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06/06/2014 at 21:36

Does it stunt the growth or harm young tomato plants when you forget to water them and they droop over?

I have a few in small pots, looking just like the above photo from Bf206, and they've started soaking water up like mad. A couple of times I've forgot to water them or not realised how quickly they'd become dry, and the leaves have curled up and wilted, and some of the stems have even curved right over. Watering them and waiting a couple of hours seems to have cured them on those occasions, but does this do any long term harm?

06/06/2014 at 22:09

If you do that when the fruit are forming, you are likely to end up with blossom end rot, where there is a black flattened patch at the flower end of the fruit. This is because the plant is unable to take up enough calcium because of the lack of water.

You say they are in small pots. i grow mine in florists buckets with holes drilled in the bottom. I dont let the plants dry out so that they droop.On a very hot day, that may mean watering twice a day, once a day in normal conditions, less in overcast or raining.

06/06/2014 at 22:25

Good answer fidgetbones! Fully agree. Tomsk you need to get the plants in 10 ltr pots ASAP And keep them moist. Have a look at my videos part 3 and 4 will probably give you a few tips for plants the same size as yours. Here are the links. http://youtu.be/fEhng2J6a-c and http://youtu.be/-FD77Eo9heM

 

 

06/06/2014 at 22:57

If the pots are big enough you don't need to keep the mix moist. You can let it dry out within reason. As long as the pattern is consistent. Blossom End Rot is more the result of irregular watering patterns than too little water.

And to answer the question. No, you've done no long-term harm. If they bounced back, they're fine. Toms are tough critters.

07/06/2014 at 18:30

Great to know they're OK and thanks for the video! I've been meaning to replant them in a bigger container for the last week or so, and really must get around to it soon. There's now at least 8" of hairy stem below the first leaves, so I'm losing time that they could be growing new roots from the stems.

I also see tiny buds (a millimetre or so across) forming at the top of a couple of them, so all the more reason to get them planted properly.

I also noticed the first buds forming on my dahlias too, so the first flowers should be appearing in a month or so. This year's been a good one in the garden for me. Lots of spring flowers and now the summer stuff seems to be going extremely well. In previous years, very little has grown.

07/06/2014 at 18:34

As an aside, what do people who casually grow a tomato plant or two do when they go on holiday? Mine are still small and in small temporary plastic pots, and they're already drinking like fish. So when the vines are big and the tomatoes are forming, I doubt they'd survive for a couple of weeks without water, even in a big pot.

If you don't have a neighbour who can do it for you, what do people do?

07/06/2014 at 19:29

Tomsk, glad that you liked my videos and sounds like this week will be your week of planting in big pots! Like you, my dahlias have got decent size buds now and should start flowering soon. My mum has one in full flower today - looks great.

my tomatoes have now got the first tomatoes set and I filmed my next video last night. Hope to issue it this week, so watch this space!

07/06/2014 at 19:32
I try and get a friend to do some watering but, if I'm going for a week, I give them a good soaking when I go, ask someone to come mid-week, and then water them on my return. If they're in big pots and the mix is all wet, it takes a while for them to dry out completely.

My brother went away for a few weeks last summer and didn't have anyone to water his plants but he put them somewhere they wouldn't get full sun all day, made sure they had a good soaking before going, and they were fine.
07/06/2014 at 23:13

Putting them in the shade is a good idea. If the pot is big enough they will cope without water for a week.

09/06/2014 at 11:31

It does have to be a BIG pot though to do that.  10l, well watered, is prob a minimum for a whole week; even then they will wilt if it's sunny and/or warm.  Capillary matting?  Never tried it but people do recommend it.

09/06/2014 at 12:10

I use 2 watering methods for when I go away. 1. is I use a water computer set to come on for a couple of minutes 3 times a day to a micro-bore drip feed system set up in the GH and 2. is last year I invested in a Hozelock watering tray that holds 15 litres of water in the base and is said to last for 14 days (but if the plants have a lot of foliage the transpiration rate will be higher and the Water will last fewer days). Has worked well for me as we only ever go away for a max. of 1 week.

Irregular watering can cause tomato skins to split as well as the blossom end rot problem. 

09/06/2014 at 12:36

As promised, my latest video (Growing Tomatoes Part 5) is now ready. The video shows feeding the tomatoes and general tomato plant care. Enjoy!

Here is the link:  http://youtu.be/8FOCUEb2wJ4

15/06/2014 at 19:43

Despite my tomato plants bouncing back after drying out and drooping a couple of weeks ago, I notice that one leaf on a plant partially died, and is gradually turning grey. Should I leave it alone, cut off that whole leaf, cut off the whole branch or something else? Here's a couple of photos:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/49470.jpg?width=276&height=350&mode=max

 

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/49471.jpg?width=255&height=350&mode=max

 

15/06/2014 at 19:51

I'd just cut that piece of leaf out - in case some decay sets in and spreads.  The rest of it looks fine 

15/06/2014 at 21:37

Tomsk, I agree with dovefromabove, just cut out that leaf, keep fingers crossed and it should be fine.

15/06/2014 at 22:58

The whole leaf or just cut out the decayed tip? And if the whole thing, should I pinch it out like an unwanted side shoot, or slice it with a razor to get a clean cut?

16/06/2014 at 07:15

Just the bad part of the leaf - not the entire thing. Good idea to use a clean sharp blade.

18/06/2014 at 14:03

Thanks for the replies, I sliced off the dead bits and the rest seems to be fine since then.

My first couple of yellow flowers have opened up, so hopefully tomatoes are on the way. Loads of other tiny buds have formed but none look anywhere near ready to flower.

If anyone's interested in cheap liquid tomato food, Aldi are doing 1L bottles of it (or vegetable feed) tomorrow for £1.89, along with a few other gardening things.

19/06/2014 at 21:11

I bought a bottle of Aldi tomato feed. Here's the technical stuff on the back, if anyone's interested or wants to compare it to a leading brand:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/49952.jpg?width=591&height=350&mode=max

 

21/06/2014 at 16:48

Tomsk I am sure the Aldi tomato feed will be good. I generally use either tomerite or Westland but have used others with similar results. 

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