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Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

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Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  BrianDorry55 on 4/29/2015, 11:27 am

Hey everyone!

So I started seeds almost 4 weeks ago now and I am having some mixed results. My cucumbers, corn, bush beans, and radishes are doing fantastic. My tomatoes seem stunted. They're only about a foot and a half tall, but what is most concerning is that they are starting to form buds on the new growth. I can't see anything that points to any blatant nutrient deficiency. Stems seem nice and thick, leaves probably aren't as dark and healthy as you'd like but other than that I don't see any problems. The main stem seems short and the newer branches are longer than the main stem. We have been having some iffy weather (I am in West Central Florida)...alternating between hot in the high 80s and cold fronts bringing lots of rain and dreary days (but not any kind of cold that would change much). Could the tomatoes just be more fragile to the weather? The only other obvious problems that I'm having is that my pepper and eggplant seedlings have grown very slowly since germinating. I just can't figure out why some crops would be taking off, like the cucumbers, and others hesitant to grow. Thanks for any help! I'm going to figure out how to post pictures below.
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Re: Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  BrianDorry55 on 4/29/2015, 11:56 am


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Re: Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  sanderson on 4/29/2015, 1:12 pm

I hope someone in your area with similar mixed wet, dreary weather and sunshine will respond.

My only thought is the tomatoes would like some more sunshine. But I don't live there. Everything looks healthy to my inexperienced eye.

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Re: Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/29/2015, 1:25 pm

if I felt it was too early for my tomato plants to bud I would just nip the buds off. But I have never felt that way. I agree with Sanderson. If my plants look like that after 4 weeks I'd be jumping for joy! Maybe you should ask about this in your regional thread and they can help you, as they will be more familiar with the the timing of the different veggies and your current climate.

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Re: Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  yolos on 4/29/2015, 1:32 pm

There are a few leaf miner tracks on a couple of the tomato leaves but that would not cause any problem.  If your corn and cucumbers are growing, the weather would be good for the tomatoes also.  So I do not think weather is the problem.  How about the soil.  Are they growing in the same bed or different beds.  Same fertilizer used or compost ingredients in both areas. ???  I am not really sure there is a problem.  Not sure how fast tomatoes grow compared to corn and not sure when they were transplanted into the garden.
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Re: Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  sanderson on 4/29/2015, 1:41 pm

Did you direct sow the tomato seeds? If so, wow!!

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Re: Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  BrianDorry55 on 4/29/2015, 2:52 pm

Yes everything was direct sowed on April 1st. Some things are going crazy fast. Is a foot and a half tall about right for a month after direct sowing tomatoes? I was thinking about building a mound around the tomato stems to help them root better since they were direct sowed. Everything is in the same soil with the same sunlight. A mix of 5 different composts and the coarse Verm. And peat. I wouldn't be worried really if it weren't for the early flower buds forming. I'm terrified that I'm going to get fruits in small plants and end up with no production after that. I'm going to work on getting a soil analysis this week. If I had to guess I would say the weather is just tougher on some crops than others, or that my pH is off and it's fine for some crops but tough on others. Everyone agree that I should punch off the buds?
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Re: Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  Turan on 4/29/2015, 11:43 pm

THose look like healthy tomato plants to me.  I planted mine indoors at the same time and they are no where near that tall.  Are they indeterminates?  If so the early flowers will just mean early fruits and the plant will keep growing and put on more later.  If you mulch them deeply or hill them that will help them keep a more steady nutrient and water amounts to deal with the weather cycles, especially as you are going to be pretty hot soon.  How close are the cucumbers to them, is there going to be a crowding issue?

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Re: Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  sanderson on 4/30/2015, 4:03 am

I replied earlier but I was feeling poorly and failed to Send.

I'm not sure that your soil needs testing. Everything looked okay to me; nice and green.

Regarding the tomatoes, maybe make top hats from 1" x 3" or 1" x 4" that fit inside the squares containing the tomatoes. Next year, maybe start the tomatoes in seed cups, yogurt cups, short Solo cups, so when they are ready to plant, you can set them deeper, first removing the lower leaves. Or, plant them in sloping horizontal trenches. Lay the small container on their sides and the top part of the tomato plants will curve up to the sun. Only takes a day or so for them to turn up to the sun.

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Re: Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  Triciasgarden on 4/30/2015, 2:41 pm

I would suggest picking off the leafs with the leaf miner damage and/or insect in it. You can see it in the first picture. Discard all leafs in a bag and get them out of your garden because they will spread.

In my opinion, even if your plants are small and budding now, the plants will continue to grow; even when they are growing tomatoes. The plants that you think may be short, may actually be bush or determinate plants. The warm weather and good rain may be triggering flowering.

Your garden looks very nice! Give it some more time.
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Re: Help Troubleshoot My Tomatoes!

Post  littlesapphire on 4/30/2015, 3:05 pm

Wow, Brian, for having direct seeded those 4 weeks ago, they look GREAT!  Just as a comparison, here's a (very bad) picture of some of  my tomatoes a couple years ago.  This was taken on June 26th.  That's 4 weeks after I plant them outside, and 10 weeks after starting them from seed inside. 



It's hard to tell in this picture, but they're about 8-12 inches tall.  Yours look better, honestly, so I wouldn't worry one bit.  They'll grow quickly!
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