Jessica
JessicaStoneTroy
Denver, CO
Post #: 90
Why don't I get as many tomatoes as other people I know? I have twelve plants and I am lucky to get two slicing tomatoes from them a week, and maybe ten cherry tomatoes. Meanwhile, my mother in law gets a big bucket full of tomatoes every week off of her 15 plants, and my grandma in Iowa is getting a bushel almost every day, she says, off of her six plants. It's unfair to compare Colorado to Iowa, I know, but my mother in law lives just 30 miles from me and her tomatoes are producing SO much more. Last year my harvest was even worse. I only got about six slicing tomatoes off of 15 bushes! That's not even one tomato per bush! The year before that I ended the summer with a butt ton of green tomatoes, but only a couple ever ripened during the growing season. This year the tomatoes are ripening, there just aren't many of them.
This year I got my tomatoes in February from Seed Savers Exchange. I kept them inside in the sunniest spot in our house until it was warm enough to plant them inside. I did attempt to harden them off by putting them outside on the more temperate days and nights as spring rolled in. I planted them in my garden the weekend after mother's day.
I amend my garden soil with compost I make myself. I also took care to till eggshells into the soil around the tomatoes all through the summer. I eat two or three eggs for breakfast every morning, so every morning one of my plants would get a dose of two or three egg shells. I also fertilized twice a week, and for the first few weeks kept my tomatoes in Walls of Water to keep them warm at night and growing. They are planted in a very sunny spot and probably see a good 8 hours of sun a day, maybe more. They are between my corn and peppers (my peppers also aren't doing great), planted in rows, but according to the square foot gardening guidelines so there's one tomato in each 4 square foot block.
What am I doing wrong? Or is there something else I should be doing? I want tomatoes! They're my favorite in the world, the one thing I would grow if I could grow nothing else, and I grow so many plants and still end up buying a bunch all summer. What gives?
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Lelija
lelija
Denver, CO
Post #: 1
I suggest you get a soil test--sounds like something is missing--OR--
Also--are your plants blooming? If yes --do you have insects and bees?
[you can be a BEE with a soft brush and/or a q-tip]

BTW if you still have green tomatoes -- the night before first frost cut the whole stalk and hang upside-down.
You'll have slowly ripening tomatoes for 2-3 months.

Next year try a different variety of seed--I'd look for short season (under 100 days).

peace,
Lelija
Melissa S.
user 19530091
Denver, CO
Post #: 1
I compost with worms and this is the first year I planted each plant with a scoop of worm castings. The results have been amazing. I am getting much more produce than previous years, including more tomatoes. If you are not interested in worm composting yourself I know you can buy the castings around town. ...just a thought.

Cheers,

Melissa

- I love the idea of cutting the stalk and hanging it upside before the frost gets to it to spare the remaining green tomatoes. Thanks for the tip!
Mark M.
user 14173898
Denver, CO
Post #: 1
Because tomatoes and peppers are in the rose family, they need acidic soil. I learned years ago to give them coffee grounds with the egg shells once a week (same for the roses). I also make sure they are aerated (garden fork or tree feeder) every few weeks so they get plenty of oxygen through the roots. Another trick is feeding them fish emulsion every two weeks, which is sold under the Alaskan brand in white gallon jugs (sold at most garden centers). It's made from fish guts and skin. Doesn't smell great for the first couple of days, but the results are well worth it. All of this gives us huge plants and over 300-400 pounds of delicious, juicy tomatoes from 3 plants through the course of the season. Another thing you have to remember is that tomatoes will drop flowers once the temperature goes over 92 degrees. Nothing you can do except protect them from the heat of the day by partially shading them and/or misting. Also, you may try to plant them away from corn (which is a competitor plant) and try yarrow which is beneficial and keeps aphids away. Hope this helps.
Tiffany M.
NewbieGardener
Denver, CO
Post #: 18
I suggest you get a soil test--sounds like something is missing--OR--
Also--are your plants blooming? If yes --do you have insects and bees?
[you can be a BEE with a soft brush and/or a q-tip]

BTW if you still have green tomatoes -- the night before first frost cut the whole stalk and hang upside-down.
You'll have slowly ripening tomatoes for 2-3 months.

