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some tomato plants not setting fruit

Posted by Cocogirl123 Utah (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 25, 12 at 23:12


I'm hoping to get some help. I'm confused about what is going on with my tomato plants. I have the following:

Momotaro, Bush Early Girl, Pink Brandywine, Goliath, and Fourth of July.

They are all growing beautifully and appear quite healthy. They all also have had tons of flowers. However, they are not all setting fruit. My early girl has set around 7 tomatoes and one Fourth of July has set only one tomato, which happened only several days ago. None of the others have set fruit.

I am in Utah and our weather has not been optimal. It was quite hot for a while (90's during the day and low 70's at night), and then it got much colder (50's during the day and 30's at night) with it bouncing back quickly to 80's during the day and 60's at night for around a week or two. These temperature changes were in May. For the last couple of weeks we have been warm again, with daytime in the 90's and nighttime in the low 70's.

I know this is not ideal and so I shouldn't expect much. However, what I am wondering is why there is so much variability in the fruit set. Why am I getting so many Early Girls and none of anything else? They are all dealing with the same temperature, water, soil, etc. I've had fruit on that for around two weeks, and nothing on anything else. So, should I be doing something different? What are your thoughts?

Thank you so much for your help in advance!!!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: some tomato plants not setting fruit

Tomatoes are very temperature dependent for setting fruit. It may be too hot or too cold, or maybe there aren't bees to pollinate. But I've heard of the temperature problem. I wonder if you could try taking a q-tip or small brush and doing some pollinating, just in case. I also read that watering too much can prevent them from producing fruit.

RE: some tomato plants not setting fruit

First off you don't need bees at all,period.
Try shaking the stems of your plants to help release pollen,or brush your hands across the flowers >
Humidity can be a factor also,as it clumps the pollen up.
Not all tomato plants are created equall,do not grow exactly the same.

RE: some tomato plants not setting fruit

Consider the DTM of each variety (Days To Maturity -- not from the time seeds are sown, but from the time you plant out):

Fourth of July -- 49 DTM
Bush Early Girl -- 65 DTM
Goliath -- 65-85 DTM (no consistency)
Momotaro -- 74 DTM
Pink Brandywine -- If this is Brandywine Sudduth, 85 DTM

Of course, those DTM numbers aren't written in stone -- just general guidelines (sometimes indicative of the seed- or plant-seller's ability to lie positive thinking).

So you see, your early varieties are the ones which have set fruit. You may think the plant is old enough to set fruit, but it may have a later DTM and not be ready yet. And of course, the weather was way weird.

This timeline shows about 50 days from when the blossom opens to a fruit's peak ripeness. So for the plants which haven't set fruit yet, count the days since you planted them, then add 50: how does that compare to the plant's DTM?

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