Okay so this is my second batch of tomatoes this season. The first batch was amazingly prolific. Had like 40 per pot...in various stages of growth. This was by the end of may. Then early July we had a freak hail storm...destroying everything. So I replaced all the veggies, dug out most of the old mix and replaced with new mix...BTW trying out the smart pots. I was unable to replace the same tomatoes and wound up with a lot of heirlooms.
So my problem is I have lots of flowers and hardly any fruit. The flowers drop off after drying up. Am I missing something in my mix???? I would hand pollenate if I could get into it without knocking the flower off lol.
Hi, uuummm it has been pretty hot lately only getting down to the low 70's. I didn't grow from seed...bought at a very healthy nursery. The temp should be tomato grow heaven here hot days (upper 80's-110 with lows at 60-75). I thought maybe it was because the bee's were to hot to pollinate for me but just read that tomatoes are wind pollinated. Thinking of getting some ready to use poop lol. Maybe that will help??
Okay so for anyone else having this problem, I called my local nursery and talk to them about it since no one was very helpful.
What I was told is that tomatoes will not set fruit at temps over 90 F. They can be air pollenated by flicking the flowers but are mostly pollenated by bee's. But the pollen dies at temps over 90 F ...so no fruit. It is best to fertilize them with liquid masters bloom every 2 weeks if you are phosphorus and potassium deficient like I am. To much bumper crop was used in my mix, meaning to much nitrogen and it binding the others so they can not be used.
As for the help that I did not really receive...I think I remembered why I stopped using this web page. Way to clicky and way to many people not really interested in helping anyone just more interested in being the veteran gardener.
janet214 - The info you received regarding tomatoes not setting fruit in high temperatures is correct. Also, damp weather will make the pollen "clump" and pollination will not occur. Tomatoes are wind pollinated. You could shake the plants to get the same result. Bees sometimes visit tomato blooms, but they ar NOT necessary for pollination.
As to members being clicky and not interested in helping anyone - this has not been my experience.
I've been growing vegetables for 60 years, so I guess you could call me a "veteran gardener." I'm always willing to answer a gardening question, if I know the answer. Sometimes, we gardeners are busy with our gardens, or personal lives, and don't get to answer questions as quickly as a beginner like you might like, but that doesn't make us disinterested.
I am fairly new here and I love it. I am by no means a veteran but I read a lot of garden books. I help when I can but I have more questions than answers. Sometimes a little patience goes a long way. Someone usually has an answer and gets around to my questions. Sometimes there is just no definitive answer. Still wondering why my beans are stringy but I'm not gonna stop coming here because I didn't get an answer within 12 hours.
Thanks for the answer about the tomatoes though. I was curious myself!
I also wanted to point out that some questions have been asked and answered before so if you are looking for an immediate answer you can search the forums. I've done that. Sometimes I find the answer sometimes I don't.
Thanks sweetie77 and honeybeeNC. I am impatienant sometimes but is because I am usually so busy maintaining house and yards and garden ( if you can call it a garden lol). When I get some down time and see other recent post that are answered right away it frustrates me cause I know that my question is way below beginner level lol. I am really good at landscape stuff. Know the causes of disease and pest. How to make them grow like crazy lol. But for some reason I can't get veggies to like me lol. It boogles my mind that I can't manage a tomato plant. So thanks again :), and sorry for the frustration.
I'm generally pretty good at veg but this year has been harder than most because of the extreme heat and no rain. Hopefully someone asks a Q I know the answer to soon. I like to feel like I am contributing to the group LOL
We are having weird weather here too...the past 3 winter. I live in the Sierra foothills of N. California...usually I am below the snow and above the fog. Dry hot long summers, dry winters til late winter then we get rain til about April then it turns back into summer lol. Lately we are having winter til almost July. Last year we had over 40 feet of snow pack in the high sierra's. Imagine camping with snow on the ground in July...so weird! This year we had a freak hail storm of cherry tomato size for 50 min in June. Plus freakish lows in the 30's then we went to warm 90's and then straight into temps over 100's. Fortunately I have irrigation water. I would rather pay the electricity for that then my propane bill in the winter lol.
