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too much sun for tomatoes in pots??

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too much sun for tomatoes in pots??

Post  edsac64 on 7/3/2010, 9:33 am

Hi all and Happy July 4th,

While my SFG is doing well, I need help with a small problem. We have one terracotta pot on the deck with a "patio tomato" plant in it. While it has around 8 tomatoes on it, all ripening nicely, the plant itself looks pathetic with yellow leaves and browning edges. It doesn't see to be growing or developing much, either. I recently transplanted it from the original plastic pot to the terracotta pot and gave it a good dose of Miracle Grow fertilizer, but it still looks really sick. It gets an average of 12 hours of direct and often intense sunlight each day. My wife insistss that it's getting too much sun. Is that really possible??

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Re: too much sun for tomatoes in pots??

Post  camprn on 7/3/2010, 9:36 am

It could be. We in New England have also had some dry weather these past few days, so that could also be the problem. Last year, when it was hot enough, I had to mulch my potted toms and water twice and sometimes 3X a day.
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Re: too much sun for tomatoes in pots??

Post  Wyldflower on 7/3/2010, 10:35 am

It probably needs more water. Terra cotta pots will wick water out, which evaporates. Plastic pots hold the water in. So your tomatoes are probably wanting to be watered a couple of times a day. Good luck!
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Re: too much sun for tomatoes in pots??

Post  Megan on 7/4/2010, 12:58 pm

Do you have a saucer underneath?

I have a terra cotta strawberry jar with some yellow alpines in it planted from seed. The seed directions said to keep it moist. Don't recall where I learned this (from my dad?) but before planting, I soaked the empty pot in a bucket of water for several hours until the bubbling mostly stopped (I should have left it overnight, but I was in a rush). Since then, I've kept the saucer full of water as best I can. It now has a dedicated dripper, otherwise I'd periodically wet down the outside as well.
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Re: too much sun for tomatoes in pots??

Post  Retired Member 1 on 7/4/2010, 5:38 pm

If its not too heavy, I'd suggest you pick it up and put it in a bucket filled with water at least half-way up. Leave it a few hours to fully saturate. Sometimes the potting mix will dry out and watering from the saucer or the top won't completely hydrate it. Then I'd give it a half-strength dose of Miracle Grow and see what happens. Theoretically tomatoes can take full sun all day, even here in Texas so I doubt that is the problem unless it is on concrete next to a concrete (or brick) wall where it might get reflected heat. But I'm not sure that would do damage in your climate.

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Re: too much sun for tomatoes in pots??

Post  quiltbea on 7/4/2010, 11:43 pm

It sounds as if it needs more water.
Those terra cotta pots suck up that water quickly, especially in the heat.
Having a saucer under them helps retain some of the mosture.
Stick your finger in the soil beside the plant and if its dry down a couple inches, water it. You may have to water 2 or 3 times a day if its especially hot and drying.
If you think its the sun, you can drape cheescloth over the plant to lower the intensity of the sun's effects.
You'll just have to experiment to see what works best.
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Re: too much sun for tomatoes in pots??

Post  miinva on 7/5/2010, 11:53 am

I love terra cotta pots, but it's true that they wick away moisture and require a lot more watering, which I combat by putting them in a deep dish that immerses the bottom of the pot in water until it wicks up the water. The pots get ugly doing that, but the plants get enough water.

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Thanks for the replies!

Post  edsac64 on 7/9/2010, 8:31 pm

I improvised and think I found the perfect solution. Since the pot is so big, I didn't have anything large enough to immerse it in. I had a clean kitty litter box that wasn't being used, so I made an impromptu saucer and filled it with water. What a difference. The soil has been continuously moist and the plant is bouncing back. Thanks again!

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Re: too much sun for tomatoes in pots??

Post  Megan on 7/9/2010, 8:32 pm

Woo hoo!!!! rock on
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