The Q&A Archives: Cherry tomatoes stunted and turning yellow.

Question: I'm very new at gardening, my question is, I planted 3 cherry tomatoe plants in seperate 5 gallon buckets with pencil size hole for water drainage, but two of the plants are stunted and one is turning yellow and the other is nice green, but not growing, and the other is growing like a weed, what could be the problem?

Answer: A good rule of thumb for growing tomatoes in containers is full sized plants need 5 gallons of soil in a container with a diameter of about 18". Drainage is especially important for container grown plants and it doesn't sound as though the drainage is adequate for your plants. Tomatoes hate to have wet feet! It's also especially important for soil to be amended with lots of organic material such as compost, leaf mould or composted cow manure, to keep the soil loose, moisture retentive yet well-draining.

At this point I'd punch several holes in the sides and bottoms of each container to facilitate drainage, water completely (make sure water is running out of the drainage holes), and topdress with some compost (or water with manure tea) to give the plants a little jump-start. Provide them with as much sunshine as possible and they should all begin to grow like weeds.

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