garden - Knowledgebase Question

Palmdale, ca
Question by born2fly1970
May 5, 2007
for the last 3 years I have tried to get tomatoes to grow in the planter bed in the front of my house, it faces east. The bed had Roses that I took out so I could plant food crops. My tomato plants grow but they dont fill out very much and they get very few flowers and I have only goten 4 tomatoes off the ten plants. last year I tried bell pepers as well as 5 tomato plants. I buy celeberty and beef stake tomatoes I use mirical grow planters mix to no avail help me I dont know what to do Thank you


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Answer from NGA
May 5, 2007

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I'd first look at the soil and then at the amount of sunshine the plot gets. Tomatoes, like roses, need at least 8 hours of direct sunshine every day. An east-facing bed may get only morning sun, which just isn't enough for your tomatoes. Tomato plants that do not flower profusely are not getting enough sunshine. The second consideration is soil. For best root growth (and ultimately stem and fruit growth), your soil needs to be loamy and full of nutrients. I'd amend the soil with some organic matter to loosen it up and help it retain moisture. To do this, simply spread a 4-5" layer of compost, peatmoss, aged-manure or shredded leaves over the entire bed and then dig it in to a depth of 8-10". Level the area, plant your tomato plants, then lay another 2" of organic matter over the entire bed. This 2" mulch will help slow water evaporation, regulate soil temperatures and suppress weeds which will compete with your tomato plants for nutrients and moisture.

If the site doesn't get full sunshine you can still grow veggies there. Lettuce, radishes, carrots and green beans will get along with less than 8 hours of sunshine. You could plant tomatoes and peppers in large containers and set them in a sunnier garden spot.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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