zenful6219
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Location: Denton, TX

Lots of blooms - no tomatoes

I live in North Central Texas. I have 5 tomato plants (3 varieties) that are around 4 feet tall, with lots of blooms. Although the blooms are not falling off, I'm not seeing any tomatoes forming. Most of the blooms have been on the plants for around 3 weeks. I water (with a soaker hose) about once a day for around 30-45 minutes. I fertilize with sea weed extract once a week. Despite all my efforts, I obviously need advice. What am I doing wrong that I don't have any tomatoes?

opabinia51
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Well it sounds like you are overwatering for one thing. You'll have to stick your fingers in the soil to see if they need water but, Ideally you should be watering once a week for about an hour. But, there is no schedule to watering. Test the soil first.

There is a huge bee shortage in N America so that could be your problem as well. Try pollinating your plants by hand.
Feed the soil, not the plants.

Fresnotomato
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lots of blooms - no tomatoes

opabinia51 how do you pollinate by hand?

opabinia51
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Take a q tip and rub it against the flower (the anthers: the pointy things that stick out of the flower (like my scientific terminology) ) then move to another flower and dip the q tip into the depth of another flower to innocluate the style.

Works well, we have a member who grows tomatoes in Alaska during the winter. No pollinators up there that time of year!


However, this brings up a good point. Our overuse of poisons in our gardens and in industry and our overuse of fossil fuels leading to climate change and several other anthropogenic sources and cause problems (fungal overgrowths and so on...) have lead to an epidemic on local bee populations. Both introduced bees and native bees which we rely on to pollinate our gardens and our industrial food crops.

It's time we as individual gardens stepped back and examined we we each individually do and how it cumulatively affects the world at large. We need to stop using poisons in our gardens, stop using chemical fertilizers which kill the soil and soil inhabitants and start using organic and permaculture techniques.

Sorry to hijack your thread a bit here but this topic has come up numerous times already here and something needs to be said.
Feed the soil, not the plants.

Fresnotomato
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lots of blooms - no tomatoes

Thanks for the tip on pollinating. I have stayed away from chemicals in the garden and was told at the garden store that bud set was ok and not toxic. Smoke from the local fires have been keeping me out of the garden but I'll try to get in there before the temp hits the 100 plus. :)

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applestar
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:idea: Do you think that same smoke might be keeping the bees away???

zenful6219
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My grandmother says I should shake my plants (gently) to pollinate them. Is there any merit to that theory?

praying mantis
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I am getting alot of smoke and I have 1-2 bees in each of my many squash blossoms every morning. I seem to have a large assortment of bees in my garden. It makes me happy to give them a place to snack. My friend was watching a bee show on PBS that included a lack of diversity to weaken the bee immunity and general health. Here they were referring to commercial bee hives. I think I will have to read up on diversifying my garden for bees. I have flowers, most kinds of veggies and am organic. Perhaps there are crops that would help bees that I wouldn't otherwise consider.

cynthia_h
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I actually (hmmm) cultivate and encourage blackberries here at my house. In one area; all other blackberries are summarily dug out on sight. Bees absolutely love my blackberry flowers! And I get TONS of berries from about now until Labor Day or so.

And my lavender always has winged visitors.

As does my red valerian (don't get excited: this is NOT the sedative, as my herbalist girlfriend found out) aka Centranthus ruber OR Valeriana rubra OR Jupiter's Beard, a volunteer throughout our yard. I always wait until the flowers go to seed and turn fluffy/downy before I cut them back, because that's when the bees stop visiting. This year I cut them back around June 10th, one week after I remembered seeing the last bees visit them.

I'm not good at identifying bees beyond honeybee and bumblebee, but I've spotted at least three or four additional kinds of bee-type pollinators on my plants, AND--every now and then--a hummingbird or two.

So yes, encourage those pollinators as much as possible, everyone!

And, like others, I'm *also* waiting for my tomatoes to set fruit from all their flowers. The weather's been VERY hot then cool then VERY hot again then cold/foggy again, so the poor things might just be confused beyond their endurance.

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9/Sunset Zone 17

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applestar
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I had a similar thought about the weather affecting the tomatoes. I did notice that out of the three varieties I'm growing, Early Girl has been steadily setting fruit -- all still green, and so has Grape, but Brandywine flowers keep dropping. I FINALLY have a marble-sized green Brandywine. Similarly, my cucumbers are starting to fruit but the gourds and pumpkins have yet to flower.

