Why are my tomatoes so pitiful?

BasicPokeSeptember 18, 2013

Why are my tomatoes so pitiful? They almost always have some kind of problem--spots, discolorations, "burn" spots, etc. When they get close to ripe, they split. I water consistently with a soaker hose. I am in NE OK. It has been low to mid 90's for highs lately. See pic of the latest sorry bunch.

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The splitting can happen from overwatering, or sometimes they're just varieties that are prone to it. Pick them once they break color and let them ripen inside.

How often are you watering with the soaker? Tomatoes really don't like to be overwatered.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 11:02PM
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I think if I were you I would first do a soil test. You need to find out what your PH is as well what you are lacking in your soil to grow tomatoes. Oklahoma has a state extension service and I am sure your local extension agent could help you figure out what you are lacking or doing wrong. They are there to help you!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 11:19AM
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When it's been hot & sunny, I have been watering every day. How do I tell if they need water? I have read elsewhere that tomatoes need lots of water. I don't water when the ground is soaked, I know better than that. These are Better Boy.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:43PM
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I do not have enough info to give you an answer, or even to know if I have more tomato knowledge than you do.

1) How long have you been growing toms?
2) Why do you water every day? Are the plants in pots?
3) What are these tomatoes?

I water my in-ground tomatoes every three days or so.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 4:47PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

For every beautiful tomato, I have lots of ugly ones with worm holes or some stink bug spots. Lately I have lots of sun scald. Fruits and vegetables in the store are probably either tough as plastic varieties or they have culled them and used the less than perfect ones for something else. This time of year in NE OK after a long hot summer tomatoes are going to be declining.

Pick them when they start to turn pink and ripen in the house out of the light and not in the refrigerator.

Here is a link that might be useful: read the long post by okiedawn

This post was edited by helenh on Sun, Oct 27, 13 at 17:01

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 5:18PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

Varietal difference is huge. Try different ones to see which varieties do well with your conditions. Juliet and Sungold are the winners in my garden.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:30AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

In my garden Pale Perfect Purple is still making tomatoes but they are smaller than they were. Black and Brown Boar is a small dark tomato that is still producing. They have been in the garden since late April under walls of water. Wes has been good this summer but is winding down. The Cherokee Purples and Indian Stripes quit some time ago. Some of the tomatoes I planted late are getting some big tomatoes but I have a bunny or two living in my garden and the weather in summer here is pretty tough. If you are in NE OK you probably got the August rains after no rain to speak of in June and July. That makes for splitting. Improving your soil helps and the varieties you choose make a big difference. My soil is not the same all over the garden. I have worked and worked on bringing in organic matter mushroom compost from Miami OK and bagged leaves. The places where I have dug out the rocks and mixed organic material into the soil produce better tomatoes. Check out the OK forum for tomatoes successful there. They have lots of tomato growers on that forum.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Grocery store tomatoes are picked green, treated to ripen and shipped across country. That's why they look perfect but have no flavor.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 5:11PM
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Thanks everyone for the answers. I have another tomato plant that is doing great, although temps are nearly too cold now. My daughter brought this home from school as a very small plant & I don't know the variety. They are a little smaller than a golf ball & every one looks great. We have probably gotten 30 or more from it and it's still producing. I am going to try to harvest some seeds.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 12:06AM
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Some interesting answers here....some with "partial" truths. Without knowing particulars...it is tough to answer truthfully. Varieties, standing/perched water, weather, and diseases can all play a role. Try to avoid those conditions and you might have 'er licked.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 10:26AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Poke send a note to the teacher by way of your daughter and tell the teacher how much you liked the tomato. Teachers like to hear that their efforts are appreciated. Ask also for the name of the variety. There is a good chance it was hybrid seed.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 12:42PM
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That is a great idea helenh. I will do that.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 12:45PM
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Last year was dry in Tennessee but I had a good crop of tomatoes. This year was very wet and I had an even better crop of tomatoes. (Celebrity) 20 plants. I put 1/2 bag of humas & manure compost from Wal Mart under each plant. I added about 8 ounces of triple fertilizer also. I use the tiller to mix it in. I also dug a post hole under each plant about 12 deep and part of the mixture was put in this hole. After the plant was set out I use about 3 table spoons of epson salt arount the plant. I had already limed the garden 2 or 3 time in fall and spring and I put lime under each plant before using the tiller. I had enough tomatoes this year for 4 familly. A lot of canning was done. I spray for diease and latter I have to spray because of stink bugs.
I use concret wire for my tomato cages, about 24 inches i diamenter and maybe 30 inches high. I drive a stake at each cage to keep the wind from blowing the plants over and also to hang a 1 gallon water jug with a pin hole in the bottom to water with. I only filled the jugs 2 times this year because of all the rain we had. My ground has good drainage. Actually it drys up very fast.
BasicPoke if you do what I've written I belive you will have plenty of tomatoes. Plant the tomatoes 4 1/2 feet apart and the rows 5 feet apart. Not very good picture.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 2:11AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Stink bugs are my greatest enemy. What do you use on your stink bugs?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 5:00PM
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helenh - Nothing special - It comes from a Farmers Co-op
The poisons they sale now are very weak. BONIDE - Vegetable, Fruit & Flower. I only spry when stink bugs become a problem. The poison was weak but it did fair.
I used a different spry for my peach tree and it only made the worms fatter. Total loss. BONIDE Fruit Tree Spray and I followed directions.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 11:59PM
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Corgikarma - I once meet a man at Wal Mart that worked for the people who solded the store tomatoes that looked perfect. He told me the same as what you have written.
You said = Grocery store tomatoes are picked green, treated to ripen and shipped across country. That's why they look perfect but have no flavor.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 12:07AM
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