Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes Yellowing

Krys16350July 19, 2014

I'm growing two sweet 100 cherry tomato plants in 17 gallon containers. They were growing like crazy up until they started to grow tomatoes on the vines. Then the height of the plant pretty much stopped growing, which isn't too worrisome since its probably nearing 4-5 feet tall. This is my first year ever growing tomatoes and i'm really unsure of what is causing this to happen. I have 4 regular tomato plants growing also, which were starting to yellow but now are completely fine and growing many big tomatoes.

It started happening after we got rain for many days and I didn't water them due to that. So I thought maybe they were under watered, so I watered them more.. but now I see yellowing can be caused by over watering too. I've made sure to only water them when many inches of the soil are dry and I've started watering them with fertilizer diluted in because I thought they may have been under fed because I hadn't done that. So, after making those alterations, it's been over a week and I don't see them getting any better, possibly more yellow. One of them has got to have over 100 tomatoes growing on vines, but they are rather small.

We did have really bad squirrel issues with all of our plants, I tried sticking wooden skewers along the outer edge of the plants, which worked to an extent. I also had to put rocks on the soil so that the squirrels couldn't pick them up and dig into the roots. I have no idea if this would add to any problem, I didn't think so but now I just can't figure it out.

Any ideas from you avid gardeners would be greatly appreciated! The picture posted is what the bigger plant looks like, the smaller one has much more yellowing to it. Here are some links to some other pictures of it...




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IF they were mine, I would feed them more, at least once a week. Looks like they lack nitrogen. But I am no expert, there can be so many causes. I use MG 18-18-21 weekly and also a slow release mix on top of the soil.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 10:15PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

There is a lot of burden/load on the root system to feed all that foliage, support fruits growth. For that, it needs ongoing feeding. It would have been the case if it were planted in a much larger container. It is a simple math : The plant has to feed every single leaf it has. And the source of wood is what you (as a gardener) provide.. When it cannot do that, it will prioritize and cut back on feeding the less important leave branches.

So you are gonna here a lot of comments that the pot is too small. Which is true but the size of pot does not feed the plant, the nutrients do.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 2:00AM
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One sweet 100 cherry plant for a 17 gallon container is too small? What size container would you recommend for next year? I avoided planted them directly in the ground because I wanted to somehow be able to protect them from the squirrels and other pests we have here. They are relentless.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 2:10PM
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My first impression is wondering if the drain holes got partly plugged, so the time it was raining the plant was over watered ? Then you watered more..but I'm not clear if you checked the moisture carefully before you did that. Easy enough to make that mistake..I still do it occasionally and I certainly know better. I killed a perfectly innocent viola last week doing just that.
As long as the roots have not rotted, the larger plant will use the moisture you provide, but the danger of over watering is always there in a situation like that.

I'm also wondering if maybe the soil mix is a little heavy and thus not draining well ?

Yes on the feeding, but lack of oxygen in the root zone over rides all. If it's the soil mix, it is what it is. Better mix next year. If the pot's not draining well, you could carefully check underneath and maybe slide several flat rock type things under the edges to let it drain better. Tricky..yes.

As far as the size of the pot, I only have tomatoes in pots due to my shade and tree roots. I don't expect them to be as grand as those plants that are free range, but they do perfectly fine and the tomatoes taste great. :)

This post was edited by plaidbird on Sun, Jul 20, 14 at 15:41

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 3:36PM
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I used ProMix soil, which does say it is moisture holding soil. I'm not sure if that was the best idea, as im totally new to this. I did lift the containers up off of the ground to allow better drainage. That was the only difference I really seen from my regular tomatoes vs the cherries. I had the regular tomatoes lifted. I did add some more drain holes.

And I most likely did over water. I didn't water the tomatoes for the whole week that it was raining, and then they started to turn yellow. My initial reaction was-- holy crap, maybe enough water wasn't making it into the soil because its so big? And i watered it a whole bunch. Beginners mistake I suppose, but I just really hope I didn't kill them. The big one has, what has to be, hundreds of cherry tomatoes growing still. Even despite the yellowing.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 3:46PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

One sweet 100 cherry plant for a 17 gallon container is too small?

A 17 gallon container is more than enough for a single tomato plant.
As I mentioned in my earlier comment, pot size does not feed the plant, nutrients do.What we see here is a case of Nitrogen deficiency, IMO>

In container gardening/growing watering the plant and fertilizing is a challenge. Over watering is more common. When you over water, the nutrients, ESPECIALLY nitrogen is washed down and out by frequent watering. That is why you have to add some fertilizer to the watering can almost every other time you water. I use it @ 1/4 to 1/3 normal strength, every other time. And try not to pour a lot of water in that container.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 3:57PM
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Ah ha ! So we understand each other and agree on the one getting over watered. I don't think it's in danger of death, but it's going to be ugly in the middle there and depending on how the root health is, probably a little more finicky to water. I would make myself a nice stepping stone spot right next to it, so as I water and I'm already tired, it's easy to step close and poke my finger in the soil to double check moisture.

I make up my own soil mixes so not an expert on the one you bought. I know folks do use those types and are happy. I did pick up two bags of pre-mixed moisture control potting mix only because they were on sale, had a coupon, cost ended at $5, and I had a $5 rebate for each one. So free ! Used on as part of mixes for fuchsias and the other bag still sits. I don't trust our Oregon rain with such a mix. But that's me. I know I might over water so try to head things off ahead of time.

Given how thirsty grown tomatoes are in pots, it doesn't seem like a particularity bad mix. It may be that the drain holes in that pot, and between the moisture control mix, plus the drain hole issue, plus the on the ground all added up to what happened. One or two of those things might have been fine, but three was too much when the rain and you with the hose all ganged up on the plant

For a brand new gardener things look good. :) Lots of little tomatoes there too. Have you checked the FAQs for this group yet. Good basic fertilizer answers there.

But you know, if this is the worst thing you do as a new gardener, your golden. LOL

This post was edited by plaidbird on Sun, Jul 20, 14 at 16:15

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 4:13PM
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Thanks for the input you guys =]. I gave the dry larger plant some liquid fertilizer so hopefully that helps. I was advised to drill a hole into the container halfway up to see if it was really wet or just moist. The larger one was actually pretty dry, the small one still rather moist. I'm assuming the larger one just consumes more water because its got a substantial amount more foliage and tomatoes. As well as the increased drainage holes and lifting it off the ground.

Now my only issue is understanding how much water to give them. I have a gallon watering jug, I gave the big one about half a gallon. I didn't want to over water it again. But I just feel like that couldn't be enough? I'm also watering at the base of the main stem, thats where I read is the best spot to do so? Should I also be wetting the surface of all the rest of the soil too or no? Upon watering, I didn't feel any increase in moisture at the midsection hole. But.. I also figure this must be due to the fact I'm watering in the center...

Anyone have an idea on a per gallon basis, how much i should be giving this large plant in a 17 gallon container?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:33PM
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Oh and this is a rather large tomato plant, its 4.5 feet tall and 5.5 feet wide all around.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:42PM
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