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tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Posted by TairaKL z7 (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 28, 11 at 15:41

This is my first year gardening. I did lots of research and started my 6 different varieties of hybrid and heirloom tomatoes from seed within a few of days of March 1st (think it was feb 25th or thereabouts) as recommended by several sources. Plant out date was supposed to be April 15th-May 1. They were growing well and I potted them up some time in late March. They stopped growing for about a month. Don't know what I did, but it was something. Anyway, they eventually recovered and I planted them out in late May (forget the exact date...might have been May 29 or so). They took off and began growing quite well. Blooms were developing, had no fruit set yet, but things were going that direction. Then the storm hit Norman. Hail stripped them. They were stubs sticking out of the ground with a few smashed leaves here and there. I followed Dawn's advice, trimmed them, gave them a nice organic fert and they made a complete recovery. They are fantastic looking (albeit small-2 feet) plants and have blooms all over them. But of course it is 100 degrees or over just about every day now. So, to summarize, I have been growing a bunch of tomatoes for four months and have not one single set fruit to show for it. Now, I didn't want to do this, but I can't help it, this is driving me absolutely insane. Here are pictures of the blooms I have that have died back but not dropped. They have been like this for a week.








Is there any way to tell if blooms have set fruit? There has been absolutely no change in a week (could be a bit longer than a week). Sorry to bother, but I'm really starting to lose my mind now. If the darn things would just fall off I would understand and be fine, but it's agonizing just seeing them, still there, every day. How do you know if you have fruit set???

Taira


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: tomato blossoms...picture problem

I did something wrong with pics. Direct links?

http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/979/mg5964.jpg
http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/2915/mg5966.jpg
http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/1674/mg5967.jpg
http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/7492/mg5968o.jpg


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

I'm not sure how many days it takes from pollination until you see the little pea-sized tomato, but it is not many. I have had no fruit set on my slicer-sized tomatoes in quite some time.


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Taira,

I would think that once pollination and fertilization has occurred, you should see the teeney tiny tomatoes within about 3 to 5 days. However, I wouldn't remove those flowers myself because maybe you've gotten lucky and they pollinated/fertilized on a slightly cooler day last week and you just can't see the fruit yet.

If you can keep the plants healthy and happy, they have the potential to set fruit on any day or night the temperatures drop into the proper range. There's not much else you can do except thump the flowers every day (preferably very early in the day....like around sunrise) and hope some of that pollens moves around inside the flower and achieves fertilization.

I'll go find and link the tomato truss timeline. Looking at it will give you an idea of what you should see and when you should see it.

All you can do in the future is try to get the plants into the ground earlier and hope for cooperative weather.

My plants are like Scott's in that the heat has shut down fruitset on all the plants that produce large (as in larger than bite-sized) tomatoes. I'm still harvesting fruit that set earlier, and still getting fruit set from paste types and cherry/grape/currant types, but the plants that produce larger fruit are just sitting there looking pathetically bare. Every year here we are in a race to get our plants into the ground early (yet without having them freeze) so they can set fruit before the heat arrives. Getting yours in late really hurt you this year. Hopefully next year will be better.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Truss Timeline


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Don't give up! I felt sure I was wasting my time and my water when I noticed a LOT of little marble sized tomatoes on my plants just this morning. So, don't give up! All it takes is a cool day here or there to get fruit set.

Good luck!

E


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

I have had some fruit set, but I have very few fruits so I hope the weather is a little kinder in July. Today has been OK and was quite nice this morning and I spent most of it in the boat....not boating...just cleaning. I did pick a Cluster Goliath tomato this morning tho.

I have just been dreaming about most of the things that you guys have had. I only planted one kind of squash and it is just starting to bloom. The first armenian cukes are about 6 inches long, and the regular cukes are wilting and dying by the day. Some crops look good, but everything is very late for me this year.

I didn't get any rain this morning, but the cooling effect was nice.


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Seen the truss timeline, and yeah I already thump/shake etc. every day. That's what I was wondering Dawn, if maybe the cooler temperatures last week didn't give me just a little something, but alas, probably not. We shall see what happens. In any case, the plants are rather healthy and I have no bug issues so far. I think I can keep these going for fall. Wish I hadn't screwed up back in March. It's frustrating, but I have learned a lot. Do you guys know about what date things begin to cool off enough for fruit set again? Not a precise date, but on average when do your tomatoes begin setting fruit in fall? Is it about September 1st?

Thanks you guys,
Taira


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Taira,

Sometimes it is in late August and sometimes it is sometime in September. Our weather fluctuates so wildly that you really don't know when to expect it. Plus, all it takes is daytime highs dropping into the low 90s on just a day or so or the nighttime lows dropping into the low 70s for a night or so. You'd be surprised how often that happens some summers. Now, if I was betting money, I wouldn't necessarily bet we'll have many cool days this summer, but just one little thunderstorm can give you fruitset by giving you cooler air. For example, if you were in McCurtain County right now, and your garden was not destroyed by the storm that just went through there, your temperature would be in 70s right now and, if I were you in those circumstances, I'd be outside thumping flowers tonight and in the morning. Don't give up.

I had just about given up on my beans about 10 days ago, and then a cool day and night last week gave us another round of beans setting on the plant. So, with these particular beans, if the tiny pods enlarge and give us beans, we'll get to harvest another round of beans in about a week or so. We've had great bean production despite the heat but I thought they likely were 'done' and am delighted to see that they aren't quite through producing yet.

