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where are my tomatoes?

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where are my tomatoes?

Post  jazzymaddy on 6/24/2011, 10:48 pm

I am saddened. My tomato plants are growing and getting tall and all those good things, but two of them have only one tomato apiece, and another two have none at all. I've pruned them, I've dunged them (well, I gave them Garden Tone a couple of weeks ago), the leaves and stem look healthy, and there are plenty of blossoms. What more could I have done? And more to the point, what more can I do now? My neighbor's got tons of tomatoes, and she just threw a couple of plants in the ground outside her back door. I'm trying not to covet my neighbor's tomatoes, as that's probably included in that commandment...

How can I get more of my most-awaited garden harvest?

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  buttaflie143 on 6/24/2011, 10:53 pm

Patience Jazzy. I had the same issue and the same neighbor. LOL! My plants started growing nicely and blooms galore, but not a tomato in sight. Then one...then another...now I have got tomatoes growing all over the place. Just leave em be and they will grow. I promise.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  jazzymaddy on 6/24/2011, 11:07 pm

Thanks Buttaflie. I needed that. Smile

I forgot to mention that I've been experiencing some blossom drop, which I guess comes with the heat we've been having. But gosh, we've had 90s for most of the month of June, and that's not even the hot summer month. Yikes. I see that there are a couple of blossoms that have started to set a teeny little fruit, but they've stopped at about pea size. Been there for about 3 weeks.

Should I shade? Mulch? Move north? Wink

Since I know some of you are visual like me, here's a picture of my red brandywine plant. My one tomato is starting to get pinkish as of today (!).


Last edited by jazzymaddy on 6/24/2011, 11:19 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  yosoypanadero on 6/24/2011, 11:12 pm

Keep mulching until you can't mulch anymore - you are helping the plant with moisture retention and weed control - as well as improving the soil for next year!

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  ModernDayBetty on 6/24/2011, 11:19 pm

I'm a newbie so I have no practical advice I've used other than this website has been really helpful http://www.tomatogardeningguru.com/

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  buttaflie143 on 6/25/2011, 9:09 am

Jazzy,
Let's see, when I first planted it was too cold and my tomatoes didn't grow. Then it rained like forever and the leaves curled up. Can I say panic. Then, I had blossom drop, and that was after all my tomato plants turned light green (the nitro issue). I corrected that problem and then the plants started growing and blooming and I got all excited...and then the poor little blossoms turned brown, withered up and dropped off. I cried. It was then that I decided to water and sucker and leave them alone. And low and behold tomatoes. You can mulch, but MM doesn't require it. I will tell you this, when you see an ample amount of blooms, go out there and give them a gentle little shake. This will help with pollination. I bet the next time you post, you will have plenty of pics of tasty tom's. Very Happy

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 6/25/2011, 10:37 am

I second Buttaflie. When we get to micromanaging things, which we often do, we create subpar results. However, when we let the plant do what it does as if we aren't there, we generally do better. Imagine that!

Your weather is wreaking havoc on you most likely. However, your season will normalize. And, don't move north. You have such a long growing season for things to come together.

If any of you southerners, except maybe Elliphant, move up here to escape your heat, I will kick snow in your faces. Wink I envy your growing seasons...I just don't envy your drought this year.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  quiltbea on 6/25/2011, 10:52 am

Jazzy,
I see many lopped-off branches on your plants. Why? Did you prune them like that?

You shouldn't prune away your branches, just the suckers in the vees between the stem and branch.
Or do you have tomato hornworn that's eating those branches? They can devastate a plant in short order.

Temps over 90 usually affect tomatoes. They don't like it and blossoms drop.

Since toms are self-pollinating, you just need to give your plants a shake when you're out there every day so they can pollinate themselves.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  stripesmom on 6/25/2011, 11:35 am

Tracy, don't move north. Here in Iowa, we're having rain almost daily (at least in my neck of the woods). Rain, rain, more rain. Never dries up enough to mow some of the yard. Mold and moss growing all over. Garden is fine though, since it drains. Other people's gardens are not doing well.

