Growing Tomatoes

Cherry tomato plants perform well in hot summers.

Several varieties of tomatoes are planted in this garden. Toward the front, Husky Cherry produces red cherry tomatoes for snacking while Roma bears larger, meatier tomatoes for canning. Indeterminate varieties are planted in the back.

Grow several types of tomatoes, both heirloom and hybrid, for different tastes and colors.

Tomato connoisseurs grow various types with differing colors and flavors. These are all heirloom tomatoes.

Sun-ripened tomatoes deliver the taste of summer in every bite. Just a few healthy plants will produce buckets of fruit. Tomatoes run on warmth; plant in late spring and early summer except in zone 10, where they are a fall and winter crop. Choosing tomato varieties can be confusing because there are so many, but it’s a good idea to plant a wide variety. Our article “Learn Tomato Terms” explains a few basics about terms like VFN (disease resistance), variety characteristics (indeterminate vs. determinate), and others to help you choose among the different ones. When growing tomatoes, varieties resistant to diseases are always a good choice because, of all veggies, tomatoes tend to get the most diseases.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Devote a prime, sunny spot to growing tomatoes. Plants will grow into a tall screen of green foliage studded with ripening fruits in mid- to late summer. Tomatoes need at least 8 hours of sun to bring out their best flavors, and you will need to stake, trellis, or cage the sprawling plants to keep them off the ground. Decide on a support plan before you set out your plants, then add that support directly after planting.

  • Space robust, long-vined, indeterminate varieties about 3 feet apart.
  • Stocky determinate plants can be grown 2 feet apart.
  • A single patio tomato will fill an 18-inch-wide container.
Choose a small determinate tomato like Better Bush to grow in a container.

Sometimes tomatoes in pots do better than those in the ground because of perfect soil and improved air circulation. Better Bush is a great variety for containers.

You can combine fast-maturing varieties with special season-stretching techniques to grow an early crop, but wait until the last frost has passed to plant main-season tomatoes. Tomatoes take up nutrients best when the soil pH ranges from 6.2 to 6.8, and they need a constant supply of major and minor plant nutrients. To provide the major nutrients, mix a balanced timed-release or organic fertilizer into the soil as you prepare planting holes, following the rates given on the fertilizer label. At the same time, mix in 3 to 4 inches of compost. The compost will provide minor nutrients and help hold moisture and fertilizer in the soil until it is needed by the plants. Or, in place of the fertilizer, feed your tomatoes with Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food when planting and every couple of weeks during the growing season.

Use a soaker hose to water plants well and to save water.

A soaker hose waters a tomato plant well and without waste. Once they're in place, cover soaker hoses with mulch.

To grow really strong tomato plants, we recommend burying two-thirds of the plant’s stem when planting. This crucial step will allow them to sprout roots along the buried stem, so your plant will be stronger and better able to find water in drought. Please note that this deep-planting method only works with tomatoes (and tomatillos), not other veggies.

Cover the ground with 2 to 4 inches of mulch to keep down weeds and keep the soil evenly moist. Straw and shredded leaves make great mulches for tomatoes. If summer droughts are common in your area, use soaker hoses, drip irrigation, or other drought-busting techniques to help maintain even soil moisture – the key to preventing cracked fruits and blossom-end rot.

As summer heats up, some tomatoes have trouble setting fruit. Be patient, and you will start seeing little green tomatoes again when nights begin cooling down. Meanwhile, promptly harvest ripe tomatoes to relieve stressed plants of their heavy burden. If you live in an area in which summertime temperatures are typically in the 90s, be sure to choose some heat-tolerant tomato varieties, bred for their ability to set fruit under high temperatures.

Tomato plants have long, deep roots.

If you plant a tomato deeply and in good soil, it will develop a big, deep root system that makes the plant stronger and more drought tolerant.

By late summer, plants that began producing early in the season will show signs of exhaustion. With just a little effort, you can rescue those sad tomato plants by pruning away withered leaves and branches. Then follow up with liquid fertilizer and treatments for leaf diseases or insects, if needed.

Troubleshooting

If your tomato plant is not setting fruit, it’s likely because the weather is too hot or too cold for the tomato flowers to produce fruit.

Tomato blossoms can be temperamental. If it gets too cool (below 55˚) or too hot (above 90˚), the flowers of most varieties will pause from setting fruit until the temperature is back where they like it.

