tomatoes are too small

random.hamiltonJuly 27, 2008

I am currently growing the following types :

Parks Whoppers, Burpee Big Boys, Better Bush, Lemon, Beefmaster and Sweet 100. They were planted in clay soil mixed with Miracle grow soil mix. They were bought from two different stores and planted back around the 2nd week of May. They grew slowly then a growth spert and now they have all tomatoes but they are all half the size they should be and turning. They don't seem to be filling out either. I don't have very much money to buy fertiliers or "store" fixes. I do have a lot of time on my hands though. I also have green beans, sweet white corn and peppers growing in the same garden that could benefit from this advice. PLEASE HELP> THANKS>

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Probably too late for a cheap fix this year (that would involve watering with something like rapidgro) but digging in more organic material would add nutrients as well as retaining more moisture. I use 5-10-5 on veggies - a farm fertilizer which is the least expensive available and I get it in a 40 pound sack on sale in fall (has to be kept dry). Though I use a lot of compost, I also ring each tomato with a few tablespoons of fertilizer right after they are set out and do the same for squash. Row crops are side-dressed once the seedlings get their true leaves - a thin line of fertilizer laid down alongside the row. Beans don't need that.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 8:44PM
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banjo71, I planted "Better Bush" plants By "Bonnie". The plants have not grown as tall as usual, and the tomatoes are turning ripe while the are still very small! What can do to save them?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 4:01PM
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There are several things that I've seen cause smaller fruits. Of course one fertilizer has been mentioned. And here anyway manure is the cheapest way to go. About anyone with livestock will give you all you want.
Then stress can cause them to be smaller. We are in a drought with hot dry winds and high temps. Most tomatoes are running smaller than normal. Still better than none. In this case about the only thing I've found is if in containers move them where they have afternoon sun. Otherwise eat, enjoy and wait till next year for the big ones. JD

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 7:23PM
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I gardened at Ft. Bragg in 85-87. Love that red clay (NOT!!!), I remember tilling in about 4 inches of potting mix and using Miracle Grow. I also found a huge pile of old grass clippings out in the wood line and mulching with that.
That is about all I remember about garden prep for N.C.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 2:33PM
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I train my tomatoes to grow up a singe stalk by quickly pinching off any new branches. This can only be done to indeterminate varieties. This vectors the energy to the tomatos and not the plant. Towards the end of the season when the plants reach over 8 feet I can no longer reach them, so I end up with lots of smaller ones. I only use free animal manure or free compost.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 3:38PM
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You might try a Feed store if there are any nearby. Alfalfa in pellet form about ten bucks for 50 lbs.
Add some molasses and water to make a foliar tea. Use the leftovers as a soil additive. See if they have any spoiled or loose alfalfa hay from broken bales that might be had for free. Get your own compost pile started. Check out the local big box store like Home Depot or Lowes (if they are in your area). Lowes often has garden products discounted late Summer to early Fall. I got bags of Epsom Salts and bottles of fish fertilizer for around a buck each last year. Might not help this year but you can get a start on imroving next years garden. Check out this website for some
interesting uses of molasses. The author grows a different "product". But these guys are excellent and informed "gardeners". Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 12:44AM
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