Need some info

new_b_gardener(8a)June 20, 2012

Hello everyone,

Hope everyone is blessed. I am curious as to the growth of Park's Whoppers. This is my first time growing them (actually first time growing any kind of plant.) and I'm wanting to know how big do they get and how long does it normally take to get to full size? The reason I am asking is that I have read they get fairly large, but the tomatoes I have are basically the size slightly larger than a golf ball. They have been this size for about 3 weeks now and some of the other tomatoes on the plant a catching up with the first ones. Is it possible I am doing something wrong? Please I would be most grateful for any information. Oh! i for got to add I have had a problem with leaf miners. I am not sure if this could cause a stunt in the tomatoes growth. I have attempted to remedy this problem with tobacco tea as I have read this will get rid of this pest.

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

You should see ripe fruit about 65 days from planting them out. [That's the amount of time I have written in my list, and those numbers are often the over-optimistic claims of seed- and plant-sellers, so a week after that would not be unexpected.]

I grew PW last year, and none were the 14 oz. I've read they're supposed to be -- but they were certainly larger than golf balls.

It's not unusual to feel the tomatoes have stalled and will never ripen. So at this point I'd just say to be patient, if the plant as a whole is looking healthy and happy.

I've never tried tobacco tea with leaf miners. The standard instructions are to squish them in the leaf or remove the infected leaves. If too many of your leaves are infected, I'd remove the leaflets which are mostly non-functioning, and squish the miners in the leaves where there is less damage. [All the leaves you remove should go out in your garbage, never composted or the miners will return in a few weeks.]

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Well the only problem I am seeing at this point is the leaf miners. A lot of the leaves have the usual squiggly lines running through them. My main concern is if I remove the infected leaves this might kill off my plants. I read where tobacco tea was a good way to rid yourself of leaf miners so this was my attempt. As for the size, how big should the tomatoes be in about a month time of growing? I provided a pic for anyone to see.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 2:04PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Here's a photographic timeline of tomato fruit growth:

Note that the blossom opens on day 7 and the fruit is fully ripe on day 63.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 2:25PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Your fruit looks perfectly normal.

Tomato plants can tolerate a great deal of leaf miner damage with no problems whatsoever and in many cases the so-called remedies or fix, which don't work anyway because the larvae are already in between the layers of leaf tissue so aren't touched by the spray, do more harm to the plants than the miners do.

If you have some severely damaged leaves where most of the leaf tissue has been destroyed, remove them. But leaves like the ones in your picture are no problem.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Missing maybe I am not understanding completely, but from what the timeline stated the tomatoes reach full size in 18 days. If I am correct in my assumption should these tomatoes be a lot bigger than what they are right now? They are over the 18 full size mark. I was assuming since they are suppose to be PW they would have been much bigger than this. I am new to growing plants so I could very well be wrong in my assumption of things.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 2:47PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Misunderstanding. Note clear on down to Day 49 - "Continued Fruit Development" and note size increases.

Tomatoes continue to slowly grow in size until just before color break at which time it is sealed off by a membrane that forms at the base of the stem where it connects to the fruit.

In addition to that info not all fruit on a plant, regardless of the variety, will be the same size. With Park's Whopper you may get 1 or 2 fruit that get close to the 14-16 oz. range but like missing said, most will fall in the 8-10 oz. range IME with them over several years.

And, of course, size is one of the many factors affected greatly by the growing conditions provided. Your's look like they are growing in a 5 gallon bucket perhaps? If so they won't get as big as they would grown in a much larger container or in the ground.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:13PM
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Yes your correct. They are being grown in a 5 gallon container. The soil around my house isn't so good so I thought it would be best to grow in the container instead. I am using miracle grow fertilized soil. I was wondering if the sucker leaves I keep picking off could be a problem for the growth.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:36PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Well the small container size and the pruning - removing what you are calling 'suckers' - are whole other issues for other discussions. And there are many of them here. But yes both will contribute to your original question about fruit size. Stressed plants produce smaller fruit.

The container is far too small for an indeterminate variety, especially one that gets as big as Whopper does. And removing what are actually fruit-producing lateral branches will not only reduce the amount of fruit produced by the plant but make it substantially taller.

Then there is the issue of feeding. The nutrients in your potting mix are very limited and quickly lost. Container plants require regular feedings. The smaller the container the more often it has to be watered, the more it is watered the faster the nutrients wash out of the continer and more feeding it requires.

So with all those issues don't expect normal size or normal levels of production. This is not to say the fruit you do get will all be small or won't be fine just that the growing conditions are far from ideal so the plant will be limited in its performance by those conditions.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:54PM
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Thanks Dave, I have read where they say to remove sucker leaves. I did not know those would be fruit bearing branches. I will stop removing them. As for feeding the plants what would you recommend with fertilizing them? How often would you suggest?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 6:01PM
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