Next year try a different variety of seed--I'd look for short season (under 100 days).

peace,
Lelija

I'm excited about the idea to hang the tomato plants if they aren't done yet when frost arrives. Ours are mostly all still green. Just one question, do we need to bring them inside, or is the garage okay, or is outside in the sun still okay?

Thanks!

Claire P.
user 14562060
Denver, CO
Post #: 6
Wonderful suggestions! All around! My tomotoes are doing pretty well, but certainly not as well as many of your tomatoes. But my biggest problem is squirrels! When we first moved in, our previous neighbor had been feeding pigeons and squirrels joined in the fun... After the neighbor moved, the pigeons slowly stopped coming around but the squirrel population has stayed relatively healthy. My heirlooms end up all over my and neighbors yard with a few chunks taken out (on that note, if well cleaned and cut out can you eat the other half?) and tomatillos stalks chopped down... I tried an expensive spray (similiar to the idea of urine but not made with any urine), which has somewhat alleviated the problem. But if not sprayed every 10 days it seems they move back in. I had heard of hanging silver streamers in the garden, too. However, I have not tried that one... Any other advice? Thanks ahead of time!
Jessica
JessicaStoneTroy
Denver, CO
Post #: 91
Thanks everyone!
I've tried that hanging upside down trick and it didn't work so great for me, but I also hung them in a dank basement, so maybe that was the problem.
That Alaska brand fish emulsion was actually exactly what I used on my whole veggie garden! No one in my house drinks coffee, so I'm not sure where I could get coffee grounds. Do you think if I went into a Starbucks or something they would give me some?
We're wanting to build a worm composter because we think it would be fun for our son. Also, my garden and compost pile is at my mom's house (which was also my house until I got married on the 13th and moved to my husbands house), there's not enough room for a full blown compost pile in our current house, so I thought a worm composter would be a better option for us.
I'm thinking I don't even want to grow corn next year. We haven't had the best luck with it, and we don't even eat that much corn. But I'll remember to keep the tomatoes farther from them next year if we grow it. Corn and tomatoes ended up next to each other this year because they both need lots of sun, so I put them both in the sunniest spot.
I don't buy tomato seeds, I buy them already grown. I don't have grow lights or anything for growing the little seeds indoors. Hopefully some day I will have some because seed options are so much better than plant options, but I'll make sure I'm buying short season varieties next year, I really didn't pay much attention to that this year.
Thanks again! And if anyone has any other ideas, please keep them coming!
Marsha
rugbymom101
Denver, CO
Post #: 6
Claire-
Concerning squirrels. My dental hygienist told me about a DEMON fat squirrel that has had the audacity to come into her house (her sons pushed thru the screen & they haven't replaced it yet-but taped it)-I think he even chewed thru the tape, jumps up to her kitchen counter and helped himself to the tasty-looking fruit in her fruit bowl. Made a huge mess! She has to watch him very carefully-he hides from view & is very cunning... so I suggested to her what my husband and I did the year squirrels were eating bark from our trees (very dry year I think?!). We rented trapping cages, put peanut butter on the trap, and caught the little beasties, 1 at-a-time, or rent several cages, but they may learn from their buddies... Then we'd drive wayyyyy out west and release them at Chatfield or somewhere like that. Don't recall if other squirrels picked up their habits, or if the season was coming to a close anyway, but this is something you can actively do to REMOVE them but legally and socially acceptable!
Jessica
JessicaStoneTroy
Denver, CO
Post #: 92
Ha ha ha! We caught a raccoon in our house several times. We forgot to close the door before going to bed (we didn't have a screen door) or leaving the house, and that damn raccoon would come in and steal food. That bastard stole bananas off our kitchen counter once! I was going to make banana bread out of those!
MzMyrhia
MzMyrhia
Denver, CO
Post #: 5
Hey, Jessica - I too used plants this year, instead of seeds. Did you check the tags to see if they were indeterminate over determinate? One gardener told me a determinate plant will only grow a predetermine number of tomatoes.

"...Tomato plants may be determinate which indicates that a flower group forming at the terminus (or extreme top of the plant). This terminal flowering keeps the tomato plant from growing any taller. Indeterminate plants grow flowers on lateral stems and continue to grow taller almost indefinitely. Most older varieties are indeterminate and prolific producers. Some newer ones are determinate but will produce earlier crops..." @ indepthinfo.com

By the way, congrats and best wishes.
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