Humid weather creates ideal conditions for fungal diseases like early blight, which causes dark spots to first form on lower leaves. Late blight is a more devastating disease that kills plants quickly; the only way to control it is to protect against it by spraying the leaves with an approved fungicide such as chlorothalonil or copper, and to keep the garden clean of tomato and potato debris. Of all crops, tomatoes are the most likely to get problems, but many hybrids have been developed that resist the most prevalent diseases. (Check your variety description in our online catalog to see what diseases it might be resistant to.) Often diseases tend to be worse in one region of the country and practically non-existent in another, which is why it’s important to have varieties suited to your area. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for pests. In mid-summer, for example, big green caterpillars called tomato hornworms eat tomato foliage and sometimes damage fruits. One or two hornworms can strip a plant leafless.

Check out our article on Tomato Quirks for more troubleshooting information.

Harvest and Storage

Know what the mature color of your tomato variety should be in order to know if your tomato is ripe.

This cluster of tomatoes shows several stages of ripening. Tomatoes ripen to different colors depending on the variety.

As tomatoes begin to ripen, their color changes from vibrant medium-green to a lighter shade, with faint pink or yellow blushing. These “breakers,” or mature green tomatoes, can be chopped into salsas, pickled, or pan-fried into a crispy appetizer. Yet tomato flavors become much more complex as the fruits ripen, so you have good reason to wait. The exact signs of ripeness vary with variety, but in general, perfectly ripe tomatoes show deep color yet still feel firm when gently squeezed. Store picked tomatoes at room temperature indoors, or in a shady place outside. Never refrigerate tomatoes, because temperatures below 55° cause the precious flavor compounds to break down. Bumper crops can be frozen, canned, or dried for future use.

Download our How to Grow Tomatoes instructions. They are in .PDF format.

FAQs

Your plant tags say to plant tomatoes deep: two-thirds of the plant underground. Is that really a good practice?

Yes, we recommend this because the more plant you put under the soil, the better the root system. The buried stem of a tomato plant will sprout roots. However, this is not true for all vegetables, only tomatoes and tomatillos.

The tag says full sun, but in Arizona with temperatures reaching over the 100 degree mark, is that going to be an issue with this plant?

We recommend that you give your tomatoes some afternoon shade in summer. They need some relief.

What is meant by “maturity is reached in __ days”?

The maturity is the number of days from planting the seedling until the fruit is ready to pick. This varies a little with weather and region, but the “days to maturity” is a good way to see what will be ready early, mid, and late season.

What size cage should I use for my tomato plants?

Most tomatoes work best with a 5- to 6-foot trellis, stake, or cage. Buy the largest cage possible or make your own from concrete reinforcement wire. The vines of indeterminate tomatoes can get longer than 6 feet, but just let them climb to the top and droop over and down if that doesn’t bother you. Otherwise, you’ll be harvesting with a ladder!

When the plant says full sun, what exactly does that mean?

Full sun means no shade all day, but in many cases in the summer, that’s too much. In hot climates, herbs and some vegetables appreciate a little shade in the mid to late afternoon.

Is it a good idea to always stake or cage my tomatoes?

Yes. Staking tomatoes helps to increase yield and prevent rotting and diseases.

Can I plant one tomato plant in a five-gallon bucket on my patio? How large should the container be for a tomato?

Yes, a 5-gallon container is the minimum size for a tomato plant. A container should be at least 18 inches wide at the top for a tomato, preferably 24 inches for an indeterminate tomato plant. Also, make sure your container has drainage holes.

What do the letters VFFN stand for in the names of your tomatoes?

These letters represent problems that a variety resists, which means that it should not succumb to the problem. V=Verticillium wilt, F and FF=Fusarium wilt races 1 and 2, A= Alternaria leaf spot. The N is for nematode resistance; nematodes are not a disease, they are tiny eel-like pests that ruin roots. There are other designations, too, which are included in the tomato variety descriptions in our online plant catalog.

Is there such a thing as nematode-resistant tomato plants?

Yes, many varieties are resistant to nematodes. Look for the “N” after the name, which stands for nematode resistance. To find these varieties, check the catalog section of our website. Our tomato descriptions list plants’ resistance to nematodes and other problems.

