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Lack of Tomato Production

by Art

Q. My plants have only produced 3 tomatoes. They have been growing in a 5 gallon bucket. I drilled two 2" holes in the side. The plants are growing out of the holes. Only 1 plant has produced the 3 tomatoes. No other blooms have produced fruit and they are turning black. The one plant started producing the 3 tomatoes over a month ago and they have only reached 2-1/2 " in diameter. Why aren't my plants producing more fruit? I live in FL. The plants are hanging in a gazebo where they receive direct sunlight about 4-6 hours each morning. I have recently started fertilizing with Miracle Gro®™.

A. You didn't mention your local temperatures over the last month. However, given your location, it's likely that your plants have been the victim of blossom drop.

Normally, after a blossom is pollinated, the flowers drop and fruit develops. But stress can prevent that process. Instead, blossoms aren't properly pollinated or fruit simply doesn't develop.

There are at least 5 conditions that can cause blossom drop: excessive heat (or cold), poor pollination, stress (inadequate watering), improper fertilizing, or too many blossoms.

Local temperatures consistently above 90 degrees during the day can induce blossom drop. Also, plants grown in containers need regular watering and feeding -- often watering at least once a day in heat and fertilizing every 7-10 days because nutrients leach from the soil with regular watering. You can also increase chances of pollination when tomatoes are surrounded by flowers that attract bees and other insects.

Find out more about blossom drop here.

Good Luck and Happy Gardening!
Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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