Tomatoes not doing well

ehsteveApril 27, 2012

This is my first time trying to grow tomatoes, so don't know if my expectations are off or if I'm doing things wrong.

I have a 'Better Boy" (?) planted in a ~7 gallon self watering container. The potting mix is an organic mix by miracle grow, fresh out of the bag. The tomato came in one of those peat pots that you leave on the plant (but take the bottom out of before planting).

It started off well when I took advantage of the warm march weather but then the plant really slowed growth and the leaves are all turning yellow and look like they're dying.

There are two tomatoes growing on it - would they be sucking up too much energy / nutrients from too small a plant?

I didn't add any fertilizer to the potting mix (as it is supposed to have some in it to start with) but have since added some organic solid tomato fertilizer. Could the plant have just not been getting enough nutrients, so the leaves turned yellow?

Should I nix the two tomatoes currently growing? Restart with a new plant?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I cant open the pix. Yellowing leaves this early on usually mean too much water, poor drainage or both.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 9:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Richard (chuggerguy)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 9:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Please add fertilizer -- the plants are starving.

It's important to know that the potting mix that comes with fertilizer in it doesn't have enough to grow vigorous veggies.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 12:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

chuggerguy, are these pots the kind without exterior drain holes? (I've seen them but haven't grown anything in them. I hope someone else will comment.)

About "peat" pots: I've read that you should always remove the part above ground, as otherwise water wicks into the air and the plant dries out; I can't see any remnant of the peat pots in your containers, so it looks like that wouldn't be an issue. When I buy a plant in a peat pot, I prefer to remove the entire peat pot, to give the roots more freedom.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 12:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Are your plants taking up water? Is the wicking action working so that you are needing to refill? If the plants are not getting moisture all the ferts in the world wont help. Miricle Grow Organic is notorious for not wicking well in SWC. You do have mix, correct, not soil? Although I agree with Jean that what is in the mix will be insufficient it seems like it should not be depleated this soon. LInda

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 12:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all for your responses and to chuggerguy for linking the pictures properly.

The plants are in DIY self watering containers, I've drilled holes in the side in the reservoir area to prevent them filling with water and to give an indication of when I've filled the reservoir. I've got a burlap lining to help with wicking. If I keep putting water in each day it keeps getting wicked up into the soil. When I dig out the top inch or so the soil below has moisture in it.

I checked around the peat pot and found it was all still intact after almost 6 weeks, so I removed some of the side sections to allow the roots to spread out.

I added some fertilizer to the smaller plant a couple of days ago as it just wasnt growing (in the background of the photo) it was also turning yellow and is now looking a lot greener. That peat pot was also intact so I opened it up a bit too. It sounds like a fertilizer issue with the roots trapped in the pots, so I've added more fertilizer to both - fingers crossed!

Thank you all for your advice, as you can probably guess I'm pretty new to growing veggies do any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 12:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good news! Liquid nitrogen ferts are quickly absorbed if your toms need a dose of ferts, fast. Fish base is a good one. I grow in EarthBoxes. You might try covering the top of your pots

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You have now learned the well known lesson with peat pots. The entire pot simply must be removed when planting.

But as Jean said - these plants are starving, badly. I would remove those tomatoes and focus on trying to save the plants if it is possible. I'd also consider just replacing them.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 2:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If the miracle grow soil you chose to use was the organic choice garden soil I see advertised all over this site (it comes in a green bag) then it is not meant to be used as a potting soil. Looking at your pictures it seems like this may be the case since it is filled with bark. That organic choice just seems to be rotted wood. I did the same thing :o
If so, then you need to try to mix in some good potting soil as well. I prefer to use a mix from my local gardening store, it is about the same price as miracle grow is usually, but I much prefer it. The mix I get is called "Happy Frog" - it is an organic gardening soil which contains beneficial microbes to help digest soil litter (like your bark) and will make it into nutrients which your plants can use. The microbes do a lot of other things which will benefit your tomato plants as well, but they can still benefit from regular nutrients if you want them to fruit continuously throughout summer.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 1:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all!

I've added some organic fertilizer to the pot but it had a low nitrogen content so I supplemented with some 5:1:1 fish base liquid fertilizer to help give a nitrogen boost.

One more question - I'm thinking about adding some clover as a cover crop, partly to keep the direct sun off the soil and partly for the nitrogen fixing that clover does. Is this a half baked idea with lots of drawbacks or would there be some mileage in it?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ascrius - it looks like potting soil - it has perlite in it. I don't think their garden soil has perlite (though I could be wrong).

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 11:33PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Brandy Boy Contest -2015
I propose a "Brandy Boy Contest" for 2015...
Fourth of July ....
Fourth of July is my favorite day. How about a tomato...
Seysonn_ 7b-WA/HZ1
Pinetree Garden Seed Company for Cuostralee
Is Pinetree Garden Seed a reliable source for tomato...
Baby tomatoes with yellowing leaves
My tomatoes plants are about 5 weeks old. They have...
Critique Varieties please for 2015
My garden each year seems to expand here in N. Indiana...
Sponsored Products
Wool Hallway Runner - Tomato
$212.99 | Dot & Bo
Tomato prisma acrylic picture frame
Origin Crafts
Dansk Christianshavn Blue Individual Pasta Bowl
Emerson Rectangular: 5 Ft. x 7 Ft. 6 In. Rug
$199.00 | Bellacor
Piccola Table Lamp by Pablo Designs
$150.00 | Lumens
Cherry Tomato Narrow Zig Zag Ovo Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™