Should I be pruning off the lower branches of my tomato plants? How far off of the ground should the lower branches be?

Pruning is not necessary, but some people do it to keep soil that might harbor diseases from splashing up on the leaves; 12 to 18 inches from the ground ought to do it.

Is it true that pinching off the flowers on the tomato plant helps it to produce more fruit?

It will not help production, but it could increase the size of the tomatoes left on the vine by a little bit.

I just planted my tomatoes and found out that it is too early. Should I put something over them to protect them at night?

Your tomatoes should be okay if you cover them to protect them from frost and cold, strong wind. Don’t let the foliage touch the cover unless it is a material that doesn’t transfer the cold easily, such as bonded polyester row cover, a cardboard box, or a blanket. Avoid metal cans or plastic unless it does not touch the plants.

What causes tomatoes to turn black on the bottom?

They call that blossom end rot. It is thought to be caused by lack of calcium and drought stress. One way to add calcium is to lime the soil. This will help future crops. To help the current crop, purchase a calcium solution, such as Stop-rot, that you spray on the plants.

Do I have to replant tomatoes every year, or do the plants come back when the time is right?

Tomatoes are annuals that are killed by frost. They need to be replanted each year.

186 Comments

Mary

It’s May 23, 2013 and I am writing you from Savannah, GA. I just purchased some tomato plants from a local nursery and am planting them in containers on my deck. What type of soil and fertilizer should I use? This is my first tomato growing venture. Any helpful hints would be greatly appreciated.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Mary,
Great choice, tomatoes grow well in containers. Be sure the containers are large enough to support the tomato plant. A container about 24 inches in diameter is recommended. A well draining potting mix is great to use for container gardening. There are many mixes available, this article from the Bonnie Plants library will give you direction on choosing a mix. Try mixing a time released fertilizer in with the mix (some potting mixes contain a slow release fertilizer). Follow up with a water soluble fertilizer to keep container veggies healthy. Hoping for many tomatoes for you this summer! – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Laura Mokhtari

I live in Nashville, TN. My husband is a huge tomato person so this year I planted several plants for him. One is a heirloom and the others are hybrids. It has not gotten too hot here yet only high 80s so I dont think they are heat stressed. They just dont seem to be thriving. A couple of them just look a bit yellowish and pitiful. All of them have had blossoms and today one has a little bity tomato on it. I do have a layer of mulch over them and we water every other day if it doesnt rain. What am I doing wrong?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Laura,
What types of fertilizers have the tomatoes been given? An overall yellowish hue is a good indication that the plants need fertilizer. Try a liquid ferilizer for vegetables to try and speed up their recovery. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

carol kobus

so far so good, planted my first squarfoot garden. 1 4-4 and 1 6-6. all tomatoes in one. lots of blooms, and small tomatoes. have 4 plants in buckets. buckets do dry so much faster than the sq. ft gardens about 3 plants in garden have yellow bottom leaves. so far I,ve just removed them. where I live is virtually no sunny place. but a tree got cut down in my front yard , giving me sufficient sun so my sq. foot garden was born. planning more “crops” this year carol kobus

Danielle Carroll

Hi Carol,
Would love to see your handiwork. Upload a picture to the Bonnie Plants facebook page if you get a chance. Way to Garden! – danielle, Bonnie Plants

LONNIE FULLER

DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT EARLY BLIGHT ON TOMATOS AND HOW TO CONTROL IT ? I HAVE TRIED DIFFERENT CHEMICALS WITH LITTLE SUCCESS. THIS YEAR 2013 I PLANTED 62 PLANTS AND THEY ARE DARK GREEN AND HEALTHY WITH TOMATOS ON THE VINES. SOME PLANTS ARE BEGINING TO SHOW SIGNS OF BLIGHT. I AM TRING SOMETHING DIFFERENT RIGHT NOW DRUING MAY I AM USING PER GALLON OF WATER 2TABLE SPOONS OF EACH BAKEN SODA LIQUID SOAP AND VEG OIL. DO YOU THING WILL HELP. I READ ABOUT THIS ON THE WEB. I HAVE TRIED DIFFERENT PLANTING LOCATIONS AND STILL HAVE PROBLEMS WITH BLIGHT. THAT WHY I PLANT SO MANY TOMATOS.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Lonnie,
Early blight or Alternaria is an annual fungal disease of tomato plants – when the weather is right! I have already begun trimming off my lower tomato branches and stay away from overhead irrigation. Although, the buckets of rain my garden has been receiving has really started to kick up summer fungi! This is a chart from the Alabama Cooperative Extension system with fungicides (both organic and synthetic) for control of some of the common veggie garden diseases. Note that fungicides are protectants – they protect leaves, they do not ‘cure’ them. Read all labels…lables do change, just make sure tomato is listed and follow the instructions. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Karen Armstrong