Oh, gosh! Very timely question. I was noticing the withered flowers on my 'Black Krim' tomatoes and it didn't dawn on me that our hot weather was to blame. Back in the recesses of my brain, I knew this information but just didn't connect the dots. Is there anything I can do for my tomatoes to keep them healthy is this record-hot summer so that they might (hopefully) fruit again if the temps cooperate? I already have some ripening fruits (big ones, too) and I keep the tomatoes watered so that they don't split. Generally, I wouldn't fertilize in the hot weather but should I for the tomatoes? I use an organic 2-4-2.
Hi cindyMzone5, I was told by my nursery that I bought my tomatoes from to give them liquid master bloom every 2weeks to help them grow more flowers to replace the ones the pollen had die in. It also help the fruit too:).
Looks like I will get 4 days below 90...I hope that is long enough to set some fruit...fingers crossed.
I was told that I didn't want anymore nitrogen for my tomatoes. Because I used a mix of dr earths veggie mix and some bumper crop. So they say I might have to much nitrogen from all the chicken, bat, worm poop. Apparently to much nitrogen will bind up the other good stuff from being absorbed. So if your plants look good in the green dept then maybe just masters bloom would be good or something really low in nitrogen.
I use the Dr. Earth stuff myself. Started out with the bloom-booster stuff but mid-season, I couldn't find it so I'm using the starter mix. The seaweed extract and worm compost tea shouldn't add too much nitrogen and I was more interested in keeping the micronutrients in the mix.
If I can contribute on tomatoes not pollinating ... from the steamy, sweltering south, I can validate your nurserys' explanation.
Because pollination stops when temps climb, I usually uproot my spring plants and start seeds for the fall tomato plants. In this climate, I can't see trying to nurse the spring plants through summer with no production.
It seems as though I read that nighttime temperatures were more critical to pollination than daytime. I'll see if I saved that link. If so, I will post it here for you. Kristi
Hi Podster, I have been to Texas. Mostly Sweetwater area, but I did make as far east as Dallas/Ft. Worth. Loved Ft.Worth. Plus we went to the Alamo ;). My husband worked and lived there for about 2 1/2 years.
So back to tomatoes lol. I was told that even if the tomato managed to get pollenated in the cooler night time temps, if it got above 90 that day it would still kill the developing pollen. But if I have a day or two for the pollen to develope below 90 then I would get fruit. So lucky for me the Delta breezes have kicked in and actually are reaching the foothills...so I will have about 4 days of below 90's, yay.
CondyMzone5...I agree with the micronutrients. I place my soil bags for pot on my lawn for a day and the worms crawl right in lol. Then I will use that soil in my pots. So I get all the good stuff from the dr. Earth bags plus worms that moved in and work their magic. As far as your compost tea and seaweed extract go... I have not tried any of it. I have not really graduated to a real garden yet with compost bins, and 5 gal buckets with airator to brew some compost teas. I will probably get there soon. I have plans to build a bunch of raised beds and fence it in. But that won't start till this fall. Then next spring I will have to add the compost area. I just won an area for me to finally put in a real garden lmao. Hubby wanted me to go way down in the lower field with no real water access lol...so I refused. So that is why I have a few plants in pots. This year I have them growing in smart pots. That makes a huge differences, they grow massive and healthier. The one that is in a plastic pot with the same potting mix seems to look stunted next to the other ones. I think it has to do with the air flow and air root pruning.
podster - do you do a lot of veggie gardening based on spring and fall crops? Not sure about fall crop tomatoes here since our first frost can occur some years during the second half of Oct.
janet - congrats on the new future garden. And very smart to keep it closer to a water source. DD tried for a few years to garden in TN without a close water source. Lugging water to her large garden in her weather was so difficult and disheartening that she could never lug enough. Neat idea about letting the worms invade the bag of soil before using. I did use Dr. Earth potting mix for my kale, chard and carrots in pots. I don't have a "real" veggie garden, just some plants tucked in among perennials in my sunniest bed since most of my yard is shaded.
no nitrogen for maters, old sayin is nitrogen builds tops- you dont want bush, you want fruit- these tomato vines once were weeds, they take far more abuse than you know, ugh, raining again outside, turned into swamp outdoors already- everyting looks like mammoth work-oh for a nice veggie that isnt trying to be King Kong!
