to water them twice a day. If she did not use soil with a slow-release fertilizer in it, then they may need fertilizer too. To make them bushier, she should be pinching off (or cutting off) shoots. This also helps the rest of the plant with water. Here is a link that may answer some of your questions:
    http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussi...s-not-blooming

  3. #3
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    Prism99 gave you great advice.

    Are they a bush or staking variety of tomato? Bush ones should have blooms and be setting fruit. Staking ones will be leggier than bush ones, but should have flowers.

    Did she use potting soil or garden soil in the pots?

    Yellowing leaves indicates a lack of food, so yes feed them according to the fertilizer package directions. Does she have a pan under the buckets to hold the water? If the pots or really dry the water may run right through and not be absorbed. Putting a pot pan underneath makes sure the soil has time to absorb some of the water.

    I have about 5 varieties of tomatoes on my deck. The temps on my deck get up to 40 degrees C or 104 F. It is hot and dry, we do not have high humidity. I have to water every morning and really give the plants a good soaking (until I see water in the pans). I started harvesting cherry tomatoes last week. Sometimes I have to water at night too, but it best for the plants to be watered in the morning. As well avoid getting the leaves wet when watering.

    I use Miracle Grow tomato food every couple of weeks. I do not read the label on the container.
    Attending University. I will graduate a year after my son and year before my daughter.

  4. #4
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    A full grown tomato needs, at the minimum, a gallon of water a day. If you are container gardening, then your plant relies on you for everything. It is critcal that you separate the plants into separate containers and give them enough fertilizer, but not so much that you burn the plant. They are from the nightshade family and love heat. Peppers and eggplant are also from the nightshade family. Make sure they get plenty of sunlight. Take a gallon milk-jug, pierce the bottom with a heavy gauge needle about 10-20 times. If you have enough room in your pot, bury it beside the tomato, exposing the spout. Now fill this up daily. Purchase some l powdered Miracle Grow Fertizer. Follow the directions and add this to the water you put in your milk jug. Tomato plants need nitrogen to develop their foliage, phosphorus to develop their fruit, and potssium to develop their root systems. They are heavy feeders and do well with a 10/10/10 fertilizer. The first number is nitrogen, the second is phosphorus, and the third is potassium. Take a wire coat hanger and straighten it out and stick it in your pot. When there is a thunderstorm, it will act as a lightning rod and pull the nitrogen out of the air and direct it to the root of your plant. You may have a disease, but it is more likely that your plant is starving to death. Make sure you do not allow any blossoms (when you get them) to stay on your plant until it is healthy again. Just as you wouldn't want a sick woman or a child to have babies, so it is with your plant. Pluck all the dead leaves off your plants. Good luck.
    Last edited by SewingSew; 07-27-2016 at 03:12 PM.

  5. #5
    Super Member Roberta's Avatar
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    I just picked my first heirloom tomato this morning. I grow some of them in the plastic reusable grocery bags I get from my local store, not the flimsy ones but the printed ones. I've lined them up against my fence and planted one tomato in each. This summer, because my part of Maine has had very little rain, I have watered them every single day and fed them as well.

  6. #6
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    I live in Florida where it is 90+ every day. I water the plants twice a day and they do well
    Carmen E.

  7. #7
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    Mine are going Nutso!!!!!! I plant mine in pots also. I don't use fertilizer. THe one thing I do is if there are no holes in the bottom of the pot, the plant will drown. I water my plants once a day or maybe once every two days, depending on our weather, realizing of course, that tomatoes are almost water!!! I have BEtter Boys and grape and Sweet 100's. Been eating the grape and 100's for about three weeks now.

