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My plants are a bit tall, not bushy, but fruiting. Will the fruit taste ok?

by Ceeweed

Q. I don't know the variety of my tomatoes as the plants were given to me. I planted them in 5 gallon pots. They have grown tall but not bushy and have some yellowing leaves at their bases. The plants are producing flower and fruit. I have given them organic fish and seaweed fertilizer for nutrients.

I worry because they don't look the healthiest. The leaves are a bit light in color and the plants are not bushy. Does this mean that the fruit will not be tasty?

A. Great question! Several factors contribute to outstanding tomato flavor.

  • The soil. By far, gardeners agree this is a key element in tomato taste. Tomatoes are heavy feeders. Rich garden soil with significant added organic material contributes to tastier tomatoes. Fruit from the same tomato variety grown in sterile soil and then moved out into garden soil most often tastes better from the plants grown in the garden soil. The key is to make sure you amend your soil each season by adding compost and other organic material.
  • The variety. Some tomato varieties, particularly heirlooms, have a reputation for being more flavorful than others.
  • Watering. Deep and infrequent watering produces stronger flavors, evidently from the concentration of acids. Conversely, a season with extra rainfall often produces blander-tasting tomatoes.

As for your particular situation ...
Obviously you have no control over the type of tomato variety you received as a gift and planted. You didn't mention the type of potting soil you used for your containers. Nevertheless, you're doing a good job with applying rich nutrients to the soil regularly.

When it comes to watering, container tomatoes present a special challenge. They dry out easily and must be watered regularly. In order to boost the flavor in your tomatoes, try to water a bit less often. This will help concentrate the flavors.

Many tomato plants lose their lower leaves to yellowing, so this is less of a worry than you may think. The growth habit -- tall but not bushy -- may be natural for this variety or it may indicate that your plants are not getting enough light and are becoming leggy. Make sure they get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day.

If you continue with a strong organic feeding program, we feel confident you'll soon be enjoying tasty fresh tomatoes.

Good luck and happy gardening!
Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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