I agree with Buttaflie, just let them be for awhile. I also agree with Quiltbea about the pruning.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  jazzymaddy on 6/25/2011, 11:51 am

@quiltbea wrote:Jazzy,
I see many lopped-off branches on your plants. Why? Did you prune them like that?

You shouldn't prune away your branches, just the suckers in the vees between the stem and branch.
Or do you have tomato hornworn that's eating those branches? They can devastate a plant in short order.

Temps over 90 usually affect tomatoes. They don't like it and blossoms drop.

Since toms are self-pollinating, you just need to give your plants a shake when you're out there every day so they can pollinate themselves.

I am the lopper. I thought that's what I was supposed to do to send the plants' energy toward the fruit instead of useless leaves. I guess I mis-read, or read bad info. So I will refrain from pruning off anything other than suckers from here on out. Do I need to wait on suckering for any period on the ones that have no fruit yet?

And BBG, I'm up for a good snow fight. Bring it on! But thanks for the reminder about the greener grass situation. I do not miss scraping ice from my car. But I am pretty sick of sweat. [pant]

Thanks everyone for your feedback. I knew I could count on you!

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  boffer on 6/25/2011, 12:05 pm

I don't have a clue about the pruning. I just thought you were using the ATM technique! He's a pretty aggressive pruner.

(acara's tomato management)

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  FarmerValerie on 6/25/2011, 1:50 pm

I use the ATM for my tomatoes too, any leaves below fruit, get trimmed off.

Also tomatoes usually don't set in temps above 89, so alot of us are on hold for a month or two, just be patient.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  herblover on 6/25/2011, 3:56 pm

My tomato issue is water, water everywhere! It has also been cooler than normal here; lovely for me but not my tomatoes!

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  Goosegirl on 6/25/2011, 10:33 pm

@boffer wrote:.....I just thought you were using the ATM technique!

(acara's tomato management)


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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  jazzymaddy on 6/25/2011, 11:51 pm

@FarmerValerie wrote:I use the ATM for my tomatoes too, any leaves below fruit, get trimmed off.

Also tomatoes usually don't set in temps above 89, so alot of us are on hold for a month or two, just be patient.

Now, I have trimmed off everything below my blossoms, not the one fruit. Should I wait till it's actually fruit before I trim? It would be quite bushy since there's just the one little guy.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  shannon1 on 6/26/2011, 3:56 am

@jazzymaddy wrote:
@FarmerValerie wrote:I use the ATM for my tomatoes too, any leaves below fruit, get trimmed off.

Also tomatoes usually don't set in temps above 89, so alot of us are on hold for a month or two, just be patient.

Now, I have trimmed off everything below my blossoms, not the one fruit. Should I wait till it's actually fruit before I trim? It would be quite bushy since there's just the one little guy.
I use the ATM style my self and even if my plants are ugly I have tomatoes galore. I trim the lower suckers and leaves right from the get go to prevent desease. After the fruit sets I trim off all the leaves below the fruit, all suckers on vines, plus any discolored or pest damage leaves.
My neighbor says I'm snipper happy and wants to take my snippers away. She smiles and thanks me for the tomatoes though.
I had to go after my bush beans after just two days of light rain in the evening as they started to die. Out came the snippers off came the affected leaves. I'll let you know how it goes. Also since the rain I got lots of tiny black spots on the upper side of many of my tomato leaves, off they went as well. I have one tom plant that is just done setting fruit and still has several green toms on it, so just to see what happens, I topped it and cut ALL the leaves off. I think the fruit will ripen faster that way. We shall see.
Maybe I am snipper happy Embarassed

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  FarmerValerie on 6/26/2011, 8:22 am

As soon as the blossom comes off and I see a teeny tiny tomato, that's when I trim, but don't do too much all in one day, some times too much pruning can cause the leaves to curl.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  mijejo on 6/26/2011, 9:16 am

For those that are heavy pruners, please clarify.

