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Tomatoes going wrong - again!

MoneySeeker1
MoneySeeker1 Posts: 1,229 Forumite
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As per most years for the last few years - I've bought a few tomato plants locally that were sitting there outside a plant nursery or the like (in other words = good to go immediately, ie plant outside in the garden right that day and with no protection).

I've got various different varieties each time.

This year - I had yet another go. Bought 4 tomato plants - of 3?4? different varieties that were sitting there outside a shop about 2 weeks ago. Got them home. Planted them in the garden. Religiously watered each day. These look as if they are going to fail me as well.

I can't think that I'm doing anything wrong. They've been bought in this area (with its rainy/windy weather usually) and its clay soil and are therefore obviously suitable "brands for this area" (well they should be).

 They are obviously ready to plant straight out in the garden - as they were on sale outside a place (ie therefore hardened-off already as necessary - or there would have been a notice or advice or something saying they weren't and the customer needed to do it). Well they should be.

So what goes wrong each year?

I've still got those 4 plants in the garden - nice sunny spot (check) - and they haven't done a thing pretty much and are looking very sorry for themselves and I suspect they'll be going in the bin as well.

Any clues as to what is happening?
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Comments

  • MoneySeeker1
    MoneySeeker1 Posts: 1,229 Forumite
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    edited 27 May 2020 at 5:17PM
    Sounds like it boils down to "Just because they're here on sale in this area - doesnt mean they like it here in this area" then.

    So, presumably, the clue to dealing with it is to try and look up ones that do okay further north - I have a vague idea I saw about a type that is okay?/likes it? in Russia for instance and then put them in compost (not earth) and maybe it would work out next year. Trying to remember the name of that one I saw for Russia - think it might have been Latah or something similar...
  • greenbee
    greenbee Posts: 16,136 Forumite
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    It's also the soil. Bear in mind that there's a reason people grow tomatoes in grow-bags. 
  • -taff
    -taff Posts: 14,492 Forumite
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    Sounds like it boils down to "Just because they're here on sale in this area - doesnt mean they like it here in this area" then.
    Most people who grow tomatoes learn what conditions they like and supply them. Otherwise it's all hit and hope.

    Shampoo? No thanks, I'll have real poo...
  • Davesnave
    Davesnave Posts: 34,741 Forumite
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    I've never grown a tomato in the ground. Years ago I'd get away with growing in huge pots against a sheltered SW facing wall, but nowadays, with blight more prevalent I'd only grow them under cover. A deep bed in a polytunnel works for me, but I grow dozens and sell most of them.
    If it was just for myself I'd have a small greenhouse and grow 3 or 4 plants in that, like many friends do. They stick theirs in any old grow-bag, but when I grew in bags it was the big, black polythene pot bags which I filled with compost I made, rather than the horrible stuff in commercially sold grow-bags. Personal preference.
    Some varieties grow more quickly than others, but may have other faults. Latah is quick, but its habit is chaotic and it sprawls about. You wouldn't usually find it in a nursery. I used to grow a relative of it, get early fruit and then bump it off when others caught up. Now, I don't bother, because there's more to life than tomatoes!
    I don't recall the RHS growing tomatoes outdoors at Rosemoor. They have done peppers in raised beds....floppy low things though.
  • flea72
    flea72 Posts: 5,392 Forumite
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    Its too early for tomatoes to be outside.  It may be a sunny spot during the day, but overnight temps are low.  Sellers, bring them out from under glass during the day to sell and then bring them back indoors at night.
  • greenbee
    greenbee Posts: 16,136 Forumite
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    flea72 said:
    Its too early for tomatoes to be outside.  It may be a sunny spot during the day, but overnight temps are low.  Sellers, bring them out from under glass during the day to sell and then bring them back indoors at night.
    Mine are currently cluttering up the dining room as my greenhouse isn't due to be delivered and built until the end of next week! I have some outside in a growhouse which are MUCH smaller. I will probably end up with some taking a chance outside, but in a raised bed with imported topsoil, lots of compost and feeding. It's a while since I grew veg, so this year is going to be interesting.
  • pandora205
    pandora205 Posts: 2,934 Forumite
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    I've grown tomatoes outdoors in pots for the last few years with success.  My garden is south facing and usually a real sun trap though it is prone to wind at times.  I've started them from seed indoors, gradually hardened them off, then put them outdoors about this time of year.  I've kept an eye on the night time temperatures and brought them back indoors until they are routinely over 10 degrees.  This year I've just planted them out in raised beds.  I've mixed topsoil with compost, and added some rotted manure and slow release fertiliser for good measure.  I've been using horticultural fleece if the night time temperatures dip and would also use it if the winds are high.  So far they are all doing well.  I've even potted on a couple of unknown varieties that sprouted from my own compost which are really taking off.  The only problem I've had this year is that I got some of my seedlings muddled up, so I have half a dozen or so that could be bush or cordon but there is no way of telling just now.  I'll let them grown a bit and hope that time will tell!
    As mentioned tomatoes don't like it too wet so be careful not to overwater.  You also need big pots with good drainage (I used those flower buckets that Morrisons used to give away) if not planting in beds.  
    somewhere between Heaven and Woolworth's
  • Farway
    Farway Posts: 13,212 Forumite
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    As per most years for the last few years - I've bought a few tomato plants locally that were sitting there outside a plant nursery or the like (in other words = good to go immediately, ie plant outside in the garden right that day and with no protection).

    I've got various different varieties each time.

    This year - I had yet another go. Bought 4 tomato plants - of 3?4? different varieties that were sitting there outside a shop about 2 weeks ago. Got them home. Planted them in the garden. Religiously watered each day. These look as if they are going to fail me as well.

    I can't think that I'm doing anything wrong. They've been bought in this area (with its rainy/windy weather usually) and its clay soil and are therefore obviously suitable "brands for this area" (well they should be).

     They are obviously ready to plant straight out in the garden - as they were on sale outside a place (ie therefore hardened-off already as necessary - or there would have been a notice or advice or something saying they weren't and the customer needed to do it). Well they should be.

    So what goes wrong each year?

    I've still got those 4 plants in the garden - nice sunny spot (check) - and they haven't done a thing pretty much and are looking very sorry for themselves and I suspect they'll be going in the bin as well.

    Any clues as to what is happening?
    Too many assumptions there, and the one point missing is the shop just wants to make a profit not spend time and effort selecting the "right" plants for your area.
    If you want that you'll need to pay more & go to a real local nursery
    For most sellers of plants it's buy in & sell quick. Which is why you find tender plants on sale to the unwary at Easter even with frost forecast.

    Eight out of ten owners who expressed a preference said their cats preferred other peoples gardens
  • Alfrescodave
    Alfrescodave Posts: 990 Forumite
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    flea72 said:
    Its too early for tomatoes to be outside.  It may be a sunny spot during the day, but overnight temps are low.  Sellers, bring them out from under glass during the day to sell and then bring them back indoors at night.
    Depends entirely on where you live. I'm in Oxfordshire and my OUTDOOR tomatoes have been outside in raised bed for 3 weeks and looking very healthy.
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