Why are the leaves on my tomato plants turning into them-selves. Is it too much water or not enough. they are shriveling up.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Karen,
If the leaves are shriveling up, they may not be getting enough water. Try these watering tips from the Bonnie Plants online library. If the tomato leaves are are cupping inward, it may be a physiological leaf roll. Tomato leaves will do this when they are stressed (temperature, water, environmental stress. There is a picture of this in this Clemson Extension publication. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Lori

Regarding planting in pots: It seems the recommended wisdom has always been is to plant tomatoes in LARGE pots – ie. at least 5 gal. (for ind. varieties.) Of course, planting deep is best, and they certainly shouldn’t get root-bound. Yet, when I pull the plants out at the end of the season, the root ball is relatively small. (See your picture in this article, above.) This is true even when planted in the ground. So, I am wondering why a container so much larger than the root ball is a good idea. Thank you!

Danielle Carroll

Hi Lori,
Tomatoes root up and down the stem – the reason for planting deep. Sometimes in the summer, you can see the root primordia growing from the stem! When these roots on young stems come out, its great to give them a place to grow. Tomato roots can fill a 5 gallon bucket quickly in areas with long growing seasons. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

kiegan

On my Husky Cherry tomato I notice it keeps on losing limbs.I have been giving them water and sun, is there something wrong?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Kiegan,
If the tomato plant is loosing entire limbs, something is wrong. Do you have any animals that may be nibbling the plants when you are not looking? The deer in my area had a feeding frenzy in my tomato garden one year – even though they are in the nightshade family. Take advantage of the Bonnie Plants Ask an Expert site where you can upload pictures of the plant for a better diagnosis :) – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hello Crystal,
Plant them like you would any other tomato plant. Bury the plant up to the first set of leaves or 2/3 deep. For tomatoes grown in biodegradable peat pots, be sure and plant them according to these directions. -danielle, Bonnie Plants

Frankie Herrera

hello, im wondering why my huskie tomatoes r getting brown spots on my tomatoes when there barely starting to grow fruit. what should i do to stop the brown spots .

Danielle Carroll

Hi Frankie,
You may want to upload a picture to the Ask an Expert page so we can get a better look at it. But if your young green tomatoes are getting brown spots on the bottom or flower end of the tomato, odds are your tomatoes are suffering from blossom end rot. You can read about it and see pictures (as well as how to rememdy blossom end rot) here. -danielle, Bonnie Plants

Nicky

Hi,
I’m looking for small bite size cherry tomatoes. Not the big 1.5 or 2 inch diameter ones, but the small 3/4 inch diameter ones… Do you have them?
thanks,
Nicky

Tabitha schmaltz

Hi! I just brought home 3 tomato plants from my local big box, and I think I may have made a planting mistake. All are in containers as I rent, but I planted a German queen and a big beef in a 40 gallon container (homemade self waterer) and the Goliath bush in a separate 5 gallon bucket. Is this going to be a problem?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Tabitha,
That sounds great – your tomatoes have plenty of room to grow! – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Rob

Hi again! So everything has been in the ground for 3 weeks now and I noticed about 10 days ago most of the plants I put in the ground were struggling. I was impatient and planted before doing a detailed soil test and once I did the pH, nitrogen and phosphorous were realllly low, potassium was high FYI. I added some pellets of lime to help the pH and I decided to use the Bonnie Plant food every 5-6 days. It has really done a great job! Since I was feeding them I figured I might as well feed the ones in pots as well. My 3 transplants in pots have grow a lot and have really really think trunks and deep green branches and leaves but ZERO flowers or buds. Is this a result of too much nitrogen, and/or what do you recommend to get them to start flowering?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Rob,
If they have only been in the ground for 3 weeks, I wouldn’t be worried. If they are green and healthy, hold back on the fertilizer and I’ll bet you have blooms (and fruit) soon. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Gina

I live at the jersey shore area. Lots of sandy soil. I add some miracle grow bagged soil to all my tomato plants but I’ve noticed over the years that the plants do well, producing a good amount of tomatoes but the plants are never full/bushy like seen here on your website. The do get tall though. Any suggestions? The past two years I’ve had problems with green horned caterpillars too!