I watched the news yesterday and they showed the smoke visible in the satellite images of the California fires. My thoughts go out to the affected families. :(

praying mantis
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Tomato-wise, my situation sounds similar to applestar. Early girl has 7 small to medium green tomatoes. Champion is still dropping blossoms. I have 4 orange tomatoes on my cherry tomato plant. Most plants are putting out fruit at varying quantities. My tomatoes have several issues besides the wacky weather.

Like cynthia_h, I have a popular lavender bush, sage bush, mint bush and lemon verbena. All are adult and house a large assortment of insects.

cheshirekat
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I think the pollinators are always happy to have a variety of plants to visit. Not all my tomato plants have fruit but look strong and are bearing flowers. A few have fruit that I'm eager to taste. The bees have 15 tomato and more than 15 pepper plants to visit, along with bee balm, roses, salvia, borage, many mints, squash, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, elderberries, etc. I see the bees all the time, so I think it's just a matter of time before I start seeing a lot of tomatoes. I think the cooler nights we have here are a hindrance at the moment, but those will soon disappear.

My experience in the past has been that the tomatoes all flower and set fruit at different times. That's why there are different DTM (Days To Maturity) for each type of plant. I try to stick with the 70-80 DTM range. By the time one bush has begun ripening a handful, they all seem to be in a race to catch up. Hopefully, I won't regret growing so many tomatoes at that time. Until then, I'm overly anxious and will probably stay that way until I can sink my teeth into a homegrown tomato.
"Love all God's creatures, the animals, the plants. Love everything to perceive the divine mystery in all." -Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Kisal
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zenful6219 wrote:My grandmother says I should shake my plants (gently) to pollinate them. Is there any merit to that theory?
This is what my grandmother taught me, too! And I can tell you that it definitely works! :D

Digthedirt
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Growing Tomatoes Forum

Zenful, I too had almost given up hope of tomatoes setting fruit then Bingo! Most of them suddenly have little ones.
I took a slender Artist brush today to pollinate my squash, cucumbers and Spaghetti squash. Hope it works. I believe the wind does a bit of pollinating too.
I have Borage in my garden to encourage bees.

Do any of you know about pruning tomatoes? I take out the suckers, but when it comes to cutting off leaves, which ones?
We are the caretakers of this planet. Let's do the job well.

zenful6219
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Sadly, it's been 10 days since I first posted about having lots of blooms, but no tomatoes developing. I've had blooms on my plants longer than that. I've been gently shaking the bushes at around noon each day. I've cut back watering to about every other day (with the 100+ F degree heat, I think they need it). I fertilize once a week with Miracle-Gro for Tomatoes. I literally have hundreds of blooms among the 5 tomato plants, but, still, no tomatoes are forming. Since I've cut back on watering, I'm noticing more yellow leaves, and it's tempting to water more frequently. I also have squash and cucumber plants (in Earthboxes), and I see bees buzzing around them, so I know there are bees. I just don't know what else to do to get my tomato plants to produce fruit.

wolfie
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Zen, did you start your plants by seed, or did you buy them somewhere? If you bought them, where did you buy them from?

I have a set of plants I bought from Wal-Mart, and the all have blossoms and very little fruit, they have yellowing leaves and are stunted in growth.

The one's I bought from my local nursery all have huge tomatoes, lots of blooms, great leaves and are growing way too tall that I had to stake them even with their tomato cages LOL

I think how you started them has alot to do with it.
Shan -
Who is learning to garden and loving every minute of it!

Digthedirt
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Growing Tomatoes Forum

Zenful, have you tried getting information from google? There are some great bits of advice out there. Call your County extension service and ask them about the problem. Sometimes the weather has an effect on whether or not tomatoes set fruit. It's a hit or miss. Have any blosoms dried up and dropped off?
Have you tried pollinating them by hand?
We are the caretakers of this planet. Let's do the job well.

zenful6219
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wolfie wrote:Zen, did you start your plants by seed, or did you buy them somewhere? If you bought them, where did you buy them from?

I have a set of plants I bought from Wal-Mart, and the all have blossoms and very little fruit, they have yellowing leaves and are stunted in growth.

