Love your tomatoes-Problems and some solutions

Let’s talk tomatoes:

Everyone loves their fresh summer tomatoes, from snacking on sweet cherry tomatoes to making a thick bacon and tomato sandwich for lunch with large beefsteak tomatoes! Mmmm!

Here are a few common questions that our clients often ask.

  1. What do I do when the bottom leaves start to turn yellow on my tomato plant?

Usually if leaves turn yellow on your plants, it means you are over watering. On tomato plants, if the lower leaves turn yellow, that’s not much of a problem, you’ll still get your tomatoes. It could also mean that they are not getting enough sun. Your tomato plants need a good 6-8 hours of good sunshine.

  1. My tomato plants have flowered, but I’m not getting many fruit. What’s up? 

When starting your garden and planting tomato plants, start with a good garden soil mixed with compost or manure. Then as your plants get going, use a fertilizer specifically for tomatoes. Tomatoes need enough fertilizer but follow directions on the packages. Different brands have different formulas, so read the package. Choose one that also contains calcium.

Make sure that the fertilizer you use is not too high in nitrogen. On fertilizer packaging, there are three numbers. The first one is for Nitrogen, which is for the foliage and helps to green up your plants. The second number is Phosphorus which reaches down to the roots and helps produce the blooms and the fruit. The last number is potassium which promotes all around wellbeing of the plant.

This could also be a weather issue. If the nighttime temperatures get too chilly, it could affect tomato production. Also, too much humidity can affect the pollen production, which is needed for fruiting. Too hot temperatures during the day for weeks on end, can definitely be too much for many plants to handle. 

  1. Blossom end rot and cracking.  Help!

This often happens to tomatoes. It is caused by a calcium deficiency. This happens when the moisture in your soil is irregular and if your fertilizer contains too much nitrogen and you have applied too much of it. Choose fertilizers wisely. Find one that also contains calcium. Apply mulch around your plants to help keep moisture levels even. This will also help tomatoes not to crack and split open. A good idea to prevent large sized tomatoes from cracking is to harvest them before they are completely ripe and let them ripen on your kitchen counter indoors.

  1. Why are my beautiful tomatoes not turning red?

This can happen if a tomato plant has grown too big. The energy is all on getting bigger instead of focusing on the fruit. To encourage your tomatoes to turn red, you should ‘top’ them. This means that you should cut the main stem and any suckers that are on your plant. This will direct the nutrients and the plants energy to the fruit and will make the tomatoes ripen faster. Even if the stems have small flowers or small tomatoes already growing, pruning some will definitely strengthen the main plant.