Is this blossom drop or what?

BigN_187(9)May 14, 2013

I went outside to check all my tomato plants this morning. I have my main "crop" planted in the ground, about 30 plants, 4 different varieties, and then I have two plants in pots. The two in the pots are Matina and Brandywine. Now all the plants in the ground are doing excellent. Nice foliage, nice height for their maturity, nice blossoms. However, my potted brandywine seems to have issues.

The foliage looks great, and it doesn't appear to have anything wrong with it whatsoever, except the blossoms are "hollow". In other words, there are absolutely no yellow petals forming. Or any other obviously identifiable part of the flower, for that matter. They just sort of open for a few days, and then close, then after the fruit doesn't form, the whole blossom just falls off after a few more days.

What do I do to fix this?!? I'm really concerned it won't snap out of it in time, and this is my main "seed saving" plant.

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Here is a photo. This is the most they ever do. Then they dry up, and break off all together...

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 12:18PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Brandywine is notorious for that. It will eventually set fruit. Just when I think mine is defective, all of a sudden I notice a few tomatoes. Kind of like a watched pot nev.....

On a side note, I noticed that your zone is 9. From what I've read, Brandywines don't do as well in high heat and humidity...but you should still get a few. Be patient.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 12:52PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree with Ed that, assuming the plant has everything it needs in terms of pot size, potting mix, nutrients, water, root development, etc., it is just the variety. BW is a late season 90 day variety so it, like other late-season ones will sometimes skip over the first bloom cycle in favor of plant growth.

But stress it or having out of kilter growing conditions will only make the problem worse so keep in mind that container grown plants require totally different care than in-ground plants.

What and how often have you been feeding it? Be sure it is low N but has sufficient P and K and micros.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 1:49PM
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Oh, okay. Good to know! I had no idea and I was worried I had really screwed it up somehow.

And yeah, according to the zip code thing on this website I'm in 9, some other sources say I'm more like 8/8a. But the temperatures we get around here are definitely more characteristic of 9.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Sorry Dave, didn't see your post until after I submitted mine.

It's in a HUGE pot, not sure of the exact size, but a tree came in it. I was also going to ask, should I treat it as more of a partial sun plant because of the weather conditions here?

As for feeding, I've just been giving it a myco-bacterial inoculant. I use that during every New Moon phase, so once per month, and then I feed with fish emulsion every Full Moon phase. I did it a little more often for a while, with a weak mix, but now I do it once per month. It's a 5-1-1, so it sounds like I need a different fert? What would you recommend? Have I already done serious damage by feeding it a 5-1-1 or is there still hope?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 2:28PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

There is an old adage - "N for shoots, P & K for blooms and roots." It has more than a bit of truth in it.

Container plants are normally fed at least weekly. Nutrients wash out of the soil every time you water. The smaller the container the faster the nutrients leach out and the more frequently you need to feed. So while your approach may be fine for in ground plants, it isn't sufficient for container plants.

Further container mixes usually lack the beneficial soil micro-herd needed to convert organics to nutrients. But since you have been adding that organic liquid ferts should work for you although more slowly. But pick up one that is heavier on the P and K side than N or at least balanced, and use it much more often. See link below for ideas.


Here is a link that might be useful: Liquid organic fertilizers

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 5:10PM
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Good to know. I knew that care for container plants is different, but I didn't realize it was that different.

I looked at that link. I'm familiar with Alaska fertilizers (that's what my current 5-1-1 is), so I'm kind of leaning toward one of those products, either the "All Purpose Fish Fertilizer" (2-2-2) or "MorBloom" (0-10-10).

Which one of those would be more ideal? I still want SOME Nitrogen, right? Would it be a good idea to use MorBloom for the heavy P&K content and then use the stuff I have now as well for Nitrogen?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:33AM
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