Let's say an indeterminate tomato plant has lower, middle, and upper levels of blossums. Above and below each level of blossums are leaves, and of course, there is a growing tip.
It is given that the gardener should first remove all suckers taking care to not cut the growing tip, and all lower leaves (near soil level) should be removed.
1. Should one, or more, sets of leaves be left under the lowest blossums?
2. Should leaves be left between levels of blossums?
3. Is it harmful to trim a partial leaf/branch?
4. Does any of this change once the fruit is set?
5. What about after harvesting the fruit? Can all leaves lower than the harvested fruit be removed?

It appears the readers have conflicting views about the pros and cons of the leaves. One view point seems to suggest that more leaves provides more photosynthesis, thus providing more food to the plant. The theory there is - I suppose - is that a well fed plant will provide more fruit. Another opinion is that much energy goes into maintaining extra leaves, That energy is better served producing fruit. A third theory suggests that by minimizing the number of leaves (and this is with extreme pruning where a mere several leaves remain on the plant) the plant is "tricked" into thinking it needs to reproduce quickly.

That is how I see it. Am I missing something? Do we have proven studies which suggest the best method?

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  quiltbea on 6/26/2011, 9:24 am

I'll have to try this new heavy pruning theory.
I have two Lithuanian tomatoes side-by-side and the same size. I think I'll heavily prune one of them and see which gets the most fruit. That's the only way I'll be able to convince myself that this heavy-pruning works.
Thanks for the advice.
It won't hurt to try and maybe I'll be a convert in the end.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  shannon1 on 6/28/2011, 3:00 am

@mijejo wrote:For those that are heavy pruners, please clarify.

Let's say an indeterminate tomato plant has lower, middle, and upper levels of blossums. Above and below each level of blossums are leaves, and of course, there is a growing tip.
It is given that the gardener should first remove all suckers taking care to not cut the growing tip, and all lower leaves (near soil level) should be removed.
1. Should one, or more, sets of leaves be left under the lowest blossums?
2. Should leaves be left between levels of blossums?
3. Is it harmful to trim a partial leaf/branch?
4. Does any of this change once the fruit is set?
5. What about after harvesting the fruit? Can all leaves lower than the harvested fruit be removed?

It appears the readers have conflicting views about the pros and cons of the leaves. One view point seems to suggest that more leaves provides more photosynthesis, thus providing more food to the plant. The theory there is - I suppose - is that a well fed plant will provide more fruit. Another opinion is that much energy goes into maintaining extra leaves, That energy is better served producing fruit. A third theory suggests that by minimizing the number of leaves (and this is with extreme pruning where a mere several leaves remain on the plant) the plant is "tricked" into thinking it needs to reproduce quickly.
That is how I see it. Am I missing something? Do we have proven studies which suggest the best method?
I can only tell you what I do, I don't know if it is right or wrong, in fact I think that depends alot on climate. Here it is hot and humid so better air cirulation around the plants is a really good thing to help prevent desease.First I only snip off the leaves touching the ground until the fruit sets, after that
1.no I don't
2.only until fruit sets then off they come
3.no
4.see above
5. mine already are
This make for some pretty ugly plants but lots of toms. I realy can't say why the fruits don't get sun scald but I have not had that problem.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  quiltbea on 6/28/2011, 7:55 am

One of the reasons fruit cracks is because they don't get enough cover from leaves and the sun is too hot for them.
That would suggest not removing any branches above the fruiting branches except the suckers that form in the vees.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  Squat_Johnson on 6/29/2011, 8:58 am

Lower leaves can harbor fungal diseases, which are in soil and splash onto the leaves. Snip snip.

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  The Cynergist on 6/29/2011, 9:29 am

@jazzymaddy wrote: there are plenty of blossoms.

That must mean there are plenty of tomatoes to follow, right?

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Re: where are my tomatoes?

Post  jazzymaddy on 6/29/2011, 2:42 pm

@The Cynergist wrote:

That must mean there are plenty of tomatoes to follow, right?

Oh, I do hope! I bought some pine mulch yesterday to hopefully drop the soil temp a bit, lessening the likelihood of the dreaded drop. I will also give another dose of Garden Tone for good measure.

But the good news is that my two existing fruits look almost ready to harvest! The whole family is waiting with baited breath for some tomato sammies. Drool

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