Latest posts by Italophile

Tomatoe plants...basic how to guide needed?

Posted: 10/06/2013 at 15:02

Dotty, do you mean you're watering every day? They don't need that much water. Let the mix dry out.

What sort of Miracle Grow fertiliser do you have in the shed? Standard all-purpose Miracle Grow isn't suitable for toms. It has way too much nitrogen. You'll end up with lots of foliage at the expense of fruit. You'd be better off buying a tomato-specific fertiliser. Don't use it till you get your first fruit setting and use it only sparingly afterwards.

Poorly tomatoe plant leaves

Posted: 10/06/2013 at 09:43

Yes, could be a phosphorous deficiency, particularly if they've been overfertilised. Overfertilising, ironically, can affect the plant's uptake of various necessary nutrients.

Poorly tomatoe plant leaves

Posted: 10/06/2013 at 09:08
Danielle888 wrote (see)

Italophile - I don't know what variety the plants are as my Nan gave them to me but I will find out

Goodoh, Danielle. It could help determine the size of pots they need.

Poorly tomatoe plant leaves

Posted: 10/06/2013 at 09:07

There's some good sensible advice in that link, Sue. I particularly like the caution against overwatering. I'd extend it to overfertilising, too. There's an old tomato saying: "More plants are killed by pampering than neglect".

The Blossom End Rot (BER) problem is an interesting one. It used to be tomato lore that it was caused simply by a lack of calcium and was remedied by digging the stuff into the soil.

Science now tells us that BER is certainly calcium-related but in terms of the plant being unable to distribute the calcium through its internal system to the fruit. You can have all the calcium in the world in the soil but the plant is unable to use it.

Unfortunately science can't tell us exactly why. The best guess is that it's stress-related, with the plant's physiology under duress and affected. There are potentially plenty of causes of plant stress - climate, culture, etc - so there's no simple answer.

The real mystery, though, is why some varieties are more prone to it than others. The link suggests larger-fruited varieties are more prone, but, in fact, it's the plum or egg shapes - San Marzano, etc - that are most vulnerable. I've had plum/egg varieties in the ground growing right beside beefsteaks and oblates. The plum or egg shapes have been riddled with BER, their immediate neighbours totally BER-free.

Who would be a tomato grower?




Poorly tomatoe plant leaves

Posted: 10/06/2013 at 06:42

Not a guru, KEF, I've just grown toms for 20+ years and, particularly in the early days, had the benefit of a lot of advice from some real gurus, particularly a couple of American tom growers who were incredibly generous not only with advice but gifts of very-hard-to-come-by heirloom seeds. Tom growers are a bit of a community - world-wide - and the more help and advice shared around, the better.

The best thing I learned about growing toms was Keep It Simple. Don't fuss over them, don't pamper, don't overwater, don't overfertilise, let them do the work. It's what their genes are programmed to do.

Oh, and I'm a him.

Poorly tomatoe plant leaves

Posted: 09/06/2013 at 15:14

Okay, Danielle, I thought I could see some amongst the patches. That's a computer monitor for you! Just out of interest, what varieties are they?

Poorly tomatoe plant leaves

Posted: 09/06/2013 at 13:39

Danielle, the first one - with all the necrotic tissue - doesn't look fungal. It's something cultural. As Dov says, knock off the fertiliser and cut back on watering too.

The second one could be more problematic. Have a very close look. Can you see little blisters/pustules at the centre of the marks?

Poorly tomatoe plant leaves

Posted: 09/06/2013 at 10:46

Danielle, the necrotic - white/fawn - tissue in the first photo doesn't necessarily mean "blight".

"Blight" has become a generic term for all fungal diseases. In reality, there are two "Blight" diseases - Early and Late. There are other fungal diseases that can look somewhat like them. Early Blight is the most common fungal disease in the domestic garden, with Septoria Leaf Spot probably next on the list.

This is what Early Blight looks like in its early and later stages:


Notice the "bullseye" appearance of the spot in the first image. I think I can see one or two of them in your first photo. The extent of the necrotic tissue, though, isn't necessarily consistent with a fungal problem. You can get that result from things like fertiliser burn, particularly too much nitrogen. Are you fertilising the plant? And what with?

Can you take another, much closer photo of the smudge/stains on the leaves in your second photo?

Tomatoes with 5.5 hours sun....wishful thinking?

Posted: 09/06/2013 at 10:24

China, 6 hours of sun a day is generally considered the minimum for optimum production of toms in concert with temps in at least the low 20sC. They will still produce with fewer hours and lower temps but on a sliding downwards scale.

As Dove says, warmth is the key to ripening. They don't need direct sunlight. That's why toms will ripen inside on a kitchen bench.


Posted: 07/06/2013 at 13:44

They're fine in those pots, Leggi, even at 6". They're grown virtually identically to toms. About the only difference is that you don't need to plant them out as deeply as toms. Plant them out with the top of the mix level with the soil you're planting into. If they're peppers as in capsicums, you'll need to stake them.

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