The one's I bought from my local nursery all have huge tomatoes, lots of blooms, great leaves and are growing way too tall that I had to stake them even with their tomato cages LOL

I think how you started them has alot to do with it.
I bought my plants from Wal-Mart. and Lowe's

wolfie
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That may be part of the problem unfortunately
Shan -
Who is learning to garden and loving every minute of it!

that girl boo
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Texas Tomato

Hey Zenful
I live in central TX as well and I planted about 8 tomato plants. All of my plants were purchased from a nursery.
Two-pink heirloom
Two-black crim
Two-Arkansas travelers
One Cherry and One Yellow Boy

Two of the plants in my new box are really big and full of blooms, but I've only received three tomato's. In my older established box I have a yellow boy tomato plant that's about 4 feet by 3 feet wide. I have soo many blooms at least 50 yet I only have 5 tomatoes. The flowers aren't even falling off right away, they're making me suffer by staying on then falling off.

If you would like I will attach a few pictures, I know things are being pollinated properly because many other things are blooming, just not these darn tomatoes.

This weekend I'm gonna add some more compost, and see if that helps
right now I'm frustrated :shock:
love mother earth and she will love us

petalfuzz
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It might be the weather, too. I've got lots of blooms and more every day but no fruit yet. The only way to tell if it is fertilized or not is if there is swelling in the flower stem. The minimum time for fertilization is 48 hours, and if the conditions aren't right, then nothing will happen unfortunately.

SushiBunni
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I've had the same issue in the past. The first year of my garden experiment I purchased Wal-mart tomato plants and ended up with huge wonderful plants with tons of blooms but never any tomatoes. Since then I go out of my way to buy plants from Farmer's Markets, and local plant sales. I think that the bigger retail stores are more about quantity not quality when it comes to seedings. (Who knows where the seeds originated from?)
My current tomato patch is doing pretty good even with our North Idaho late start- due to an above average snow year. I actually have two ripe red Glacier toms that I should pick tonight and my Siletz Tomato plant has about 6 baseball sized green tomatoes at the moment. This year I have 8 verities and all are at different stages of tomato production. All of my plants are now purchased as seedlings from local sources, and I have treated all past plants and current plants equal-with the same watering schedule, the same fertilizer, the same bees and butterflies, planted in the same place-the only major difference was this year’s bad weather prolonged start, which has not much affected this year’s crop.
My suggestion is to avoid those lusty looking Wal-mart tomato plants bursting out of their biodegradable pots beckoning everyone with the $3.97 price tag (I have to fight the force of the tomato dark side every time I am near the garden center each spring). It is honestly not worth the time and energy. As for Lowes I can't say, but it sounds like the same situation.
One idea that might work for your current tomatoes is to shock your plants (tell them dirty jokes about manure-ha ha err ha). An annual's only goal in life is to produce seeds. Your tomato plants might need to be reminded of this. You could give your tomato plants a severe pruning which might shock them into production mode (I know that this works well with dandelions). :wink: It sounds like you have a couple of plants to experiment with, so I just wanted to add that I’ve read to water non-producing plants with apple juice. Not sure about that one, but who knows. Best of Luck to you, hopefully better luck then me with those horrid Wal-mart tomato seedlings.

PS if all else fails return those dang things back to Wal-mart and get your money back…
Please pretend that you just read something profound and enlightening....:-)

highridgejoe
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around here we are seeing a decrease in bee activity...might be part of the problem...

petalfuzz
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Growing plants from seed is so rewarding! I don't know why people buy unknown seedlings at stores. I loved pouring through catalogs and picking out the most attractive sounding seeds. I used a good seed source, had great germination, got healthy seedlings and now have vigorous plants with lots of maturing tomatoes. It requires more time/attention, but it is so worth it.

Side note: my M-i-L showed off her small garden plot to me, and pointed out her pepper plants. I said, "are they sweet or hot?" She said, "they're green peppers--like you get at the store." Totally different approach to growing plants than mine: I picked out my variety of sweet pepper after reading about dozens of varieties and weighed out pros and cons for each type including size, taste, days to maturity, etc. And my m-i-l is growing "the kind at the store." Ha, ha.

mbaker410
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Sounds like a little gardening competition between you and the M-I-L... lol j/k

I hear ya though on the reward of growing from seed. I have never done this and so far I have succeeded to get my tomatoes, peppers, cukes, basil, broccoli and jalepenos to be very healthy.

I have not gone the route of seed catalogs yet and bought my seeds from lowes with the exception of my black prince tomatoes. However I think I might want to do that next year or even soon to start my fall/winter crops.

Mike

fabulousmindy
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I grew beefsteak from seed for the first time and am having better luck on my purchased plants...but I got the plants from burpee

still waiting for the first red one. I will fertilize today...

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