Return to the Growing Tomatoes Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
cherry tomato yields

Posted by Yaeli Israel (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 17, 12 at 12:45

Hi guys,

I'm hoping you tomato growing experts might be able to help me out (I've so enjoyed reading through the forum!). I wondering if anyone might know what kind of yields I can expect from 7 cherry tomato plants planted in really (really) cruddy soil.

I live in a coastal/desert area and so 6 inches down you have essentially sand and the top 4-5 inches is nutrient-less light brown stuff that bakes as hard as cement if not watered. I've started a compost pile but it won't be ready until next spring for putting on the garden. I've got 7 cherry tomato plants in that I started from seed in late June and am hoping will flower and set fruit in October when temperatures drop to non-scorching levels. The plants get 8 hours of sun a day and are watered early mornings and late evenings daily. I read tomatoes like milk and so have been adding in some of that whenever we get tail ends of cartons that have gone off with their water.

I'm hoping they'll produce enough to feed 12 tomato-greedy people (tomato and cucumber salads are a standard breakfast here) but I'm afraid that under these conditions ...any ideas what I might expect?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

If the soil isn't that great maybe you could add some fertilizer so the plants get some nutrition. If you started them from seed and they're still growing, you're doing something right. The sun and heat don't concern me as much as your soil conditions. Water is crucial. Yields? It would be a total guess IMO, so I won't even try.


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Well, I would just change the soil, lol, and you will have TONS of tomatoes. Cripes I get tons with 2 plants. Starting a compost pile is great but a couple bags of compost and something to keep the soil loose would not cost very much around here, although I am not familiar with your area. Also, a good size planter pot with good bagged potting mix would be better than nothing. I would probably try both, put a couple in large pots with a potting mix with moisture control additives well moistened and mixed before planting, and the rest in the ground with some bagged compost amendments, and see which does better. The insurance with a large pot is that it can be moved (dragged if necessary, lol) to a different location if needed. If you have a spot with afternoon shade when it is hottest, you could put pots there.

I think if you plant these tomatoes into poor soil that bakes into cement you are going to be disappointed. I use 12-15 gallon pots with miracle grow moisture control bagged soil and the full size Jet Star in it is growing well and very productive, but it rarely gets to 100 degrees where I am. Do you have access to purchased soil amendments and bags of good potting mix where you are?


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Hi, I agree. You might be better off with very large containers. I grow cherries in containers and I get tons of tomatoes. Your soil is critical. Tomatoes need calcium, usually in the form of dolomite lime, or in a fertilizer with a low nitrogen ratio. Not sure milk is a good thing because you have to be careful about bacteria. And they need water. Not sure if eight hours of baking sun is great. Toms might not set fruit or ripen if too hot. Some shade might be helpful.
Sharon


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Hi, I agree. You might be better off with very large containers. I grow cherries in containers and I get tons of tomatoes. Your soil is critical. Tomatoes need calcium, usually in the form of dolomite lime, or in a fertilizer with a low nitrogen ratio. Not sure milk is a good thing because you have to be careful about bacteria. And they need water. Not sure if eight hours of baking sun is great. Toms might not set fruit or ripen if too hot. Some shade might be helpful.
Sharon


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Many thanks for the feedback so far! I'm unfortunately gardening under dire poverty situations and just saving the money to get the tomato, cucumber, squash, and bell and hot pepper seeds, a watering can and a little trowel meant what amounted to about a week of fasting spread over two months. I was hoping the little garden would not just return the investment and help out my situation (I work full time and am on a one meal a day plan) but critically also the kids upstairs as their father has lost his job and their situation is much worse.

I planted everything in depressions so when I water the water really sinks in (and so the dirt doesn't turn to concrete around the plants when it gets mid-day). I was thinking about asking a nearby coffee shop if they would donate some of their used coffee grounds, instead off just throwing them away, so I could put that around the plants but I'm not sure if that would help? Argh.


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Coffee grounds would definitely help, with the soil that you have - the more the better. I'm not sure about that milk you are using though. You could post @ Compost, Soil & Mulch forum (also known as "the wacko forum"). They have fantastic knowledge, experience and loads of good advice on how to improve soils like yours ;).

Cheers,
Djole


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Thanks Djole, I'm going searching for the wacko forum!


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Yaeli, Another thing I might suggest, Try to get your hands on some open pollintaed seeds. Thay way, you can save them and plant again next year instead of buying year to year. I don't have any open pollinated cherry tomatoes, but I have lots of open pollinated tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and colors if your interested. I would be very happy to mail you an envelope with some seeds.

I also second the soil amendment thing. Used coffee Grounds would be very beneficial especially if you could get a couple bulk loads of them from the coffee shop. Once you lay down the cofee grounds, don't be afraid to use plastic for mulch also. It's much cheaper than other mulch until your compost is ready to go.

