tmstclaire
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Location: Georgia

My first time growing tomatos and they are upside down

Hi all. This is the very first time I've every tried having a garden of any kind and I started it off with four hanging buckets and I planted them on June 11th. The plants seem to be growing fine, have doubled in size however my mother was over and wondered outloud why they had no flowers. On closer inspection, I found little buds growing but I have not seen any flowers. One bud is completely open like it should look when the flower falls off??? but I did not notice a flower.

So I did a ton of research and I think I planted the wrong kinds of tomatos to begin with and that the buckets are too small. My Question is can they be salvaged?

The plants get approximately 4 1/2 hours of direct HOT sunlight from 8am to 1:00 pm and indirect until about 4pm. I had not been watering them daily but just started within the last week or two and started watering them twice daily. I think I'm going to start watering them only once a day now as I have read too much water is not good. I've also been feeding them Miracle Grow for Tomatos liquid once a week. I give the two larger ones three cups and the two smaller ones 2 cups.

To get these to possibly produce fruit, should I be watering more often? Is it ok to spray the leaves to rinse the dirt off that dripped on the plant when watering and to keep the bugs at bay? Should I feed them more Miracle Grow as in a half gallon each or something like that?

I'm going to try and post some pictures to help. Thanks!

[img]https://img809.imageshack.us/img809/8334/maters2june11.jpg[/img]
By [url=https://profile.imageshack.us/user/tmstclaire]tmstclaire[/url] at 2011-07-12

[img]https://img837.imageshack.us/img837/4826/maters2july12.jpg[/img]
By [url=https://profile.imageshack.us/user/tmstclaire]tmstclaire[/url] at 2011-07-12
[/img]

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Kisal
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You need 5-gallon buckets. I can't tell for certain from the pics whether yours are that size, but they look like they are.

I also can't tell whether your plants are mature enough to produce many flowers. You have to give them a little time. Also, the flowers have to be pollinated in order to produce fruit. Insects do this, as a rule, and a breeze helps. too. You can gently shake the plants to ensure that pollination is taking place. The flowers fall off if they don't get pollinated.

I don't think the "kind" of tomato matters. All varieties should do fine. In general, however, most of us haven't had much luck with growing tomatoes upside down. I grow mine in containers, but I just use the regular kind that sit on the ground.

Yes, it's okay to rinse off the leaves, but use a gentle stream of water so you don't knock off any flowers or fruit.

I wouldn't use Miracle-Gro. Fertilizers too high in nitrogen can cause blossom drop. I see a product called Tomato Tone recommended here frequently. You might want to try that. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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rainbowgardener
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For all that fertilizer you have been pouring on them, your plants are still not very big. They are really just barely the size to be fruiting. So patience will help; if they grow more, they should start being more productive.

Agree with Kisal, of all the people that have written in here about growing tomatoes upside down, very few of them have reported success with it.

It is a small amount of soil, the sun is beating on the soil/roots instead of it being shaded by the plant. I think they likely will need daily watering because of that. And daily watering does mean relatively frequent fertilizing since you are flushing the nutrients out.

If you there in Georgia are having weather anything like what they are having in TX, it may be just too hot for them. Tomatoes really don't do well and don't set fruit once temps are in the 90's or so (depending on variety, there are some varieties that are bred to tolerate heat better).

If you have a different place to hang them, in your climate, this time of year, they might do better if they were protected from mid day sun and just had morning sun and/or late afternoon. Or if these really don't do well, you can get some new plants in a month or so and grow them through the fall and early winter (at that point, since days will be shorter and cooler, the more hours of sun you can get for them the better). Southern gardeners need to get used to different seasons than the rest of us. Summer is my peak growing season; it is NOT yours. But you get to grow things all winter, while I have nothing but snow in the garden.
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tmstclaire
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Location: Georgia

Thank you for responding

They are planted in 2.5 gallon bucks; I did not do enough research beforehand but now that I have, I want to try to salvage the plants as best I can. I'm not looking for a huge yield; in fact I would be happy getting a couple of tomatoes off each plant this being my first time and all. I'm surprised they did not die considering I bought the Better Boy and Big Boy plants in March and they all but practically died while living in their small little houses before making it to the planters. Again, I planted and hung them June 11th. I've only fertilzed them twice since then, a week apart and it was specifically for tomatoes. Says so on the box. :lol:

As for the weather, yes it generally in the high 80s to mid 90s this time of the year. They are not in full on sun all day, they get direct sun until 1pm then they are in the shade.

Here are pictures of some of the buds or flowers from each plant. Do these look normal? I don't see any yellow flowers and I haven't noticed any on the ground.

