Latest posts by Italophile

Few flowers on tomotoes

Posted: 02/07/2015 at 14:00

The best test for watering in pots is to stick your finger down into the soil as deeply as you can. While the surface might be dry, there can be moisture deeper down where the roots are.

Another test is simply to watch the plants. If they droop during the day when it's warm, wait till the sun goes down. If they perk up again, they're fine. If not, water.

I'd've thought every other day was a bit much unless you've got pretty warm weather.

I'd also lay off the fertiliser. Let the plants get going under their own steam. A lot of people fertilise after the first couple of trusses appear, which is fair enough, but it's the feeding regime after that that's more important. Certainly toms in pots need more fertiliser than plants in the ground because watering leeches out the nutrients from the confined space of the pot. On the other hand, toms don't need a lot of fertiliser to prosper. They respond better to "tough love". Too much fertiliser - and water, for that matter - only leaves them bloated and less likely to produce fruit.

On the couple of occasions that I've grown toms in pots, I didn't feed more than once a month.

Few flowers on tomotoes

Posted: 02/07/2015 at 13:04

Well done! Subject to your varieties I'd go as tall as possible. You have to subtract the depth of the pot from the length of the stake to get the practical height of the stake. Get them as deep as possible, touching the bottom of the pot, and bed them in as well as you can with the soil around them.

Any staked tom will be vulnerable in very strong wind. One of my Anna Russian plants and my Camp Joy have both already passed about 7 feet. They don't make stakes long enough to cope with that sort of height so I've added second stakes to each plant for extra security in strong winds.

Olive tree problem....

Posted: 02/07/2015 at 09:48

Certainly fits the description, Andy. I've had various fungal problems with my tree from time to time. Bordeaux mixture or copper sulfate are the usual treatments. 

Few flowers on tomotoes

Posted: 29/06/2015 at 08:16

Have you tried garden centres? They usually have stakes of all sizes.

Few flowers on tomotoes

Posted: 28/06/2015 at 09:31

They need sun, as much as possible. Ultimately, it's hardly worth bothering if they get no sun at all. 

How big are their containers? The stake (cane) not only has to support itself but also the weight of the plant tied to it. In windy conditions you need to bury the stake as deeply as you can in the container to stabilise it. This means as deep a container as you can get relative to its overall size.

As to the flowers, they will come. How often are you feeding and watering? Overfeeding and overwatering work against flowers developing. 

feeding tomatoes

Posted: 26/06/2015 at 12:56

And less is better when it comes to feeding them, ladycruiser. Toms thrive on "tough love". Mine are outside in the ground, I feed them once a couple of weeks after planting out; and once more later in the season. Providing your soil is decent, that's enough.

Tomato seedling mix up - can anyone identify?

Posted: 26/06/2015 at 12:52

Cat, I can't see any flower trusses forming in the photo. Are there any? That's when you'll know the difference. GD, a cherry, will have multiple - up to 10 or so - flowers forming in virtually a line either side of the truss. The Roma, depending which version it is, shouldn't have more than a couple to a truss.


Posted: 23/06/2015 at 07:26

It's the tomato plant's vulnerability to fungal problems. Trimming foliage where and when necessary is one of the few natural aids against fungal disease.

Eg, it's a good idea to maintain a gap of a foot to 18" between the soil and the lowest foliage. Fungal spores fall from the foliage to the soil beneath and can be splashed back up onto the foliage during watering to re-infect.

It's also a good idea to thin out thick, impenetrable clumps of leaves to promote air circulation, another aid against fungal spores.

Apart from diseased or dead leaves, they're the only reasons I remove foliage.

But you need to be selective. Removing too much foliage obviously will impact on photosynthesis and the foliage serves another purpose - protecting the fruit from direct, prolonged exposure to hot sun which will cause sunscald (sunburn). Less of an issue, obviously, in milder climates but I'm always tucking fruit in behind foliage at the height of summer.

Tomato, remove first truss if plant is still small?

Posted: 19/06/2015 at 15:20

Interesting point you touch on, Boater. Plants will always produce flowers if they feel a bit threatened. Seeking to reproduce themselves before they expire. That's why I maintain that "tough love" is the way to maximise fruit production. Overwatered and overfertilised just leaves them feeling bloated. Treat 'em mean and enjoy the rewards.


Posted: 19/06/2015 at 07:06

Anything that encourages insects will help, plotskier. I have lavender planted nearby the pumpkin patch.

Hand pollination is easy. Keep an eye out for female flowers, they're the ones attached to the ends of the miniature fruit. It usually takes 3 or so days from when they very first appear until the flower is ready to open.

Hand pollination is best done early in the morning as soon as the female flower has opened. You can use something like a cotton bud to transfer pollen from the stamen to the stigma. It's best also to use pollen from a freshly-opened male flower. Very gently brush the pollen onto the stigma and, even more gently, inside the stigma. Care is the key. If you damage the stigma it's curtains for the flower.

I prefer to nip out a male stamen and brush it directly onto and inside the stigma. Less chance of damaging the stigma and the transfer is direct.

Typically, you'll get a lot more male flowers than females, particularly early on, and the wait for females can be very frustrating.

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