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Fruit Stopped Growing

I just started trying to grow tomatoes this year. I had to bring my tomato plants inside due to cold weather. (They are planted in 5 gallon buckets.) I have them in a window that gets morning sun. The tomatoes which were growing to about the size of oranges now only get to the size of a quarter and then ripen. The plant is still producing but only small tomatoes. Thanks for your help!

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I don't really know and maybe our tomato expert TZ will come along with a better answer. But I have to think it has something to do with not enough light. A window getting morning sun (which of course will just hit the plant from one direction, so you have to keep turning it each day) is WAY less light than being outside in full sun. Do they have to stay inside now, or was that just a cold snap and you will be able to take them back out? If staying in, I would think about some supplemental lighting.

Other candidates would be not enough water and not enough soil fertility. The nutrients in containers get flushed out by the watering and need to be replenished. Are you fertilizing? With what? If adding synthetic fertilizer, you need to look for tomato fertilizer that is high in the PK not Nitrogen.

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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

What Rainbow said. 8)

Also, East side of the house would be colder since it was in shade all afternoon the day before. Depending on how well insulated your window area is, the temperature there might be lower than you might think. Hang a Max/Min thermometer on the tomato plant (or maybe the bucket) and see what you have.

Green Thumb
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Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:44 pm
Location: Cincinnati

This is explained in the book "Lighting Up Profits," edited by Paul Fisher and Erik Runkle. Tomatoes need X amount (at least 18 mols) of good sunlight per day. That translates into nearly six hours of light that measures 50,000 lux. I'm in Cincinnati and in my south facing window the best I get in winter is about 60,000 lux and that is on a very sunny day - something we don't get a lot of. My readings typically are in the 45,000 range. The amount of direct light averages about 4-5 hours per day.


Super Green Thumb
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Location: Mid Ohio

We tend to over estimate light inside a house because out eyes adjust and we are usually looking at the source (window). To get a good idea of what light is actually hitting most of the plant stand outside a ways and look at the light level through the window. In most cases the house looks very dark in comparison to even an overcast day. Good light levels for plants tend to fade carpets, and the necessary window area is not good for insulation. Plants also get burned close to windows with full light due to heat buildup in the stagnant air.

I once lived in a corner apartment that had more window than wall. We couldn't afford to heat it in winter so my roomates and I just heated our bedrooms, and spent the rest of the time bundled up. Southern California is not warm in the winter time (40-50s F). I had all kinds of houseplants in bloom in that apartment (big Philodendrons, orchids etc.) but even those are technically shade and semishade plants in the wild.

Odd Duck
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:34 pm
Location: DFW, TX

East side sun will definitely not be enough to overwinter a tomato plant in our area. If you could get it in a south side window WITH supplemental light, you might get more fruit, yet, but I'm afraid you're fighting a losing battle to get much more than what you already have. You're plants will likely get paler and leggier, and the fruit smaller and smaller.

If you had a south facing bay window with a glass top, you'd likely be in pretty good shape.

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