My tomato plants aren't growing

ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7aMay 30, 2010

Hi,

I put two Ramapo in the ground over 2 weeks ago.

Good soil, including mushroom compost.

I have kept them watered.

Yet they are doing nothing. No growth, and the bottom leaf fell off.

This is only my 2nd year w/tomatoes, so I'd appreciate any advice.

I'm ready to tear them out and try some more.

Last year I grew a Ramapo in a container, and they were delicious.

I figured putting them in the garden could only improve things.

Thanks,

ellen

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Most likely explanation is too much water. It slows root development, causes root rot and stunts growth. So cut back on the watering.

How much and how often are you watering? How much rain have you had? How warm is your soil temperature?

Check out the previous discussion of this linked below for info that might help too.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Why aren't my tomato plants growing? discussion

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 9:00AM
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ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a

I don't know soil temp. I can get a soil thermometer today if that is helpful to know.

It rained about 3 days ago. Since then temps in the 70's to 80's at day. 80's predicted at least til Tues.
They are in full sun.

How do I determine when and how much to water?

Thanks,
ellen

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 9:10AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Plants in the ground seldom need watering more than once a week. They need about an inch of water a week total including rain and unfortunately most folks tend to way over-water them. But when you do water you water them well and deeply, not shallow.

You'll find many discussions here on proper watering and that the best approach is to stick you finger deep into the soil near the plant. If the soil feels cool and is even slightly damp then they don't need water. Your plants will tolerate too little water MUCH better than they will too much water.

Soil temp 6" down is crucial to plant growth. Unless your soil temp is at least 60 degrees then the plants just sit there and do nothing until it warms up. Tomatoes do best in soil that is 70-75 degrees minimum.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 11:03AM
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lesmatzek209

hi ellenr,

what have your temps been at night?, if your nights have been between fortys to fiftys tomatoe plants sleep untill
the night temps get between mid fiftys to the sixteys and then will take of and start to grow fast.

i have black prince,applause.blood butcher, fireworks in 15 gallon smart pots that i water every three to four days once the heat sets in i will more than likey have to water more often.

my raised bed plants (bloody butcher northern lights i only have to water seven to eight days, the top of the soil is dry two to three inches below the surface,good luck
and best wishes.

les

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 2:00PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

They need about an inch of water a week total including rain

But when you do water you water them well and deeply, not shallow

Sounds kind of contradictory to me.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 6:41PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Or perhaps, as you so often say about the rest of us here, "some people just can't read".

There is no contradiction at all. Average of 1 inch of water a week whether from rain or from the gardener. Deep watering is better than shallow watering. Pretty much standard, common, routine, everyday, practical advice.

Cut yourself some slack Taz. You are just wearing yourself right down to a nub trying to pick a fight with one of us.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 8:50PM
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ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a

Les,
to answer yr question night-time temps in the last week have been in the 60's, and will likely not go below that from now on.

re the watering advice, I don't know why anyone would think that is contradictory. It is standard advice on watering, and I have always followed that and there is good botanical reasoning why deep and less often is the way.

These two plants were picked up late and perhaps neglected in their infancy, so that may be a reason why they are slow to take off.

I'm getting some aged horse manure which I will work in to the top few inches, perhaps that will give them a boost.

I also have a Big Boy someone gave me.

Does anyone have any feedback re Big Boy vs Ramapo for a novice, as far as having success?
Altho I suspect they are both about the same.

anyway, I have to find a place for the Big Boy and hope that effort will be more "fruitful".

Thanks all.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 8:19AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

No contradiction.
One inch of water on a 2 ft by 2 ft area (one plant) is equal to 288 cubic inches or 4.5 litres or 5 quarts.

Cyrus

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 9:17AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

I'm not trying to pick a fight with anyone Dave. You and others read things that aren't there or leave things out. Had I left the 'kind of' out it would be different. Cyrus thanks for doing the math.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 1:36PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Your soil is not good, when temps are cool..

I would next time make sure you make an open and airy mix and incorporate into the soil...The roots will still function while you can water all you want, no matter what..

Mike

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 3:28PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

One more thing, if you are brave enough..

Did one up and check to see if anything under ground is eating the fine roots to your plants.. Check the soil in the roots very well..Check for some kind of larvae...You might find the roots are either missing, almost non existent, or half eaten...That is what grubs did to mine...

Mike

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 3:32PM
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barkeater(Z3b VT)

Hi Ellen,

I'm from Jersey and I can guarantee your problem isn't cold soil.

I think it is one of 2 things, probably the first. You say you got the plants late, so they could be very well be rootbound,unable to send roots out into the soil. The other possibility if your garden was tilled very shallow and the roots have nowhere to go, there would be the same result. As Mike said, dig one upcarefully and see if the roots are growing outward.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 6:44PM
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