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Avatar for jay_californiagrown
Jun 21, 2021 6:44 PM CST
Sacramento (Zone 9b)
Hi, I am new to this forum and to the gardening world. I am having issues with figuring out what am I doing wrong. Any help, tips and ideas will be greatly appreciated.
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Jun 21, 2021 6:59 PM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Is this spot in the sun during the mid-day heat? Dark pot surrounded by wall and patio = very hot. Moving it where the sun hits for a few hours in the morning could help, &/or trying to shade the pot but not the plant, paint the pot a light color.
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Jun 21, 2021 7:13 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
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Tomato's need to be evenly moist. And growing that plant close to the wall like purple says, blocks air flow, it reduces sunlight!
Keys for tomato's Sun sun sun, water
And never let them go dry and temps from 68-85.
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Jun 21, 2021 7:30 PM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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The best tomatoes I've grown in this climate were protected from the heat of the day, in the shade most of the time. It's 90-95° every day of late spring, summer, early fall. I've never been to CA but if it's as hot, the plant could be getting way too hot.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
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The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
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Avatar for jay_californiagrown
Jun 21, 2021 7:50 PM CST
Sacramento (Zone 9b)
Thank you all, it's been getting 97-108 last few days. I will move the plant from the wall and water a little more throughout the day. I need to figure out a good spot for it with enough sun and a little shade.
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Jun 21, 2021 9:25 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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Welcome!

How big is your pot? Tomatoes need 5 gallons of soil MINIMUM, the more the better. Stick your hand into the soil when the sun is shining on the pot to see how hot it is. You could pot into something bigger or wrap your pot in bubblewrap, stack bricks around all the pots (making a fake raised garden) or double up pots (leave an airspace between pots and stuff it with newspaper (the outside pot needs to be a light color).

My garden is against a south facing stucco wall in the desert. The tomatoes do fine IF they have enough soil and a heavy enough pot to keep the soil cool. Plants hate hot roots. This year, the tomatoes got into the ground but the cucumbers, okra, beans and peppers are all in half wine barrels. If your tomatoes are in 5 gallon or less size pots, consider finding some half wine barrels and putting three tomatoes in each of them. They won't have any less soil but will have the mass of more soil and a heavy pot to keep them cooler.
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Jun 22, 2021 1:11 AM CST
Name: Pat
Columbus, Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Hi @jay_californiagrown ! Welcome to gardening and to NGA! You'll find lots of information and friendly gardeners here.

I agree that your tomato may need a larger pot and a cooler spot. I'm more concerned at this point with the growing medium in the pot. Is it garden soil? It doesn't have the appearance of a good quality potting mix.

Most garden soils are not suited for growing plants in pots. They don't drain well enough and don't hold enough air, odd as that may sound. Roots do need to have some air. One potting mix that works well for many kinds of plants is ProMix. Your tomato may need to be repotted in a better mix.

You will need a fertilizer. Miracle Gro for tomatoes works well for most kinds of plants, not just tomatoes. The yellowing of the lower leaves indicates a need for fertilizer if it's not just due to heat stress.

Many kinds of tomatoes will not set new fruits when the temps are consistently above 85°. If you can get the plant growing strongly, taller and fuller, it will be able to set more fruits when weather permits. You have to grow a plant before it can grow tomatoes for you!

Good luck and I wish you much pleasure and success in gardening !
Using my middle name Ann wasn’t working well. Back to being one Pat among many others. 😄
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Jun 22, 2021 7:22 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
Garden Sages Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Hummingbirder Foliage Fan
Your plant will hopefully need some kind of support soon. If you go with a wire tomato cage, they're easier to install around the plant when it's smaller like yours is now.

Baby pools make great little "raised gardens" very inexpensively that can hold a small variety of veggies, just not deeply rooted things like carrots or potatoes. Poke a few holes in the bottom so rain doesn't cause a soggy mess. Since you're not concerned that it has holes, they can last 4-8 years before they start cracking into chunks. Most of the baby pools I've used for gardening were snatched from the curb after being discarded for getting a hole. That's the cheapest possible way. : + )

Also, you don't have to confine veggie plants to a separate area. It's OK to stick a tomato next to the boxwood shrub, cucumbers on the fence, or some okra by the mailbox, if you have outdoor landscaping areas, as long as you can provide plenty of water as needed. There's no long-term commitment or planning necessary when hodge-podging veggies into the landscape because the veggie plants are virtually ephemeral, as far as landscaping goes.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
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Avatar for jay_californiagrown
Jun 22, 2021 9:54 AM CST
Sacramento (Zone 9b)
Thanks everyone, all of the information provided is very helpful. The plant is currently in a 5 gallon pot, I do have a 15 gallon one that I can put it in. I would love to do a raised bed, but the only reason I didn't was because I wanted to learn and start out small, once I feel more comfortable and know more I'll upgrade.

I used potting soil, maybe I am missing something? I will purchase some fertilizer to add when i re-pot it. Anything else I can add/do? I will cover the pot itself to reduce heat to the roots or should I do less sun exposure?

Thanks again everyone.
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Jun 22, 2021 10:50 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
Garden Sages Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Hummingbirder Foliage Fan
That is a very reasonable way to approach something new.

The aspect of gardening that it is more difficult to control a smaller environment like a pot vs. growing in the ground IS counter-intuitive. In particular, fluctuations in temperature have much more of an effect for potted plants than ground plants. In most of life's other aspects or activities, smaller environments are easier to control.

