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Amateur Tomato Farmer...Help!

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Latebloomer314 photos
Joined: 10/21/2007
Location: Greenacres, FL
Posts: 503
Posted: Oct/22/2007 6:18 PM PST

My wife came home from the dollar store with some tomato and herb seeds and
proceeded to plant them. Well, up came the tomatoes and all the problems
associated with them. She gave up and that's where I took over. I've sprayed
the whiteflies into submission, picked-off the hornworms as fast as they
can hatch, and I'm praying that the endless hours of rain here in Florida
will stop because my green tomatoes are splitting. But what's got me wondering
is that a couple of our plants have lower leaves that are turning yellow and
withering and creeping upward. Started before the heavy rains and the plants
are in containers filled with Miraclegrow potting soil. Tried to only water the
base and not splash the plants. Could it still be fungus/virus ??
What's the opinions of more experienced farmers???
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CarolineC blog photos
Joined: 7/14/2007
Location: SE Pennsylvania zone 6b
Posts: 393
Posted: Oct/22/2007 7:25 PM PST

Well... I'm hardly an experienced farmer, but... how many tomato plants do you have in each pot?!!! If there is more than one, that could be your problem. They will compete for nutrients and water, not be able to get enough, and suffer/die for it. I had two basil plants planted in a small pot, and they were both dying. I pulled the one that was doing the worst, and the other one recovered.
Latebloomer314 photos
Joined: 10/21/2007
Location: Greenacres, FL
Posts: 503
Posted: Oct/23/2007 9:35 AM PST

Great observation, CarolineC...Like I said we're new to this game. My wife
threw away the seed package so we weren't sure how big the plants would
get. She had five containers and divided the seedlings amoung them. Strange though, only two of the containers have the whithering problem. The other three
are growing OK and all but one of the five containers has tomatoes growing. Next time I'll be sure to give each plant it's share of space.
CarolineC blog photos
Joined: 7/14/2007
Location: SE Pennsylvania zone 6b
Posts: 393
Posted: Oct/23/2007 9:18 PM PST

Maybe in the container that is not producing anything, you could try pulling some of the dying plants, and leaving the strongest. I know how much it hurts to do that. If you don't want to just throw them out, you could always re-pot them in their own containers. If the plants are flowering, but not producing tomatoes, it's probably a lack of pollination. Tomatoes are self-pollinating, but the innards of the flower still have to touch each other in order to pollinate. Sometimes I lightly stroke the flower petals together between my thumb and finger to make sure that they have pollinated. Other than that, I would probably just clip off the dead branches, since they aren't doing anything other than looking ugly and perhaps attracting disease. Good luck!
Latebloomer314 photos
Joined: 10/21/2007
Location: Greenacres, FL
Posts: 503
Posted: Oct/25/2007 4:47 PM PST

That's so funny....I was just looking at the withering stalks and said to my
self , "Self, why are we letting those dying, nonproductive plants soak up
water and nutrients that the other healthy plants could be using?"
Well, tomorrow their history. I was talking to my wife and she said that the
seeds came with peat pellets and a tiny terra-cotta pot and you were instructed
to place 4-5 seeds in each peat pellet. Thus the multiple plants per container.
They've all grow together so seperating them is out so they're history. Just wish my compost bin was built so I wouldn't feel like they were a total waste.
Thanks, again CC for good advice...
sweetlebee blog photos
Joined: 5/09/2005
Location:
Posts: 19587
Posted: Oct/26/2007 6:45 AM PST

Self, I mean Latebloomer, you've given me two chuckles this morning with your posts. Do you have a spot in your yard where you can start piling plant material until you get a compost bin? My composting is all done in a 3 x 3 pile. It's slower but it works!
Latebloomer314 photos
Joined: 10/21/2007
Location: Greenacres, FL
Posts: 503
Posted: Oct/26/2007 5:42 PM PST

Sweetle, does it ever get old being right?...Just because I don't have a horse
doesn't mean I can't buy the cart. In fact, the shape my backyard is in these
days, a compost heap would probably improve it. Then I could just transfer
it to the bin whenever I get around to building it. Thanks again for helping me think outside the bin...or is that box. How's the weather in Oregon? We've
been getting tropical waves flowing in dumping rain on us daily causeing my
tomatoes to split. But then living in Oregon you know a thing or two about
rain, huh?
meska photos
Joined: 4/29/2007
Location: Tennessee Sock Country
Posts: 9201
Posted: Oct/26/2007 9:01 PM PST

Quote:
Originally posted by Latebloomer314
I was talking to my wife and she said that the
seeds came with peat pellets and a tiny terra-cotta pot and you were instructed
to place 4-5 seeds in each peat pellet. Thus the multiple plants per container.
They've all grow together so seperating them is out so they're history.


Hi, Latebloomer. Welcome to GG. I am rather new to gardening, too, but I thought I'd share with you that several things I planted said to plant 3,4,5 seeds in a pellet, but then when they get to be 2-3 inches high, you "thin" them, pulling out the smaller ones and leaving the strongest one. I know it's too late to do anything about it now, but you might want to think about that next year. It's the same thing when you plant directly into the soil. My green beans said to plant seeds every 2 inches (I think) but then to thin them to one every 6 inches. BTW, I planted my green beans in pots, too.
Latebloomer314 photos
Joined: 10/21/2007
Location: Greenacres, FL
Posts: 503
Posted: Oct/28/2007 5:54 PM PST

Thank you Meska...good advice. I know that now after reading, and reading, and reading( did I mention I was reading?) all the books I can get my hands on.
My wife likes to leap then look. I'm old school, looking before leaping.
I've read the books that say to thin your sprouted seed and know that now.
Hind-sight, 20/20, and all that blah-blah.
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