Also, some years I have had incredibly high fruit set on large-fruited varieties in August when are highs were between about 107 or 108 and 111 or 112. Why and how? Apparently because the humidity dropped so low that the pollen wasn't sticky and the wind moved the plants around enough for pollination to occur. I certainly wasn't out shaking plants or thumping blossoms because our nights were staying in the mid-80s and I was staying indoors except when we were paged out to fires. Very low humidity plus high heat can give you fruitset on some varieties although high humidity plus high heat doesn't

Gardening is always a learning experience and this is an exceptionally hard year to get a good tomato crop. Plenty of people who did everything "right" are not getting a good crop through no fault of their own. It just got too hot too early and there is nothing a gardener can do in cases like that.

Dawn


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Taira,
I looked at each of your pictures. I would say they each have a chance. The first indicator I look at is the knuckle behind the bloom. You can see it very well on 3 blooms in the last photo. The top knuckle in the last photo looks good. The first things you will see if it didn't pollinate is a faint yellow ring that forms in the center of the knuckle and goes around the stem. This is where it will break away from when it falls. Also you may notice a slight decrease in stem size on the bloom side on those that don't pollinate. The top stem looks fine at this point. I'm not sure how long these blooms have been open as I can't see the front of them unless they are in one of the other photos. There is no ryhme or reason to blooms. The timeline Dawn posted gives a good rule of thumb to go by. But some blooms don't abide by a time line. I have blooms on my Heinz 2653 that have been open 3 weeks. Still look bright and haven't died or fell off. Only one has set fruit that I've noticed. May be a few more I haven't noticed. It is a determinate variety and is loaded with blooms. It had a few blooms that hadn't opened when I transplanted. Withing 2 weeks it was covered but the whole plant set there for some time. The color got lighter for a while. Now it looks real healthy and it is growing again. So hopefully it will set well. If 50% of the blooms would set it will be loaded with fruit. I really like the Heinz varieties. They seem to have good disease resistance(now I've doomed them), take the heat and set well here in my climate. I shared Heinz 1439 with Dawn last year. I lost my 1439 and 1350 plants due to the hail. Back to the subject. I would have hope for each bloom from what I see in the pictures. If I could see them in person I could tell you more. I'm continuing to have a few greenies show up. Not is large numbers but more than I expected considering the lateness of the plants and the early and constant heat and wind. I continue to have some wind damage show up to leaves and a few blooms. Jay


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Excellent information Dawn and elkwc. I'm not going to give up, and I don't feel quite so discouraged. I also won't be unrealistic about my chances. It has been a rough spring and summer (so far) and will more than likely continue. However, bet you a million dollars if a nighttime low gets close to 70 I'll be out at 4am shaking the heck out of those things! Haha!

Thank you so much guys. ;)

Taira


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Sorry to hear that, Taira. However, thanks for bringing it up because the time line info is so helpful! I've been wondering why my fruits set last weekend in May haven't ripened yet, they are cherry and roma types, and am a new gardener too, so thought I was doing something wrong. But evidently it just takes FOREVER for them to ripen. Hope you get some fruitset soon... then comes the agony of waiting for a ripe tomato!


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

It's always something, isn't it? Gardening is for people who like abuse. Count me in. LOL!


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Mia, You know the old saying that 'a watched pot never boils'? Well, it is true of tomato plants too. If you're staring at those greenies and willing them to hurry up and ripen, they'll just sit there and ignore you forever in their green glory. Ignore them, go on vacation, have a family emergency that takes you away from home for a few days, etc., and they'll all ripen while you're too busy to obsesss over them. Once they start ripening, often they all seem to start turning red at once.

To get a ripe tomato more quickly, pick them as soon as they reach the breaker stage. Bring them inside. Place them in a cool, dry NON-refrigerated location. (Never put a tomato in the refrigerator.) I just put mine on the kitchen counter, but not near the window. They'll color up in no time, and they'll color up much more quickly inside than they do outside on the plant.

Since some of you may be growing tomatoes for the first time and may not be familiar with the breaker stage, I'll link a chart that shows the various stages. I try to pick at the breaker or turning stage.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Tomato Ripeness Color Chart


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Well Jay, I will be out there in the morning looking at elbows. LOL That was a good lesson for me and I've picked a lot of tomatoes. I guess I'm just not observant enough.

I have had a few currants, two Santorini, and a Cluster Goliath, all small tomatoes. I've had several peppers and should have my first Armenian cucumber in the next couple of days. The first long beans are just starting to produce.


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Carol, I'm like you. I don't pay attention to all the finer details. I just go out there and yank the tomatoes when they break color. Clearly Jay is more of a finesse-type grower than we are.

I'm glad you're getting some production. You had so much rain for so long that I was afraid your plants would drown before they could do anything. As much as I hate the extreme dryness, extreme moisture levels hurt plants just as much.

Dawn


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Update:

Same blossoms. (One is seen above a couple of weeks ago. The others I didn't post pics of here). So, two weeks later, they are still there, and this morning I saw this:

http://img851.imageshack.us/img851/6960/mg6015.jpg
http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/5061/mg6017r.jpg
http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/7544/mg6018.jpg

Sorry, i still don't understand the picture posting thing. Oi! Anyway, are these tomatoes? The top one's flower dried and dropped off when I picked the plant up to repot (these are the younger toms i got to replace hail destroyed ones). You can actually see the dried up flower in the pic on that branch. It is a Bush Goliath variety as well as the third pick. The second pick is a white tomesol heirloom and that blossom has been there three weeks to a month. No joke. Time to celebrate first tomato fruit set or not so much?

Taira


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Taira;
I lost all twelve of my tomato plants I started. Congratulations, girl! lol


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RE: tomato blossoms...pics...sigh

Sorry ChickenCoupe :( This year has been crazy.

By congratulating me, does that mean those things are tomatoes? They have been there a very long time with little to no growth. I'm not celebrating yet. They don't look like the tomatoes from the truss timeline pics. Except maybe that last one. Heck, I don't know at this point. I'm throwing my hands in the air.

Taira


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