Another example is water. I don't know your climate, but it's possible I might go all summer without needing to water anything in the ground, vs. potted plants that, even if exposed to rain, could need water more often than rain provides. This year isn't one of those no-watering-needed years, but I've had them. If it never rains where you are anyway, it's a moot point, but can serve as another example of the additional challenge of pot growing vs. ground growing.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
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Jun 22, 2021 10:51 AM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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Sun exposure is good, hot roots are bad so leave your plant in the sun.

Depending upon what potting soil you used, it could already have a built in supply of fertilizer. Adding more would be a mistake. Read the bag. I use Miracle Gro potting soil and don't add anything at time at planting. Mid-summer I will have to fertilize but I use a slow release balanced fertilizer like Dynamite. I never use Miracle Gro fertilizer because its heavy on nitrogen. Tomatoes need something balanced or where the middle number (phosphorus) is slightly larger than the first number (nitrogen). If you do decide to use a slow release fertilizer, don't use Osmocote - in hot areas, the waxy coating melts too fast and overdoses the plants on fertilizer.

I assumed your plant was yellow because of the hot roots, not lack of fertilizer and I still think that. My comment about building a little raised bed was a trick those of us in the heat use to cool pots. Leave your pots were they are but walls of bricks around them - it looks like a raised bed but the plants are still in their pots. Its the insulating affect of all that mass you are going for. If you use a tomato cage, also invest in one heavy duty stake (I use metal with plastic coating) to put on the edge of the tomato cage to hold it up when the tomato gets heavy.

I do stick vegetables into my garden but, my garden is so jam packed, its hard to find an open space. Permanently chard, basil, oregano and borage.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
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Jun 22, 2021 10:57 AM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
purpleinopp said:
Another example is water. I don't know your climate, but it's possible I might go all summer without needing to water anything in the ground, vs. potted plants that, even if exposed to rain, could need water more often than rain provides. This year isn't one of those no-watering-needed years, but I've had them. If it never rains where you are anyway, it's a moot point, but can serve as another example of the additional challenge of pot growing vs. ground growing.


Sacramento is an irrigated desert with a delta influence. Hot and dry but nice evening winds (if you're near a river Smiling ) located in the confluence of the two major rivers in California. It only rains in the winter months - from spring until fall, nothing. Temperatures of 110 - 112 are not unusual, just unwelcome. Its my home town.

One more thing... a raised bed or pots may be the only option for a decent garden. The soil is hardpan and high in salts.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Last edited by DaisyI Jun 22, 2021 10:58 AM Icon for preview
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Jun 23, 2021 7:26 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
Garden Sages Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Hummingbirder Foliage Fan
TY, Daisy!
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
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Jun 23, 2021 12:17 PM CST
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Yup, no rains from about April to late fall, Oct.-Nov. Plus we are in a major drought, many counties now put on restrictive watering. (and I have 4 flats of new 4" plants, not the best time to add new things into the garden Glare )
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Avatar for jay_californiagrown
Jun 23, 2021 1:13 PM CST
Sacramento (Zone 9b)
Great insight, thank you all. I will be looking into raised bed and tomato cage. What I did for the time being is grabbed a decent size box and cut a hole to put the pot in to cover it from the sun, I will be looking into alternatives.

Is potting soil and mix the same thing just different name by different companies? Also, should I have the tomato plant get full sun from afternoon and on or earlier and shade during peak heat?
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Jun 23, 2021 2:01 PM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
Garden Sages Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Hummingbirder Foliage Fan
TY, Sue! I don't know how people can live in a climate like that. Kudos to all of you for doing so well and having the first plant at all!

I feel like the conversation has gone beyond anything more that I could offer to offer due to my lack of ability to wrap my mind around the setting, so I will fade into the background and wish best luck to the tomatoes. : + )
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try! Try to be more valuable than a bad example.
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Jun 23, 2021 2:36 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Just when I was going to mention the phenomenon of tomato fruits cooking on the bush. Hilarious!

Jay, yes potting soil and potting mix are the same thing. Read the label to compare. Some have added nutrients.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Avatar for Heuchera
Jun 26, 2021 10:33 AM CST
Name: Ruth Moxom

May I make a suggestion when you plant tomatoes?
Strip off the bottom leaves quite a ways up the plant.
Dig a deep hole and put a spoonful of crushed eggshells in the bottom and mix them into the soil.
I save eggshells all winter and run them through my food processor and grind them up.
The reason for adding them is because the calcium in the shells helps eliminate blossom end rot.
Then add a little seaweed or fish emulsion to a bucket and water them with this solution because the calcium causes a temporary shortage of nitrogen in your soil.
Planting deep allows them to form roots all along the stems, makes a stronger plant and cuts back on watering.
Then mulch heavily with grass clippings, chopped leaves or whatever you have to keep the soil moist, cut back on weeds and decompose.
The bottom leaves on your plant look like most do and they usually yellow and fall off anyway. The rest of the plant looks like it needs a little fertilizing, so water periodically with the fish/seaweed emulsion. (I'm an organic gardener so don't use chemical fertilizers.)
Your plant also needs a bigger pot. You can recycle large containers such as those big cat litter containers or whatever you can find as long as it has holes in the bottom for drainage.
However, my suggestion to strip the leaves and plant deeper would be the very first thing I'd do.
Then sit back and enjoy.
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Jun 26, 2021 1:35 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Your suggestion to bury the stem deeper is the only thing I would do.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Avatar for CBGC48
Jun 27, 2021 11:40 AM CST
Bandon, OR
My tomato plants in pots have yellowing lower leaves, and I assumed that was a result of overwatering. We get a lot of foggy, overcast days and it is always cool here, (today's high is 65). Also, we don't have many sunny spots here on the Oregon coast because there are trees all around our property.
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