thrilled newbie tomato-grower

I'm growing a few tomatoes on my balcony, and since I was less than confident that I'd get any results at all, I'm delighted to observe little green fruits forming. Wheeeeeeee!!!!!!!

I'd worried about my 'maters for two reasons: first, all of them are in non-standard containers. Three are in plastic soil bags (with slits cut in bottoms, and set on rocks) and three are growing out the bottom/sides of a huge hanging wire basket. Second, I knew that tomatoes were self-fertile, but I haven't had many bee-visitors and I didn't know how much vibration or whatever the blossoms really needed. I tried to give them a little hand action and also sprayed them with water. No idea if this helped or hurt ...

but I have little green tomatoes!

Maybe some of my hesitance to try growing tomatoes was that nobody in my family has grown them since my Nana died when I was 12. It's not a violation to grow them, just that nobody else I knew really knew how so this has been a blind shot for me.

(Yeah yeah, this should have gone in the new-to-gardening column ...)

Naomi

Hi Naomi!

There are many many tomato experts here, and I am not one of them. :-) I do have some information that may be of use to you in the meantime...

The bees won't be the ones pollinating your tomatoes. The tomatoes will pollinate themselves, since the flowers are perfect (having both female and male parts) and oftentimes pollinate themselves in the morning before the buds even completely open!

Usually the wind will be enough to trip the pollination process. I like to walk around and gently tap the flower stems, just to make sure.

Oh, and regarding misting - don't do it! I hear (from Melody) that moist leaves can cause some diseases on your plant.

good luck with your tomatoes! What kinds are you growing, by the way?

Dave

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Hi Naomi..Welcome to the tomato growing world!

The most important thing you can do for your tomatoes is water consistantly! Regular watering for tomatoes promotes even growth and prevents cracks and splits.Make sure your tomatoes get a regular amount of water each week.They don't need to have any overly dry or wet periods.Dave posted some pictures of his Cherokee Purple tomatoes that split when the rains came after a prolonged drought.

Tho only thing that you might want to do is water with a diluted fertilizer as your containers will leach out nuitrients faster than if they were in the ground.

Don't worry about the pollination,If you have small tomatoes,then things are going fine with just Mother Nature.
Dave is right about wet tomato foliage.It is a big no..no.
You can't help what happens with the rain, but when you are watering,just water the soil,and do it during the morning and afternoon so that you won't have lingering moisture at night.

What kind of tomatoes are you growing? It may have some bearing as to what else may need to be done for them.Different varieties have slightly different requirements.

Above all,enjoy! It is an addicting undertaking and you will be amazed as to the different shapes,colors,tastes and histories that tomatoes have. Check out the threads in the Heirloom forum...there are a great number that deal with tomato culture.

Madison, WI(Zone 4a)

Although I do not water the leaves of my plants, I do feed them using a spray bottle. I use fish emulsions and sea kelp in water and spray the plants once a week. It has worked very well for me, and the production is great. Also works well on flowers. I also have found consistent watering to be the key with container growing, regardless of the size of pots used. Amy.

Corner Brook, NL(Zone 5a)

As a plant food you can try 2 tbsp/Epsom salts in 4L of water. This is also great for your herbs.

Allen Park, MI(Zone 6a)

I agree with Out of Conrol;
Foliar feeding with fish emulsion works very well; I,ve been doing it for the past 4-5 years with great success.

I used the Alaska Brand Fish Emulsion.

As to Lorys comment Epsom salts adds Magneisum to the plant, its not a complete fertilizer. You still need yor N-P-K for complete nutrition.

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Yup, fish emulsion is great stuff but the smell is enough to make me sick. I watered some baby tomato plants I had growing in my greenhouse this past Spring with it and all I can say is YUK!. That fish smell lingered in my greenhouse for weeks! It was so bad that I had to hold my breath the first couple of times I went in there and then run back outside for a breath of fresh air. Just the thought of that smell makes me want to.........

Madison, WI(Zone 4a)

Pete2, but I bet you are popular with the neighbors cats!! My two cats come running whenever I spray! The smell does linger for awhile too. My kids will come out on the deck and say "ewww, what's that smell! But oh the plants look so happy! Just don't stand downwind! :)

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