CH


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Ditto to everything here, and I'd like to add -- if you can get your hands on some newspaper and/or cardboard, shred it up and moisten it, it would make a half-way decent mulch, too. Mulch will help with the evaporation, keeping the soil around your plants a little cooler, and also weed control. It's not the ideal mulch - it can blow away sometimes, but it's still better than not having mulch at all.

Best of luck to you.

Edie


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Fortunately, the compost should break down faster in that kind of heat. If you have any leeway at all in the location you plant them, go for morning sun and afternoon shade instead of the other way around if possible. The other forum should be able to tell you what other amendments you might be able to get for free. I might refrain from referring to them as "wackos" before asking them for help, esp. in writing and on a forum some of them probably frequent. Might turn out that wackos grow tomatoes too. :)


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

No offence meant by "wackos" (hopefully non taken), i am well aware of the presence, being present myself for a awhile on several other forums as well :)

Yaeli, the name of the forum is Soil, Compost & Mulch, accidentally switched places in the previous post.
Also, you might want to consider trench composting technique. It's simple and easy. Basically you just bury the kitchen veggie/fruit scraps - peels and skins, used tea bags etc. and let them decompose in the ground. Just be careful not to hurt the roots of tomatoes when digging.

Cheers,
Djole

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil, Compost Und Mulch discussion :)


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Yaeli,

Although I'm sure there are lots of differences between your climate and mine, I have experience growing on nutrient poor sandy soil. It is so sandy where I live, that grass wasn't even growing when I first moved here, and this is in a temperate climate.

I started out improving the soil using permaculture methods by planting legumes, clover in my case to add nitrogen to the soil. Then put grass down and started collecting it and leaves for compost. I've used every bit of organic matter I could collect to create compost and minimizing purchases and inputs from off my property. I've then used the compost to improve the fertility and water retention of my garden beds to the point they are now very fertile. I also mulch all my gardens to retain moisture.

One thing I will say, tomatoes will grow incredible yields in sandy soil given amendments, mulch and enough water. I find that once the plants mature, they get very deep roots in sand, 5-6 feet deep from some I've pulled. This reduces need to water drastically. Where I am, we had a drought this year with very high temperatures for us of 30+C (90+F) and have had to rarely water during the drought due to these deep roots. Sandy soil starts off as a curse, but once you get it in shape, it's drainage can make for soil that will grow almost anything. Read about permaculture. It is the method that works the best to turn desert into arable land.


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

By the way, coffee grounds would be a good start. Sand doesn't have a lot of nitrogen in it, but coffee grounds do. If you can afford it, plants some beans suitable for your area to give you a quick harvest, and improve your soil. You can even plant the legumes around your tomato plants to supply nitrogen to them and shade the soil. Once harvested, they can be used as mulch or compost. Save seed for the next planting.


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Wow so many wonderful suggestions!! I love you guys!!

Coconut Head -- many thanks for the offer of sending seeds (!!) but I think it might be expensive since it would be an international rate and they might be confiscated by customs. I do have some little volunteer tomato plants from the compost pile that I've put into paper cups but currently don't have any garden space to transplant them to. I'm limited not only by space but by water -- all the water for the plants has to come from the free water that drops out of air conditioning units from the 3 apartments that can afford an air-conditioner in our apartment building (sadly, not mine) and the 4 apartments next door that I am guerrilla water-harvesting from.

Edie -- I'm going to try the newspaper idea! Actually, will use some cut up paper towel and toilet paper cardboard rolls as we have those leftovers pretty regularly!

Djole -- I am using that exact method for compost. I've got 3 little hidden "pits" in the yard, each about 6 inches deep and 8-10 inches wide.

Capoman -- could you use dried beans from the grocery to do this? I wanted to plant some (green) beans but I could only find seeds here for some (not many) herbs and the basics of lettuce, toms, squash, peppers and cucumbers. It might be worthwhile to rip out the cucumbers since each vine has so far produced only 1-2 (or none) tiny cukes and all the leaves are turning yellow and dying and replace with beans for the soil in hopes of a better spring...


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Hi if the cukes have died, take them out. mine died this year too. No idea why,but they were a lost cause. Can you get your hands on straw? You can lay that down on the paper as well, along with coffee grinds. The straw will act as a mulch and break down for next year.
Sharon


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Hi if the cukes have died, take them out. mine died this year too. No idea why,but they were a lost cause. Can you get your hands on straw? You can lay that down on the paper as well, along with coffee grinds. The straw will act as a mulch and break down for next year.
Sharon


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Hi guys, I thought you might like an update on the effects of the milk I tried -- I only put it around my 3 puniest tomato plants and they are now rockin' the socks off the other four. They are the sturdiest now and are the only ones that are flowering. I think it is still too hot for them to set fruit but it seems that the milk did those tomatoes good!


 o
RE: cherry tomato yields

Wow,must be the calcium! Congrats keep us posted!


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Growing Tomatoes Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here