Ask a Question forum: What am I doing wrong with my tomatoes?

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Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 15, 2017 11:09 PM CST
First time gardener here! I have three tomato plants right now, two with a lot of plant growth (no fruit yet, but blooms), and one very small plant from the same seeds which seems to be stunted. The two large ones have various sad leaves, with holes and whatnot. I water thoroughly every other day, when soil is dry. I'm using a "patio" organic soil designed for outdoor potted vegetables and they're living in plastic pots. The soil is very bark-heavy and dries quickly, especially in the Los Angeles sunshine. These photos are a few days old and feature the watering system I rigged up while out of town but I'm back now and they are removed from this system now. One of the plants is outgrowing it's stake, but seems strong on its own, although all three plants leaves seem a little limp. Stalks are solid though (decent breezes when they were babies helped, I think). What advice might you have for me?


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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Aug 16, 2017 6:34 AM CST
Spots look like leafminers.
Give blossoms a little flick of finger in early morning. To pollinate.
There still young.
There going to need 5 gallon buckets
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Susan B
East Tennessee (Zone 6b)
Charter ATP Member
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lakesidecallas
Aug 16, 2017 6:52 AM CST
Don't forget to fertilize, bark is said to tie up nitrogen from the soil, I've read.

http://www.nola.com/homegarden...
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Tomato Heads
Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Paul2032
Aug 16, 2017 7:07 AM CST
How old are the plants? They don't look bad to me, just young. Mine, planted from starts in May, are over 6 feet tall and really producing.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 16, 2017 7:44 AM CST
Philipwonel said:Spots look like leafminers.
Give blossoms a little flick of finger in early morning. To pollinate.
There still young.
There going to need 5 gallon buckets
😎😎😎


Sorry, what are leafminers?
And when should I repot into bigger pots?
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 16, 2017 7:45 AM CST
lakesidecallas said:Don't forget to fertilize, bark is said to tie up nitrogen from the soil, I've read.

http://www.nola.com/homegarden...


I just fed them a little organic tomato food a few days ago. Just a tiny bit though. How often should I be fertilizing and how much?
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 16, 2017 7:50 AM CST
Paul2032 said:How old are the plants? They don't look bad to me, just young. Mine, planted from starts in May, are over 6 feet tall and really producing.


I planted them from seed in late June. Would you say even the very small one that was planted at the same time still might shoot up? The two large ones keep growing every week, but the little one hasn't seen growth in several weeks. Sad
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer Tomato Heads
Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Paul2032
Aug 16, 2017 8:05 AM CST
We've missed one thing in this discussion. What seed did you plant? Were they patio, determinate, or indeterminate? That would determine the size of the plant. Small one may be just a runt..........
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 16, 2017 8:23 AM CST
Paul2032 said:We've missed one thing in this discussion. What seed did you plant? Were they patio, determinate, or indeterminate? That would determine the size of the plant. Small one may be just a runt..........


I had no idea, actually! I haven't a clue what I'm doing and didn't pay attention to what kind of seeds they were Sad
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Aug 16, 2017 9:20 AM CST
Leafminers are little bugs/worms that live between leafs. Eating middle of leafs. So spray doesn't kill them. Drench soil with neem oil mixture. And/or cut affected leafs off and put in tied plastic bag to trash.

Fertilze as per instructions.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 16, 2017 10:17 AM CST
Philipwonel said:Leafminers are little bugs/worms that live between leafs. Eating middle of leafs. So spray doesn't kill them. Drench soil with neem oil mixture. And/or cut affected leafs off and put in tied plastic bag to trash.

Fertilze as per instructions.
😎😎😎


How do I know if I have them?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 16, 2017 11:02 AM CST
krystenr1 said:

How do I know if I have them?


They feed beneath the upper and lower "skin" of the leaf, so you should be able to see them in the pale coloured areas under the surface. I actually think it is more like a leaf spot, there appear to be black dots in the middle of one of the spots which would indicate that, if it isn't an illusion of the camera. Any chance you can get a closer picture of that?

Edited to add, this picture shows what I mean:
https://www.google.ca/search?q...:
[Last edited by sooby - Aug 16, 2017 11:04 AM (+)]
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Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 17, 2017 10:19 AM CST
Here are some photos from this morning:


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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Aug 17, 2017 10:23 AM CST
Not to be depressing, but unless those a dwarf patio type tomatoes, those pots seem too small. 5 gallon tubs are a minimum for most tomatoes...
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 17, 2017 10:39 AM CST
Yardenman said:Not to be depressing, but unless those a dwarf patio type tomatoes, those pots seem too small. 5 gallon tubs are a minimum for most tomatoes...


Yeah, I was wondering that myself...but what of all these holes in the leaves? I'm worried the plants are heavily compromised and repotting will really take them out?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Aug 17, 2017 11:07 AM CST
krystenr1 said:

Yeah, I was wondering that myself...but what of all these holes in the leaves? I'm worried the plants are heavily compromised and repotting will really take them out?


The sixth picture down in your latest set of pics, to the right of your thumb, is the culprit for the holes in the leaves, a green caterpillar. Go on the hunt for him and his friends/siblings and squish them.

Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 17, 2017 11:26 AM CST
sooby said:

The sixth picture down in your latest set of pics, to the right of your thumb, is the culprit for the holes in the leaves, a green caterpillar. Go on the hunt for him and his friends/siblings and squish them.



Oh my gosh I didn't even see him!! Is just finding all of them and removing them sufficient? Or do I need to treat the leaves with something? Man, they sure do some damage...

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Aug 17, 2017 11:37 AM CST
That's why he's green, makes him hard to spot Hilarious! Find and squish as many as you can and make a note of the level of damage. If more holes appear then you know you missed one or more and can go on another hunting expedtion. My preference would be to go that route rather than spray since you'll be eating the tomatoes.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Aug 17, 2017 3:30 PM CST
You can Spray with BT, which is specific to worms, and won't harm other bugs. It won't harm people either, but it's easy to wash off.
Safer makes one called Caterpillar Killer, and there are several other brands as well. Just read instructions before using. In any event, don't wait until those little inch worms turn into huge tomato horn worms.
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 17, 2017 3:36 PM CST
ctcarol said:You can Spray with BT, which is specific to worms, and won't harm other bugs. It won't harm people either, but it's easy to wash off.
Safer makes one called Caterpillar Killer, and there are several other brands as well. Just read instructions before using. In any event, don't wait until those little inch worms turn into huge tomato horn worms.


Okay I'll take care of them this weekend! And as for repotting, how big of a pot do you guys think I need to repot into? And should I pinch off all of the flowers and some of the tiny new fruit in order to give the plant an easier time adjusting to being uprooted and put into a new home?

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