I did notice this morning that 'Black Krim' is still flowering although no fruit set in a couple of weeks. Cherry tomato 'Riesentraube' has set a couple of new fruits though. Luckily, all of the plants look very healthy with no yellowing leaves.
As for fertilizers, I had heard that the only time to feed higher nitrogen is for corn and grasses. Anything planted this spring - annuals, vegetables, perennials - all got a higher phos fertilizer.
Janet, I've never been to Sweetwater but know where it is... I am as far east as you can go in TX. This area resembles the lowlands of Louisiana. Not what folks think of when they think Texas. I'll say you have seen more of Texas than I have. I am jealous. lol
On tomatoes, we are currently seeing rain daily (what a change from the drought last year) and have had a few days with highs in the 70s and 80s. I am keeping fingers crossed that the blooms will pollinate. I am sorry I haven't found that link but what you mentioned about daytime temps makes a lot of sense. Thanks...
CindyM ~ I grew up in MN but have never been to Indiana. I don't know your climate but suspect a fall planting of tomatoes would not work. You might ask around the area though... I could be wrong (again)! lol
I do like the fall garden better, I find less problems with bugs and other plagues. I also find the newly started tomato plants will grow fine in the heat and by the time the blooms begin, the weather starts cooling. Good timing for me.
Kittriana ~ everything looks good in spite of the excess rain. Hope you are enjoying your time at home.
I've been chained to the stove today making pickled peaches, pickled peppers and peach butter. 8 ) Kristi
Podster...don't be jealous of me seeing more Texas then you. What I saw was not that pretty. Except when I went the hill country an over towards Dallas never made it as farther then that eastward. But from what I understand it is the prettier side of Texas. I think the people is what made Texas for me...so nice!!! Hill country was a joke for me since I live the foothills of the Sierra's. My hills would look like mountains over there. But it was still prettier then west Texas. Oh and I think that most people I had met in Texas had hardly even left their county, odd to me since their counties were so small. I got to see a cotton field up close...god that is a pretty plant and flower. Them I came back when the deflated them, then again when everything was baled up. Was neat to see.
Kristi - am glad to see TX getting rain after last year. I think you all just pushed it east. :)
Doubtful that a fall planting would work although I'd love to hear that I'm wrong. It can be pretty hot going into Sept and then pretty chilly towards the end of Oct. Have even had snow once or twice for Halloween.
I did plant my tomatoes with a dozen ground eggshells per hole along with the higher phos fertilizer with a drink of seaweed stuff to settle them in.
I did find this info on temps affecting pollination - http://www.njfarmfresh.rutgers.edu/documents/BlossomDropinTomatoes.pdf
Cindy ~ that is a good info link to Rutgers ~ thank you. It explains the daytime/nighttime temps for pollination. At that rate, I am grateful to get any tomatoes. lol I need to save it for future reference.
Our first killing frost is usually right around Thanksgiving. If tomatoes don't make by then, they won't.
Janet ~ a field of cotton is a fascinating sight and I agree, the plant is very pretty. You might feel claustrophobic in east TX. We are deep in the woods, mostly pine trees with a few hardwoods mixed in. I missed the trees when we have ventured west and it feels so soothing to get back into the treeline of the state. The photo is of our driveway. What I miss when living in the woods is the sunrises and sunsets
ummm, panhandle- winds, cadillacs buried in the ground, cattle feed lots with the smell so thick you can see it hanging in the air (a lot like the west side of El Paso) cotton hmmm, usually all I see is miles of hi plains, will have to look for the cotton..
Podster I love your pic! And no I would not feel clausterphobic there. Though it does look thick :). When I go up to Grass Valley will snap a photo or two. Does anyone care that I am not talking veggies lol.
Well, I kinda felt guilty that I left the original question too... sorry. lol At least I don't have to look at neighbors (or them at me)! I like to see photos of the different areas too. That way I can travel vicariously around the country.
