Vegetables and Fruit forum: Better Bush tomato issue?

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Southeastern NC (Zone 7b)
strawman
Jul 13, 2016 2:56 PM CST
I transplanted (3) store bought Better Bush tomato seedlings on June 9. They are in a 5 gallon bucket. I used MG potting mix mixed with about 1 gallon of composted Kow manure to each bucket as a growing media. I also added about 1/2 cup of bone meal, a tablespoon of epsom salt and 1/2 tablespoon of osmocote to the mix. The plants are dark green with nice thick leaves but the have not grown upward more than three to 4 inches since transplanting. They were nice and bushy, say about a foot wide. I noticed a small amount of fungus starting on the lower leaves and pruned those off but they are still fairly bushy. I spray them once a week with Daconil and this has arrested the fungus. A very few buds have formed and flowered on each plant. I add one gallon of Kow composted manure tea to each plant once a week and water as needed in between. The plants seem to be in good shape but they are just not growing much. I am also growing cucumbers, bell peppers and celebrity tomatoes in the same mix and same type of 5 gallon bucket and they are growing fine. I have grown Better Bush a few times without an issues. They usually have good yields and taste great. I am completely stumped. What do you all think? Suggestions anyone? Crossing Fingers!
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jul 13, 2016 7:34 PM CST
Strawman, your plant certainly looks healthy to me, and I can't see anything that you're doing that would keep it from growing... has your weather been unusually hot? If so, that could certainly be causing them to not flower temporarily. Better Bush are supposed to be "compact plants," but not quite THAT compact -- I wonder if the plants you bought could possibly have been mis-labeled and are actually a different variety (like 'Patio" or something).

Maybe @NewYorkRita has some insight to offer!
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jul 13, 2016 8:43 PM CST
Humm, I am wondering if your seedlings were mislabeled and are not Better Bush at all.
Southeastern NC (Zone 7b)
strawman
Jul 14, 2016 12:52 AM CST
I had not even thought about them being labeled incorrectly. I think you two may be right. This is the first time I purchased them from a store. I usually grow from seed and mixed up labels is one of the reasons why. I got a late start this year and settled for what I got. Live and learn I guess. I will keep an eye on them and let you all know what they end up being or close to it. I have had a great year for insects this year. Knock on wood..lol. I found two cucumber beetles and a couple of wheel bugs on my cucumber plants and that is it. I removed the beetles and left the wheel bugs. No insects what so ever on everything else. I did have a fungus problem on my Celebrity tomatoes but I believe I have arrested that. I may have enough time to plant a Better Bush crop from seed if I get on it right now. Thank you kindly for your replies. Take care and happy trails.
[Last edited by strawman - Jul 14, 2016 12:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
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Thomas75
Jul 14, 2016 2:13 AM CST
Hi @strawman, I have had various tomato plants "stall" on me after transplanting but never for a month. I had 6 Better Bush this year and they were very slow in growing in height but did increase in stem size and only grew to about 3-feet tall. From the photo the plants look to be about 1-foot tall now so 1/3 of their total overall height to maturity. I think they are OK, just look for any new leaves on the very top of the plants. That will tell you if they are OK.
Thomas75
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 14, 2016 4:58 PM CST
I love your tomato cages made of well-lashed-together sticks! Especially the bent circling sticks. Much nicer than a square-base-pyramid or triangular tipi cage.

I also love the (straw?) mulch layer on top of the bucket.

I is that an irrigation mainline running over the pot? Drippers or sprayers? That's exactly how I would do it if I curbed my Rube Goldberg impulses successfully.

Were they very root-bound when you bought them? Or had some kind of damage to the root ball? The above-ground parts might have been put on "hold" until the plant got its root system into good shape. If the soil type was VERY different from the store's soil, that might give some pause to root development. But not four weeks, I would think!

Does the green look "TOO dark" to anyone else? It might be the lighting, the light background, the camera, or my screen. Or my imagination.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Jul 14, 2016 5:20 PM CST
The green is dark but I would think that would be good.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 14, 2016 5:21 PM CST
OK, good!

Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
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ctcarol
Jul 14, 2016 6:10 PM CST
I'm finding that buying any veggi plants from stores is a crap shoot these days. It seems every year I get at least one mislabeled.
Southeastern NC (Zone 7b)
strawman
Jul 14, 2016 7:46 PM CST
I agree they are dark green and thick too. The root ball was about normal for a store bought plant. I cut the peat pot away from the root ball and tried to keep as much of the original growing media with the roots when I transplanted them. The irrigation system is a drip type. High dollar...$16.00 at wally world...lol. works well for containers. I planted some Better Bush seeds today. Hopefully I can get them going and get some tomatoes before our first frost which averages around November 15. Just not having good luck with tomatoes this year. I thought I had stopped the fungus on my Celebrities. I check them thoroughly everyday. When I checked them this afternoon they were ate up with it. Looked good yesterday. The Better Bush ( alias whatever) are getting the same fungus which I believe is Septoria leaf spot. My Bell peppers are doing good and I started my second round of cucumbers. Watermelons are doing fine also. So all in all life is good. Thanks for the responses so far.

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Jul 15, 2016 7:38 AM CST
I agree that they appear to be darker green than many tomato plants do, but some of the really short patio types that I've grown have looked like that.
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Southeastern NC (Zone 7b)
strawman
Jul 15, 2016 11:27 AM CST
Good point. Time will tell I suppose. The growth in the middle of the plant is very tight. If you were to stick your finger into it you would more than likely break off some of the very short limbs or buds. I was advised by an extension agent to prune out the middle to allow more air movement and help with the fungus. It is so tight in there it would be like doing micro surgery lol. I am just going to try to keep the fungus down and let em go. I like a good mystery.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 15, 2016 11:29 AM CST
Thanks! If I had seen that on one of my plants, I would have gone crazy trying to remember or find what plant and what mineral deficiency can cause "darker-than-expected green".

It might have become a multi-year project for me until I realized "That variety JUST IS very dark green!"
Southeastern NC (Zone 7b)
strawman
Jul 15, 2016 11:47 AM CST
I know what you mean. I started down that path last night trying to identify these tomatoes. Then I stopped myself and decided to take the wait and see attitude.
Here is a close up of the stalk where I have pruned the leaves to get rid of the fungus. Reminds me of a stalk of broccoli. Oh, lest I forget. Thank you for your compliments in post #6

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[Last edited by strawman - Jul 15, 2016 11:55 AM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 15, 2016 12:23 PM CST
You're very welcome. The lashings brought back my Boy Scout days, and trellises I've lashed together out of store-bought bamboo.
Southeastern NC (Zone 7b)
strawman
Jul 16, 2016 2:13 PM CST
"RickCorey" I recently moved to a heavily wooded area and if I wanted a garden I needed an enclosure to keep out deer. I realized I had all the materials I needed all around me and built a wattle out of saplings. The only thing that cost me any money was some twine.

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 18, 2016 11:05 AM CST
Cool!

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