Poor tomato harvest

jcin_los_angeles(z10, Sunset 22,)July 18, 2008

For some reason my tomato harvest is very poor this summer. Everything is the same, the varities of tomatoes, where I got them, homemade compost, organic fertilizer, watering, amount of sunshine, lots of bees, etc. But after a short period of setting fruit, the flowers have all been dying for weeks. The total harvest will be a fraction of what I usually get. Is anybody else experiencing this problem? What's going on?

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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I'm getting a much better harvest than normal. I tried new new varieties this year and they are all being very productive. I have no idea why...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 1:39AM
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dicot

I only grow cherry tomatoes, but I've been getting very good flower set and harvest.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 4:23AM
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skrip(z9/sun19/SoCal.)

Our harvest really sucked this summer! We planted several Cherry Tomato plants and only 2 gave tomatoes. And Im talking some very little (the size of raisinettes) ones, only 2 were the size of actual Cherry tomatoes.

It is our 1st time so perhaps we did something wrong or maybe the plant need to mature more?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 10:21AM
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CA Kate

Tomatoes don't set fruit when it gets too hot. It was VERY hot in the San Fernando/LA region (at least) early on. And that's about when the first blossoms would have been out. This might be the reason. You might have to wait for the cooler Fall weather for tomatoes.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 12:02PM
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skrip(z9/sun19/SoCal.)

Westelle, thanks so much for your comment. They were actually my daughter's first veggie plantings and now I know what to tell her. She still picked them off so tiny and ate them all happily.

It certainly was hotter in June than it's been in July this year, thats for sure.

I was gonna pull them out, but now that you mention it, Here's to the fall! (hopefully)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 12:37PM
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slo_garden(9 CA Coast)

I'm having the same problem, and I'm sure it is because of the weather. In the spring we had wild swings in temperatures which caused a lot of blossom drop. Then we had freak triple digit temperatures a few weeks ago, and once again, more blossom drop. Now that the weather has stablized, my tomatoes are doing better. But as a whole, total production is down for this year.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 9:47PM
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jcin_los_angeles(z10, Sunset 22,)

The weather has been pretty steady in West Adams, low to mid 80's. There was 1 heat wave, but that was weeks ago, and the only tomatoes I got did set after that. So I don't think it's weather related.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 1:22AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Are you getting a lot of growth and no flowers, or is the fruit just not setting?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 5:19PM
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boondoggle(9Sunset20)

Just to throw my two-cents worth in, I have a Pruden's Purple that has blossomed sporadically, but the blossoms have all dried up and fell off. The Black Sea Man and the Miracle Sweet, which are right next to it, have done just fine. Go figure.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 7:37PM
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jcin_los_angeles(z10, Sunset 22,)

There are flowers, but they either die before opening or do open for awhile and then fall off. There are lots of bees, and for awhile lots of tomatoes. I added more compost and fertilized again (organic fertilizer). Everything is the same as it's always been, so I'm completely at a loss to understand what's going on.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 12:47AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Hmmm...too much water and fertilizer?? A little stress does them good. I never fertilize mine. They get compost and nothing else.

And your nighttime temps have been below 65F?

Sometimes I wonder if it is just the plant. I'll have 3 plants of the same variety, 2 will produce a lot, 1 will produce nothing.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 2:25PM
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dicot

I agree with Hoovb, don't fertilize a flowering tomato. I probably wouldn't even add compost.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 3:50PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I read that you can plant tomatoes in the same spot every year if you add a lot of compost--supposedly the compost reduces the amount of tomato-attacking microbes in the soil--something like that. Hence the compost. It doesn't appear to have hurt.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 12:12AM
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boondoggle(9Sunset20)

Hoovb, we have had very cool nights lately. (Not that I'm complaining. Our house doesn't have air-conditioning, so the weather has been a dream.) So cool nights will prevent fertilization? Interesting.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 1:14PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

No, you want nights below 65F. It's the warm nights that prevent fruit set.

"Daytime temperatures above 90°F and night temperatures above 70°F will reduce the number of tomato flowers and fruit set. There is considerable evidence that night temperature is the critical factor in setting tomato fruit, the optimal range being 59-68°F.

With night temperatures much below or above this critical range, fruiting of the tomato plant is reduced or absent. Low temperatures reduce the production and viability of pollen. High temperature, especially if accompanied by low humidity and moisture, hinders tomato fruit set through failure in pollination and/or fertilization."

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 8:12PM
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gonzer_gw

Try adding Dolomite (horticultural lime) to your beds next season, a few weeks prior to planting.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 8:22AM
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dicot

"Try adding Dolomite (horticultural lime) to your beds next season, a few weeks prior to planting."

That's sounds like strange advice to me. Why do you suggest that Gonzer? LA soils tend to have plenty of lime and clay and tomatoes prefer just slighty acidic soils. His plants grew and produced flowers, but didn't set fruit, so how will dolomite rectify that situation?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 7:10PM
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