Just guessing, I would say it is a rooting or soil issue. Poor growth underground equals poor growth above ground.
Also, since it is already mid-August, I would say that tomato isn't going to do anything this year.
If you really want to try something - make the hole in the plastic a little larger to make sure it can get enough air to the soil. Fertilize with a dilute liquid fertilizer, preferably one that has trace minerals &/or promotes blooms.
Hi Las14, for many years I had trouble with my tomato plants .This year in early spring a made a new vegetable garden bed the lasagna method and I added compost , lime , blood meal , plant tone and manure to the garden soil.I mulched and watered them well . Lot for researching on line helped me. I also tried making some self watering buckets and sowed my own seeds. Hope this will help you next year. Lots of luck
I'm not persuaded by the soil theory, since a very healthy tomato plant is 2 feet away. You can see it in the pictures. And the other 4 further away are planted in soil that has had exactly the same treatment. Manure every other year, along with rock phosphate and greensand. Osmocote in the tomato hole. Seaweed and fish emulsion spray every week or two. All other plants in the garden are healthy.
I admit, root problems was the default diagnosis, because the leaves look okay, no signs of pests or disease. It just looks stunted. Root problems aren't always soil problems, the roots could be damaged or stunted for some other reason. Another possibility is not enough light, but that seems even less likely next to a healthy plant
Not every seed has the potential to be a winner, even in highly domesticated species'. At this point in the season I'd dig it up carefully and examine the roots for problems just so you know, but if there seems to be no problems I'd chalk it up to one of those things.
That said, I'd keep an eye on the spot next year. Another failed plant in the same spot might indicate some sort of soil contamination.
[quote="cytf"]I thought we we supposed to rotate the vegetables in our garden?[/quote]
On a typical home garden scale, rotating is of minimal value since the distances aren't great enough for pest/disease separation and home gardens don't deplete the soil like large monocrop operations. That said, I do rotate, but I'm not OCD about it.
But above, I wasn't necessarily referring to another tomato plant in that spot. If next year, for example, a squash is stunted in the same spot, there may be something in the soil that needs to be remediated. A spilled chemical or too much fertilizer or something.
I also lean toward either local contamination of the soil or more likely a plant that has suffered some mutation that has kept it small. Another possibility is a stray seed of a small variety like Tiny Tim got in the package.
Does anyone think that the poor plant's proximity to a large squash could be a problem? Just wondering if the squash got the upper hand early, and its roots are sucking water and nutrients away. (I have no idea, I'm just asking in order to learn.)
I have a similar problem with a pepper -- I planted 8 in a row. Seven are flourishing. The 8th is a runt. It is RIGHT next to potatoes. I have one that is the same variety that is in position 5 that is doing well. I call this one my 'sacrifice'...
Mystery solved!! I was complaining to my husband about the lack of tomatoes (6 "celebrity" turned out to be unusable, for me, Roma, one tomato borer, one vericillium wilt and now a critter!). I added to the list I was telling him the runty tomato. He said, "Oh, I did that. It was a volunteer from last year, and you lost one to wilt.") Huh. He really hates not to salvage volunteers of all sorts. Even though they're almost never worth anything. This runt now has one flower. Will report. :-)
I had this happen the other plants grew quicker and blocked out sunlight and stole nutrients from smaller one. I gave it extra high quality fertilizer for tomatoes and it not only caught up but ended up larger and more productive than the others! That was a BIG surprise!