My problem with growing tomatoes and other vegies is actually not enough sun. This year I grew some tomatoes which had promise and were considered a dwarf, about 3 feet tall. They didn't produce as I expected and the plants range from 4 to 6 feet tall which indicates not enough sun perhaps. I need to find another location for the beds or fire up the chainsaw. Grrr... Kristi
Kristi - can sympathize with shade and tomatoes. Took out two big oaks late last summer, opening up my side garden on the south side of the house. It still gets shade until noon from the trees in the backyard but then it's all sun until sundown. Tomatoes are doing ok except for the heat and drought (but no water restrictions yet). They are doing better than last year but I'm also growing different varieties. Does it make sense to grow your tomatoes in 5-gallon (or larger) buckets that can be moved into the optimal position without cutting down trees? 'Course, that doesn't help much if you want a full vegetable garden. I did hear a suggestion in hotter climates to position the veggie garden to get morning sun and a little afternoon shade it that's any help. The plants dry off faster after rains and dew and are generally healthier.
From what I remember, the cotton in the panhandle starts around Lubbock, going south. They do try to grow corn north of Lubbock.
Ah... sorry Janet. I am a registered facebook victim but I don't go there often enough to find my way around.
I also have a cell and rarely turn it on like you Cindy. I get my fill of phones at work during the day/week. Not to mention, we don't get good cell service locally. Thanks to all the pine trees that I love. lol Kristi
Ya I hear ya Kristi :). Oddly since my hubby had to to have the new iPhone, I don't use my cell as a phone much but more as a computer. But it has it's limits on certain web pages. We had bad cell reception here till we put in a booster.
I planted heirloom open-pollinated Mortgage Lifter tomatoes in Earth Boxes in the Shenandoah Valley of VA (northern edge of zone 7) in early May. I've had a heavy yield and they keep coming. I refreshed the boxes with my homemade compost, composted cow manure and Espoma organic Tomato Tone fertilizer upon planting. I replenish the fertilizer monthly. Our 100-degree heat has not stopped fruit set and ripening. First time I planted and will grow again. I bought started plants this year since have never grown before but am saving seed for next year. The huge storm that blew through in early July knocked over the boxes but the plants survived okay. Also, it ripped the gazebo from the deck (near the boxes), threw it into the front yard and shredded the fabric and twisted the wrought iron. The plants survived! I water just about every day when it doesn't rain and the plants are strong.
I was just reading about 'Mortgage Lifter' this morning. I'm interested in if they're a good all-purpose tomato - for slicing or canning. Amazing that they haven't stalled out on setting fruit. Must be because they're getting such great TLC! I did plant mine in late May ('Black Krim' started from seed in late March) - normal time for around here although I probably could have planted earlier this year because of the warm spring. I gave them some Dr. Earth 2-4-2 this past week and am aiming to give them some worm castings tea over the weekend. I was hoping for a cooler break in the weather but it's very humid today so don't think there'll be much pollination going on. My first tomato - huge, about 5" across - is starting to color up so hoping for first harvest next week.
I don't think we had enough relief from the heat this past week either. My summer squash plants are only putting out male flowers too which some sites say is a sign of too much heat or stress on the plant.
Interesting. I didn't realize that heat would produce only male blooms. I recently planted Delicata squash for a late summer crop and noticed they are loaded with blooms this morning. I will have to watch and see what happens.
From what I understand, summer squash are stress-sensitive, especially when it gets hot. Not growing winter varieties so I'm not sure about those. Growing 'Black Beauty' zucchini here. My poor yellow straight neck is getting too much shade so not sure I'll get anything out of that one. Cucumbers are flowering like crazy too, often male and female flowers next to each other but no fruit set yet. That one's 'Marketmore 76'. Did notice a tomato 'Black Krim' - planted in a pot late because I had no more space in the garden - has set a couple of fruits. Yea!
Wow... To jjerseygirls comment on mortgage lift tomatoes. I was trying that one this year too...so mad that that freak hail storm wreaked my trials. And jealous now hearing that is a good one on the edge of zone 7.
CindyMzone5...I don't think I have had enough relief from the heat either. This is some freakish weather...one week it is so hot that you want to run around naked, and then the nexted week it is so cold you are bundled up. This is god country...the land of perfect weather lol. We don't have freak thunder storms, hail the size of cherry tomatoes, huge shifts in temps (except in spring), and summer rains.
I did get one zucchini female...hope the ants pollinated it cause I was too busy with painting the house, but I did not see any tomatoes set :(.
They've now changed this week's weather forecast here, down from the 90's into the upper 80's while this weather front keeps moving in and out. Just hope it results in some more fruits. Watching my first 'Black Krim' coloring up and trying to determine when the color is right for picking.