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Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

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Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

Post  landarch on 4/16/2014, 11:01 pm

I think I may have started my tomatoes indoors too soon this year...plants are becoming large and setting bloom while still under my grow lights.  I have also been setting them outside for real sunshine when weather permits.

Should I just remove the tiny blossoms?  Do I pinch the entire plant back and let a new leader/ main stem develop after planting in the garden in a couple weeks?

Same thing is happening to my tomatillos.
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Re: Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

Post  brainchasm on 4/17/2014, 2:10 am

Pinch the blooms off, and maybe lower them/move them a little further away from the light.  You don't want them to stall, but definitely try to slow them down until you can plant them out.

How are your overnight temps so far?  Which KC are you in?

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Re: Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

Post  southern gardener on 4/17/2014, 2:34 am

We went to a master gardener class on tomatoes last night. HE said to cut off the first two fruit stems to encourage more growth. He said once the plant starts setting fruit, it kind of slows down and thinks, "I'm good, I've reproduced".  I honestly have NO idea if he is right/wrong, but I'm gonna try it this year! He said the same for peppers. I guess the point I'm trying to make is, maybe try his idea since you're a little early??  Let us know Smile
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Post  landarch on 4/17/2014, 8:48 am

I may experiment with both...pinching blooms vs. pinching stems.  The blossoms are barely forming on a few plants (very tiny and green).  I still have a 2-3 weeks before planting.  We had an overnight temp of 24 a few days ago...and last year we had snow in early May.
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Re: Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

Post  Marc Iverson on 4/17/2014, 12:21 pm

I wonder if re-potting them,maybe a little early and as always with tomatoes too deep, might both slow them down a little because of transplant shock and divert some of their energy into growing new roots. Then you'd have to worry about still getting light to them properly at their new height, though. But that could be a good excuse for snipping off a few low stems that might then lie below the soil line, again sacrificing top growth but enhancing root growth.
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Re: Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/17/2014, 12:59 pm

I have a hand written note in my SFG book to put fast tomato plants in cool environment, in the 50's, to slow them down. I put mine in my window where it's in the 50's right now, and they go outside for hardening off when it's in the 50's.

Sorry, no idea where I got that info but it's what I do.

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Re: Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

Post  camprn on 4/17/2014, 1:45 pm

My guess is that your plants are ready to go out, but because they remain under lights, this is causing the plant stress, which will promote premature bloom.

My suggestion is to pot-up and pinch the blooms off then try to reduce any other factors that may be causing the plants stress.

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Re: Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

Post  landarch on 4/17/2014, 6:41 pm

thanks all for the info and advice...I'll let everyone know how it goes.
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Re: Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

Post  Triciasgarden on 4/18/2014, 12:52 am

I don't know if this would work, but also how about reducing the hours your plants have sunlight.  I would think that would slow them down some along with the pinching.
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Re: Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

Post  landarch on 4/18/2014, 8:08 am

I was thinking of leaving them in the dark while we travel for Easter weekend.  I have not been good with light consistency...some days too much light, others not enough.
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Re: Help - tomatoes blooming under lights

Post  Pollinator on 4/18/2014, 2:57 pm

@landarch wrote:I think I may have started my tomatoes indoors too soon this year...plants are becoming large and setting bloom while still under my grow lights.  I have also been setting them outside for real sunshine when weather permits.

Should I just remove the tiny blossoms?  Do I pinch the entire plant back and let a new leader/ main stem develop after planting in the garden in a couple weeks?

Same thing is happening to my tomatillos.

Main thing is to not let them get potbound, and if they are blooming, they probably are. Bump them up into a larger container, if you can't set them out.

Otherwise they'll be fine.  I overwintered some tomato cuttings in my greenhouse. they have bloomed and set fruit this spring, before going out. I hope to have some very early tomatoes!
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