Potted Heirloom Tomato--BrandyWine

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I live in the Sacramento area and I have a large potted tomato bush. It has put on tons of blooms but all the lower branches of the plant have started dying off and subsequently the blooms are starting to die off as well. It's planted in a MiracleGrow soil, I water every other day and fertilize every 2 weeks. There are no apparent bugs but the main vine is starting to look dried out. I have had a total of 2 tomatos on the very very bottom of the plant that took almost a month to turn color. I don't know what to do for the plant. Does it have a disease and is there anything I can do for it? All of my other herbs in the garden and a bell pepper bush have done great--all potted.

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2002


Hi Cheri,

There are many things that can affect tomatoes in the manner that you are describing. You do not mention the size of the container but on the bit of information that you provide, I would guess that there is a combination of several factors all playing out.

First, variety selection. Brandywine tomatoes are great tasting but notorious for not setting a lot of fruit - even under the optimum growing conditions. You can sometimes improve fertilization by gently flicking the blossoms before they open. I usually try and do this in the morning and afternoon.

Unless you have a very large container, Brandywine is probably not a great choice for container gardening. They need enough root mass to support their large structure. Stress like this, along with high temperatures and lack of soil moisture can also cause blossom drop.

I would make sure that you keep it watered, try the mechanical manipulation of the flowers mentioned above, and hopefully that will improve things a bit.

Hope that this helps.

Mike D.

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2002

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