    I wish you good luck, but you should have had the flowers and the little green tomatoes by now. I have mine planted facing west, so they only have the afternoon sun and that's the hottest and the brightest. Sometimes I think it would be really neat if we could turn into whatever and see what they need and then feed them. Edie
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  8. #8
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    I have almost 40 tomato plants in my garden right now and also 6 in containers. The are loaded with tomatoes. They are on the cusp of ripening and then I'll be in the middle of a canning frenzy. Good point about the drainage Edie. We also have watermelon, canteloupe, summer squash, zucchini, green beans, eggplant, green peppers, hot peppers, basil, Kale, Spinach, cucumbers, broccoli, and lots of flowers. Everything is starting to produce. I always grow 10 large pots of green beans. I prefer to grow beans this way because it is easier to maintain the plants and pick the beans. It's a great feeling to grow your own food. I am happy to supplement my family's food with non gmo veggies that we grew ourselves. Nothing you can buy in a store will ever be as fresh.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the info. The last two years our tomatoes have been infected with the large green tomato caterpillar-like bugs. Don't know why. However, that was after I had gotten quite a few of the tomatoes picked and made into spaghetti sauce and frozen into meal-sized containers. Ours are about done now, but I may plant a late-season batch of plants.

  10. #10
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    I think you may be referring to tomato hornworms, angelmama. Those things are hideously ugly. They suction onto your plant and are difficult to see because they are like chameleons. They eat all the foliage off your plant almost overnight. We had them a few years ago. I look for them each year now. There is a beneficial insect that is a parasite to the hornworm. It is called a Braconid wasp. It lays eggs in the hornworm. If you find one that has white eggs sticking out all over it's body, leave it alone. The white eggs are baby Braconid wasps. The hornworm turns into an ugly brown moth. Google for an image. If I see these in my yard I kill them.

  11. #11
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Try Epsom salt on your plants.
    A healthy growing tomato plant uses up lots of magnesium in the growing / production process. Maintaining the magnesium at the right levels can be accomplished with regular applications of Epsom salt. The results… more blooms, less blossom rot, more fruit, stronger plants, deeper green color, along with taster, sweeter tomatoes. Use 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon warm water (to help the salts dissolve).

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  12. #12
    Senior Member rj.neihart's Avatar
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    All great advice - sounds like there are some tomato growers on here too!

  13. #13
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    I mix up a solutiion of epsom salt & water and put it in a spray bottle. Then, at the first sign of blossoms, I spray directly on the blossoms of my peppers, tomatoes, & eggplant. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. Doing this is suppose to increase the yield of the plant.

  14. #14
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    I'm going to do that right now. I have tomatoes, but no ripe ones yet. One Tablespoon Epsom salt to one gallon water. Got it!
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

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    Super Member Charleen DiSante's Avatar
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    Love learning about worms and their benefits/problems. Thanks for the info.
    Charlie DiSante

  16. #16
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    Epsom salt too is good for tomatoes - and pepper plants; will help them set fruit.

  17. #17
    Senior Member DonnaFreak's Avatar
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    I agree with Jan. Epsom salts are good for the plants. Also, they may be getting leggy because they are too close together. I never put more than one in a large pot. Even when planted in the ground where they have plenty of room to spread, they should be at least 3' apart. I never use commercial fertilizer. Instead I buy one bag of blood meal, one bag of bone meal, and one container of Epsom salts. When mixed together they organically provide everything the commercial fertilizers do. Also, tomatoes love calcium, so sprinkling some powdered milk around the plant every time they're watered provides that, and helps prevent blossom end rot. Hope this helps. ☺

    Donna

  18. #18
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    The plants are too close for growing. I grew beautiful tomates in raised beds. I canned 50 quarts and kept the neighbors in tomatoes for the last month. They are now now nearing the end.

  19. #19
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    I will try the Epsom salts and powdered milk. Thanks! Mine went in late but I should be able to pick my first tomato soon.

  20. #20
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    Wow so much information about tomato plants. I only have a small raised plastic bed my son bought me. I did get some tomatoes, but sure wish I read this sooner.
    Create something beautiful from scraps.

  21. #21
    Super Member ILoveToQuilt's Avatar
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    Thank you, all! I think she is not watering them enough. Will also tell her about separating them into separate pots. Also will suggest Epsom Salts and/or Miracle Grow. Thanks again!
    Anita

    The only place that housework comes before quilting is in the dictionary.

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