Total wipeout this year!

aakalanOctober 8, 2012

I am so disappointed.

I planted seven plants in 5 gallon planters, fed and watered them religiously, and they thrived. In fact, they turned out to be the most lush and productive plants I've ever planted. Most are six-foot tall or taller at this writing (Oct 8). Not bad for container-grown tomato plants!

So what's the problem? Well, I planted early (for here) on May 14. I planted Beefmaster, Brandywine, Celebrity and Big Beef to see which ones would be best to plant in the future.

But they all failed in the same way. They set tons of gorgeous fruit. Beautiful, big, healthy fruit. But only 8 ripened. Some sat on the vine for months, literally, without getting even a slight blush of color. From approximately 100 fruit, only 8 ripened, and the plants are still full of mature, healthy fruit that will have to be pulled, green, in the next day or two before the freeze sets in and kills the plants.

Why didn't my tomatoes ripen???? Never had anything like this happen before. These were the best plants I've ever grown, but the total yield of ripe fruit: only 8!!

I would have done better at the grocery store.

Should I just give up trying? Is it climate (upstate New York, Binghamton area), did I do something wrong? Never seen healthy plants and fruit that just wouldn't ripen.

See photo - taken about six weeks ago... Any advice appreciated. I'm at the end of my rope here.

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

That is odd! I don't have any explaination. Do I see 2 plants in the pot on the left. 5 gallon is on the small side, but you still should have gotten tomatoes. I use 5 gallon buckets, 1 plant per bucket, and get plenty. Looks like you did everything right. Are those 5 gallon pots?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:20AM
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Put them in larger pots. This will give the roots more room to grow and will encourage the plants to set larger canopies. You could do a 5 gallon pot for the celebrity, but Big Beef will produce a fraction of its potential in a small container.

Change the fertilizer you are using. You have way too much nitrogen and not enough potassium or phosphorus. Also, get a micronutrient supply and use per directions.

Put the plants in full direct sunlight at least 8 hours per day. My best guess is that your plants were in a place with only 5 hours per day or maybe less of direct sun.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Those varieties are all indeterminate, and they are a waste of time in a container that small. It would work better in a 40-gallon container, but the problem is the cost of so much media to fill it.

You need a determinate tomato, which is a variety that does not keep growing and setting new fruit. That's what made your plants get root bound and quit on you.

My favorite red cherry determinate is Terrenzo. I have been researching other early red determinates lately, and I want to try Lyana, Mountain Princess, Northern Delight, Pipo, Siberian, and Wilford.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 4:50PM
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