First time tomato grower what's wrong?

jmishorkApril 16, 2013

Hey guys this is my first season growing tomatoes and I'm having some issues with my plants. They were fine for the last month and they just started to fruit. Once they started to fruit they started to wilt and sag on me. I have them growing in fox farms ocean forest and they are in 5 gallon pots. They have looked great until this morning. I have not been overwatering them, I have them a big drink today in hopes that it will perk up today. The past 2 days has been pretty windy (25 mph winds). Anyway hopefully the pics will help. Thanks ahead of time for the responses guys!

[Img]http://imageshack.us/a/img687/3686/imagexczw.jpg[/img]

[Img]http://imageshack.us/a/img689/1802/imageanf.jpg[/img]

http://imageshack.us/a/img687/3686/imagexczw.jpg

http://imageshack.us/a/img689/1802/imageanf.jpg

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jmishork

The URL for the pics are the last two. Sorry for the confusion

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 5:17PM
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Need2SeeGreen(10 (SoCal))

Howdy!

I am new at tomatoes too. One thing people will probably say is, 5 gallons is on the small side for tomato containers.

Your plants look pretty good to me though, maybe they are really just thirsty.

And, even if the pot is small, I am not sure if that means that you should repot to a bigger size now. Someone with more experience can speak to that. It might be something to think about.

You don't say where you live, but if it gets very hot there, you might want to drape the pots, if you can't give them bigger pots. I say this because, if the roots are crowded in a black pot, they might get too hot in there. I use fabric for this, but you could also put them inside a bigger, empty pot, to shade the roots. Depending where you are though, this might not even be an issue. It's hard to say.

I think your plants look pretty sturdy and I bet you will get some yummy tomatoes.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 6:20PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Clickable links:

jmishork, it would help to know where you are: your USDA Hardiness Zone (or Sunset Zone) or your general location. Failing that, we'd need better information about your weather.

Wind does have a dehydrating effect.

5 gallons is probably much too small, but it depends which variety you're growing. I grew dwarfs last year which were happy in 3.5 gallon pots -- but they were small dwarfs.

Need2SeeGreen is correct that black pots can be a problem in hot weather, as black absorbs heat. One thing which helps a bit is to cover the black with something white or silver, which will reflect some of the heat instead of absorbing it.

Beyond that, I'll leave things to the container gurus (which I am not).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 8:46PM
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jmishork

Thank you guys for the quick response. I'm in Northern California which is zone 9a I believe. It doesn't get super hot here but I think I'm going to wrap the pots anyway. Would I be better off just planting it in the ground? I have a raised garden as well but I just was concerned that the tomatoes would run a muck if I planted them right in the soil. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 9:36PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

25 mph wind will beat up your plants for sure. What do you mean by run a muck? Even though I try to leave a big space between my plants I usually have a tomato jungle by the end of summer. Tomatoes do take up lots of room if they have good soil and enough water. To me it would be harder to take care of them in a bucket because you would have to water them often.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 11:32PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Do you know the name of the variety? That's the only way we'll know how large it will get and how large a pot/space it will need.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:59AM
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jmishork

Yeah the variety I'm growing is the druzba. Do you guys think this would grow really big in the ground? I also heard if you were to plant it in the ground it's best to lay it on its side and sorta build a trench so the tomatoe grows roots from the stem. Any one heard of this?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:48PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

These height estimates are not based on where the plant is grown, but here's what I've seen for Druzba:

Ventmarin (a huge French database) says 160-180 cm. (roughly 5-6').

The Cultivar Finder at a forum which can't be named here puts Druzba into their 4-6' category.

I also have a note in my variety list which says 3 1/2' -- most likely either from this forum or a comment at Tatiana's TOMATObase.

Planting tomato seedlings/plants below ground level is always recommended. Sideways planting in a trench is usually done with particularly leggy plants. Shorter plants are usually just put in a deep hole (i.e. with quite a bit of stem below ground level).

This post was edited by missingtheobvious on Wed, Apr 17, 13 at 13:30

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 1:27PM
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jmishork

Thank you guys so much for the info. One last question. My tomatoe plant in the pot is already producing fruit ( just a couple) is it too late to plant this in the ground? If its still ok to plant it in the ground should I plant it as deep as possible or is it too late for that? Thanks for helping me out with this guys!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 1:37PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

If it's already producing fruit I wouldn't move it b/c the shock of doing so usually causes the fruits on it to fall off and the plant can languish for quite a while since the roots need to adapt as well.

In 1992 I received seeds for Druzba from Norbert P.in France and was the first to list it in the SSE Yearbooks and offered it in many seed offers as well as sending it for trial to the several owners of seed sites that I know well and have for a long time..

In the 2013 SSE Yearbooki Tania lists it and says indeterminate.

I featured it in my heirloom tomato book and also said indeterminate, but I think I'd call it a compact indet or a semi-det.

I'm a heart lover and have grown many and I think that Druzba is one of the best tastingfred hearts I've grown.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 2:22PM
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jmishork

That's awesome Carolyn! I really appreciate all the info! I'm hoping they come out nice! With a little TLC I'm sure they will. This is my first year growing a vegtable garden and I'm loving it. I finally bought a house that has a huge backyard so I'm putting it to work =). I've been happy with the progress so far and excited to see how everything turns out. I'm sure I will have plenty of more questions for you guys in the weeks to come. Thanks everyone for the quick responses!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 5:27PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

Like MTO, I am not a container expert by any means, but I have grown some plants in containers, so here is some additoinal information:

Container plants will need watering more often than tomatoes in the ground, probably daily or more often in times of high temperatures. Dig down with your finger about 3-4", is the growing medium wet, dry, or just right? If it is wet, don't water, if dry then water. If it is just right, check again the next day. If the medium is very dry, normal watering may have no effect on it, the water will just run off the top and down the sides of the container then out the drainage hole(s). In that case a slower delivery method is needed to allow the growing medium to absorb the water. That is the principle behind those glass watering globes you see advertised. You can slow the delivery down by taking a large plastic container (a gallon milk jug, or even a 2-liter bottle, you'd just have to repeat more with a smaller container) and make a very small hole in the bottom so that it just drips and place it in your planter and fill it up. Repeat as needed until the growing medium is thoroughly moistened throughout the container.

Mulching the top of your container with compost, straw, hay, rotted leaves, grass clippings, even shredded paper or sheets of paper or cardboard helps maintain a consistent moisture level.

Plants that are grown in any kind of container will need feeding more often than plants that are grown in the ground because each time they are watered, the water run off carries away vital nutrients. Many container growers will use a dilute solution of a liquid fertilizer every week or two depending on the condition of the plant.

You can get more information on growing in containers over in the container forum.

Betsy

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Gardening Forum

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 11:27AM
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jmishork

Thanks for the info Betsy ill make sure to check it daily to make sure the moisture level is correct.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 1:42PM
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