[img]https://img580.imageshack.us/img580/8463/marglobeonebuds.jpg[/img]
By [url=https://profile.imageshack.us/user/tmstclaire]tmstclaire[/url] at 2011-07-12

[img]https://img830.imageshack.us/img830/9364/marglobetwobuds4.jpg[/img]
By [url=https://profile.imageshack.us/user/tmstclaire]tmstclaire[/url] at 2011-07-12

[img]https://img19.imageshack.us/img19/7742/betterboybud.jpg[/img]
By [url=https://profile.imageshack.us/user/tmstclaire]tmstclaire[/url] at 2011-07-12

IMG]https://img844.imageshack.us/img844/5249/betterboybud2.jpg[/IMG]
By [url=https://profile.imageshack.us/user/tmstclaire]tmstclaire[/url] at 2011-07-12

[img]https://img844.imageshack.us/img844/5249/betterboybud2.jpg[/img]
By [url=https://profile.imageshack.us/user/tmstclaire]tmstclaire[/url] at 2011-07-12

What do you guys think about this game plan? Water once daily, about a gallon per plant in the evening. Gently hose of the stems and leaves of dirt and bugs after the water has run through. Fertilize weekly with the Miracle Grow increasing up to a gallon a plant as the plant increases in size. Gently shake them them in the AM when I make my rounds and talk nice to them and think positive!

I look so, so forward to your feedback! next year, I'm only planting peppers and strawberrys in the hanging planters and the rest of my plants in my cedar boxes.

tmstclaire
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:30 pm
Location: Georgia

One more thing...

If I stick my finger in the soil up to the knuckle, and the soil feels moist, does it need watering?

I did put cypress mulch on top of my soil to help retain water.

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rainbowgardener
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Patience! Yes, the buds look normal. They will develop into the yellow flowers. Buds first and then flowers.

If you posted the picture of the bumpy stem because you are worried about that, don't be. Tomatoes just do that. They can root all along their stem. When you transplant tomatoes (like from the little pots to the big ones), you should always bury them deeper than they were in the original pot. Then they will put out more roots along what was stem, giving them a bigger root system, which is good. But even without that, they will tend to put out little root nubs, especially at the base of the stem.
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SPierce
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rainbowgardener wrote:Patience! Yes, the buds look normal. They will develop into the yellow flowers. Buds first and then flowers.

If you posted the picture of the bumpy stem because you are worried about that, don't be. Tomatoes just do that. They can root all along their stem. When you transplant tomatoes (like from the little pots to the big ones), you should always bury them deeper than they were in the original pot. Then they will put out more roots along what was stem, giving them a bigger root system, which is good. But even without that, they will tend to put out little root nubs, especially at the base of the stem.
Thank you for answering my question about the bumpy stem. My large tomato is doing that, too, along the main branches. Crazy!

tmstclaire
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Location: Georgia

Rainbowgardener,

Thank you! I'm so happy to hear my plants look normal! I'm going to love on them right now. :P

I'm still concerend about picture #3. Is that a little tomato in there? it has some black on it. I tried to scrape it off hoping it as dirt but I think I might have messed it up. I hope that is not blossom rot.

So my routine for care sounds ok?

I'll post more pictures as they progress. Hope eveyone has a great day!

BP
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This is a reply to the thread Bobberman started that got locked and directed to this one............

I don't have the topsy turvy upsidedown one, but I do have the topsy turvy tree. With the tree, the plants come out of the sides instead of the bottom, but there is still a drain at the bottom. As for the question about nutrients/fertilizer/ water running out of the bottom- All I have fertilized with is 6-9-7 bone meal. It's in powder form. I sprinkle a little on top of the dirt and water lightly and slowly for the next couple of days. If you simply pour a ton of water in it fast, it drains right out (same as container if you don't have a water collector over it) so instead I pour very slowly and even take breaks so it soaks in good. I have super sweet 100, Brandywine, delicious, Pink girl and Better boy in it. I thought for sure that would be way too much, but I even have pickling cukes coming out of the top with one sweet pepper also. I have found that I have to water 2-3 times a day on hot days and fertilize every 10 days and I have a lot of tomatoes and zero disease.

tmstclaire
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Location: Georgia

Update on my plants

Well, we have had a very hot summer here in GA and I guess I've experienced some blossom drop or perhaps alot as the majority of my plants have had flowers turn brown and fall off and no tomato forms. But I did have some hope today when I spotted this: [url=https://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/593/dsc02806y.jpg/][img]https://img593.imageshack.us/img593/8417/dsc02806y.th.jpg[/img][/url]

I'm so happy. All my plants have blossoms and I'm hopeful that I will have more tomatos. I'm going to put some compost in the top of my buckets tonight to give them extra tasty nutrition.

tmstclaire
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:30 pm
Location: Georgia

Update on my tomatoes

The plant on the far right has done the best or produced the most but to date, I've only pulled a couple of maters off any plant. The second plant from the right, the better boy produced one ripe tomato so far and it had a split skin but I cut it off and ate it and it was yummy! All the plants have produced rather small tomatoes. My buckets were way too small and I probably didn't water them as regularly as I should have. This has been a great learning experience for me and I want to thank everyone who posted who gave me advice.

P.S. I had a bunch of army worms and tomato hormworms that I hand pulled and let the wasps get what I missed. Not fun! Going to get BP for next year!

[url=https://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/97/dsc03221db.jpg/][img]https://img97.imageshack.us/img97/7540/dsc03221db.th.jpg[/img][/url]

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rainbowgardener
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Glad you did get some tomatoes and learned a lot. So you will do better next year... it's always a learning experience, even for those of us who have been doing this a long time.

"going to get BP for next year" Did you by any chance mean Bt? Bt = bacillus thuringiensis, it is a bacterium that infects mainly caterpillars and worm like larvae and doesn't harm other things in your garden. BP doesn't mean anything to me in a garden context.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration



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