What's going on with my tomatoes ?

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

I have a few tomato plants down in the garden on the ground on raised beds, no problems here, however I also have three tomato plants on the deck in 5Gls buckets, growth wise they seem to be doing better as the deck gets sun all day opposed to the raised beds that gets about 7 hrs of sun.

The plants on the deck have some tomatoes that seem to have to start rotting from the bottom, not all the fruit, though, some are good and some are affected (within the same plant, even within the same "bunch"). They start getting dark on the bottom and then it progresses to look like rot.

I water the plants every morning, I pour about one gallon of water on each and have been fertilizing with fish emulsion (same as the ones on the raised beds) every 3 to 4 weeks.

Any ideas on what's causing this and what can I do to stop loosing fruit?

Oh.... also, on this plants about a month ago I found some of those bright green caterpillars with the horn on them, they were eating the leaves on these three plants, I carefully removed them and they have not been back.

Thank you for all your replies !!!

Thumbnail by sevseasail Thumbnail by sevseasail Thumbnail by sevseasail
Homeworth, OH(Zone 5b)

blossom end rot is a problem w/ container grown tomatoes caused by lack of calcium uptake, and/or uneven watering. The good news is as the plants mature it usually decreases.

Maybe a little mulch will help to keep the soil moist, and also before watering check down in the soil an inch or two to check for moisture. A gallon a day might be too much.

What type of soil are they in? This is very important in container growing.

Also, once the horn worms are picked off there should not be any lasting problems.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thank you for your prompt response !!!

I chose to go with store bought dirt for the container plants because I knew I had to give them the best possible, it was either Miracle grow or Vigoro (not sure if that's the name) potting soil for fruits and vegetables.

I'll try to add some calcium.

As far as the watering; it's been so hot here lately that by the time I get back home in the afternoon the soil on those containers is bone dry, we've been having over 90 deg temp here for a couple of weeks now.
If I don't give them that much water, by the time I get home the plants are all wilted, I tried.

The plants on the raised beds get the sprinkler on for 30 minutes every morning and seem to be happy with that; which I thinks is way less than a gallon per plant, but, they are on the ground....

Thank you again !!!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Uh, as a seasoned eBucket gardener, I have one few words of advice for you.

Potting MIX, MIX, MIX in containers of any kind. Soil of any kind only goes in the ground. Potting soil (or soil otherwise) will eventually compact hard as concrete in a bucket...

Thumbnail by Gymgirl Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Homeworth, OH(Zone 5b)

Quote from Gymgirl :
Uh, as a seasoned eBucket gardener, I have one few words of advice for you.

Potting MIX, MIX, MIX in containers of any kind. Soil of any kind only goes in the ground. Potting soil (or soil otherwise) will eventually compact hard as concrete in a bucket...



This is why I asked you what they were planted in. This is so important in container gardening, and people often try to save money and use an unsuitable soil. Gymgirl is right you need a soilless mix that will not compact. Spend some time in the container gardening forum reading about what to use.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

What BCH521 said...

Homeworth, OH(Zone 5b)

I know my containers are looking much better after I read the stickies from tapla. It hurt at 1st to not use compost in them, I almost had to join a 12 step program for compost in container addicts, but they do grow better now.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

BCH521,
I used Tapla's 5-1-1 for the first time last season and had the BEST growth and harvest of all my seasons combined, since 2008! Especially my tomatoes and the brassicas!

I actually worked with Al on a modified 5-1-1 for my containers, since I was recycling so much in addition to the PBFs. So, my mix(es) were more 4-1-1 or 3-2-1 depending on how the plants were responding. The peat got adjusted up or down for wicking in the eBuckets.

Linda

Homeworth, OH(Zone 5b)

I actually have been reading your ebucket threads, but haven't tried them yet. Maybe next season. BTW, I really enjoyed your Spring story.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Quote from Gymgirl :
Uh, as a seasoned eBucket gardener, I have one few words of advice for you.

Potting MIX, MIX, MIX in containers of any kind. Soil of any kind only goes in the ground. Potting soil (or soil otherwise) will eventually compact hard as concrete in a bucket...



Yeah, sorry, that's what I have. it's not compacted at all, very soft and actually seems too loose to me.

Thank you !!!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thank you, BCH!

Homeworth, OH(Zone 5b)

Quote from sevseasail :


Yeah, sorry, that's what I have. it's not compacted at all, very soft and actually seems too loose to me.

Thank you !!!



Impossible to be too loose. I'm thinking you have an uneven water problem. Have you thought about trying a self watering system, or some type of irrigation system set up on a timer? There are a lot of advantages to them--you can even take a day off occasionally; which when you water pots manually is usually not an option in hot weather.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Quote from BCH521 :


Impossible to be too loose. I'm thinking you have an uneven water problem. Have you thought about trying a self watering system, or some type of irrigation system set up on a timer? There are a lot of advantages to them--you can even take a day off occasionally; which when you water pots manually is usually not an option in hot weather.


Thank you !!
Yes, I'm looking at installing some sort of timer, as we will be leaving in a week for a couple of days and I know my daughter will forget to water the deck plants and we'll come back to dead tomato plants.
The thing with containers is that a sprinkler will put more water on the deck that the planter, I will have to develop some sort of drip system, soaker hose or something similar.

Any ideas?? Thank you !!

Homeworth, OH(Zone 5b)

There are actually mini sprayers that attach to the pots that waste little or no water. None of the brands are coming to mind, but just google it, or go to the irrigation forum.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Dripworks seems to have huge variety of drippers, sprayers, sprinklers, soakers, fittings, tubing, misters, missuses and you-name-it.


http://www.dripworks.com/category/sprinklerland
http://www.dripworks.com/category/sprayerland
http://www.dripworks.com/category/emitterland
http://www.dripworks.com/category/ttape

http://www.dripworks.com/category/soakdrp

84, United States

Calcium, irregular watering, no. They may be factors, but heat stress contributes to blossom end rot. My first set of blossoms/no problem. Set during 100 degree weather/scalding and blossom end rot. And my tomatoes are caged and offer plenty of foliage cover. Determinate varities seem to have more blossom end rot. My Ultimate Opener tomatoes are fine. Excess temperatures have an effect on many vegetables. Commercial growers are having the same problems this year!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

gardenphil84 - I agree. I feel certain that heat stress contributed more to the blossom end rot that my determinates fell victim to, than any other reason.

The indeterminates grown under the same conditions have weathered well, and produced many BER- free fruit.

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