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06/08/2012 at 08:58
My tomatoes are healthy but just keep producing lots of leaf but not much fruit. What am I doing wrong
06/08/2012 at 09:35

Overfeeding them.  Plants make fruit if the 'think' there is a likelyhood of their dying.  If you keep feeding it, the plant will keep on growing without fruiting.  Tomato plants can keep on growing and growing.

06/08/2012 at 13:06

Exactly. Nitrogen-rich fertiliser, in particular, will give you tons of leaves and not much else. Stop feeding altogether and see what happens.

06/08/2012 at 13:44

In the past, I've definitely found that feeding them too early does this.

06/08/2012 at 14:20

 

It's to late now,but you shouldn't feed tomatoes until the second truss has set and are pea size.Feed once a week.When third truss has set feed twice a week,and so on. I use Tomorite. Works for me.

Bobnmal

06/08/2012 at 15:29

Bobnmal, you might find you'll get more toms with less fertiliser. Toms aren't naturally big feeders, in fact they tend to produce more if they're left to struggle that little bit. They will feel the need to reproduce - ie, produce fruit. Overfeeding can also leave plants vulnerable to disease.

09/08/2012 at 21:01

All of the above, and did you remember to pinch them out?  Unless thay are described on the packet as a bush variety, once they start setting flowers you need to pinch out all the side-shoot growth to encourage the plants to put their energy into the fruits rather than the branches.  You have the main stem, and then the main branches which carry the flowers and fruits.  In the junctions between the two, you get side growths.  I think of them as tomato-plant upwards-growing armpit-hair.   Check for them every week at least.  Nip them out with your thumb nail and your plants will be stronger, leaner and fitter.

10/08/2012 at 06:57

Or you can leave one to develop, snip it off with sharp secateurs or scissors, poke it into a small pot of damp potting mix, keep it in warm shade as you would any cutting, and you'll have a brand new plant without the hassle of starting seed and waiting. It's how I generate my autumn crops.

10/08/2012 at 17:05

Everyone i know has had problems with their tomatoes. Mine are hopeless in the garden and allotment but in the greenhouse they are brilliant. Have grown brandy wine and a huge italian one cant remember the name. We weighed one the other day and it was 1lb in weight. Think we will end up looking like them we have eaten so many.

10/08/2012 at 17:32

A huge Italian tom? What shape? Oxheart? Beefsteak?

14/08/2012 at 19:53

Right, I'd appreciate some help with a few further tomato issues I'm having!

First of all, one of the Sungold plants is half the height of the others and the stem is going a rather nasty shade of brown. Stem rot?

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/10821.jpg?width=300&height=350&mode=max

 The plant itself does have fruit, not that much though. Should I give up on it? I wondered whether repotting it and burying some of the healthy stem to give out more roots would help? Pic of whole plant below.

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/10822.jpg?width=300&height=350&mode=max

 Then, on a completely different note, am growing Black Russians for the first time which I'm quite excited about. Generally, they're doing okay I think. But one plant (below) has got some fruit which are looking very nice (e.g. on the right) but some which are all misshapen at the base. It doesn't look like bottom end rot, nor does it quite look like they've split from inconsistent watering. Maybe they fill out?!

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/10823.jpg?width=300&height=350&mode=max

 

14/08/2012 at 20:19

The second question is the one that shouldn't bother you. The blemish on the bottom of the fruit is called "cat facing". It's very common and has no impact at all on the fruit or its flavour. At worst you'll get some tough tissue around the edges of the blemish when you come to eat the tomato. Just slice it out. "Cat facing" has its source at pollination, usually as a result of low or fluctuating temperatures.

As to the first question, it does look like a stem rot. There are a couple of versions of it, the one I'm familiar with is a bacterial problem. I fear the plant is cactus, so to speak. Out of interest, when you pull the plant, have a close look at the roots and post a photo.

On the bright side, better the serious problem with the Sungold than the Black Russian. The BR is a much nicer tomato, IMHO.

14/08/2012 at 20:35

Ok, thanks v much for your help as usual!

The cat facing makes sense as it's the black russians that have had some flowers dying - some maybe for some reason it's a variety that doesn't self-pollinate as well. i've been tapping the flowers a bit and they do have fruit on the way.

With the stem rotten Sungold, since there are some fruit on it, should i just leave it or is it a risk to the other plants? Will remember to take a photo...

 

15/08/2012 at 07:30

The Sungolds are on their way to ripening anyway. They're well into transition from very dark green. I'd take them off the plant and ripen them inside in a warm spot. Which won't be a bad thing anyway because Sungold, ripening on the plant, are notorious for splitting at maturity. They're always best picked a little early.

Tomato flowers die off if they're not pollinated. They're of no further use to the plant. I'm glad to see you've got the real Black Russian. There's another variety called Russian Black, a small round fruit, and the naming similarity causes confusion, especially amongst plant sellers and seed companies. People often end up with the wrong tomato.

Have you tried a "Black" before? All of the "Black" varieties - Black Russian, Black Krim, Black from Tula, etc - have an interesting flavour. Sharpish on first bite, slightly sweet aftertaste. They all originate from around the Crimea and both taste and look remarkably the same. In fact, some tom experts believe that a lot of renaming took place when the "Blacks" became fashionable decades ago, that a lot of the supposed different varieties are the same tom with different names.

I'll be interested to hear what you think of the taste.

 

15/08/2012 at 07:49

No, this is the first time I've tried any 'black' variety so will let you know what I think!

They seem to be doing well although like I say have never had any trouble with pollination before so interesting just with this variety. I have found (dont know whether this is normal!) that the stems on a few of them have branched out so there are in effect two or three main ones!

Initially I thought I'd failed to spot a sucker but it really is that the stem has sort of 'forked'!

On a related note I, erm, did clearly neglect to pinch out side shoots on some of the other plants but they've got so big they've now started to flower! Should I still cut them off at the pass?

15/08/2012 at 08:33

Some varieties will produce two main stems. It's called bifurcation. The Cherokee varieties - Chocolate, Purple and Green - always do it.

No, it's not too late to take off the overgrown side shoots. Use very sharp secateurs or scissors and make the cut as clean as you can.

15/08/2012 at 10:57

The huge italien was a beefsteak tom. Have had many odd shapes this year but putting it down to the weather and pollinating insects not liking the rain. The rest of the toms taste wonderful so we are making the most of them. Think the greenhouse has really helped this year

15/08/2012 at 11:03

Good to hear. Is the beefsteak smooth or ribbed?

18/08/2012 at 10:29

Right, italophile, since you were curious about my Sungold with stem rot...

As per the photos earlier in the thread, above this point on the stem, the plant actually looked healthy - but it had clearly stopped growing and was noticeably smaller than all my other plants.

I realised that the soil was staying wet too - i.e. the roots just didn't seem to be absorbing anything when watering.

Anyway, have chucked the plant. Do you think I need to chuck the pot too - could it be one of those fungi that supposedly can survive winter etc? Mind you, I never got round to isolating this plant and the others all look ok *tempting fate*

 

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/10951.jpg?width=300&height=350&mode=max

 

18/08/2012 at 13:19

Presumably there were drainage holes. The roots will absorb moisture though there's a limit to how much. They will only take what the plant needs but, if there's excess moisture, they will just sit there wet and with every likelihood of drowning and rotting.

It's always a good idea to clean tomato pots between growing seasons anyway. A good scrub with a 1:10 bleach solution will do the job. Wear gloves!

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