Danielle Carroll

Hi Gina,
Great to hear about your bountiful harvests. How much sun do your tomato plants receive? Plants that do not get at least 6 full hours of sun everyday will produce tomatoes, but the plants may stretch and become tall and lean. Aghhh…the tomato horned worm! If you are only growing a couple of tomatoes, the best remedy is to look at your plants everyday and hand pick them. It is one control method that is 100 percent. You can also use insecticides available in the home garden department like Bt, or Bacillus Thuringiensis, a natural insecticide. (A common brand is Dipel.) Other insecticides are available as well. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Patty W

Help me, please! Today, my 5th grader brought a little tomato plant home from school. I do not know what kind it is. I live in Bothell, WA. From what I’ve read on your site, tomatoes need full sun…am I doomed? Weather is mostly overcast, and even in the summer, the hottest temp averages about 75. btw, I live in an apartment so the tomato will soon be replanted into a pot. Thank you!

Danielle Carroll

Hello Patty,
Tomatoes thrive at temperatures in the 70s :) Is there a place on the patio to place the container tomato outside? You are right, it will need at least 6 hours of sun per day to thrive and produce. Here are more tips on watering and fertilizing veggies in containers. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Mitch

Hi, I live in Brooklyn, NY. I purchased a couple tomato plants about a month ago from Home Depot. A Husky Cherry Red and a Golden Jubilee. I might have put them in the ground a bit early. We had a few nights that went below 40, the coldest was 37. The nights have been more in the high 40’s to 50’s (Daytimes in the 50’s-60’s) since but the tomatoes don’t seem to be growing at all. They look OK but don’t seem any bigger than when purchased. The Husky plant is flowering even though it is only about 8″ tall. Have these been stunted by the cold or is it just still too cool to see much action yet?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Mitch,
If the air temperature is that cool, the soil temperature is probably lower – too low to see any growth on the plants. When the weather warms up, you will see your tomatoes growing. Try covering them at night to give them some protection from these cold temperatures. Upside down milk jugs or 5 gallon buckets can work wonders. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hello Shari,
Epsom Salts is magnesium sulfate. It has been used by gardeners for years around vegetable plants. However, unless your soil is deficient in magnesium, I do not see a reason to add it. Powdered milk is used as a calcium source to alleviate blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency. Adding calcium may help, but it’s the soil pH and soil moisture that have an affect on calcium uptake. Read more on blossom end rot and and tips to overcome it here. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Mary Gaston

I purchased the Super Sweet 100 Tomato. Can I grow it in a container so that it cascades down?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Mary,
You can grow these tomatoes in a container so it cascades down. You would want a container at least 5 gallons in size – and one that hangs. The ines of a Super Sweet 100 Tomato can get 8 feet long. Allowing the plant to grow along the plant will increase the risk of diseases and insects (as well as spoiled fruit). The tomato plant may be better off with a cage or stake so that it doesn not grow along the ground. Other varieties such as Sweet -n- Neat tomato are well suited to a container due to their smaller size. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Pete Jones

Does cool weather case browl places on leaves of bhm 602 tomatoes?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Pete,
Frost damage will likely cause off color wilty leaves on tomato plants. There could be many other causes as well. Take a look at the Tomato Problem Solver from Texas Extension for comparison. You can upload a picture to the Bonnie Plants Ask an Expert site too if the problem continues. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hi Summer,
You can use small cans to catch the water and measure. Let the soaker hose run until the ground is moist about 5 – 6 inches down. This encourages deeper roots. You can mulch on top of the soaker hoses too. This not only cuts down on weeds, but helps keep the soil moist. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Summer Magnuson

Thanks Danielle,
I’ve started 32 tomato plants from seeds and they are doing well. How tall should they be before they are ready for the garden? I live in So. Alabama and we already have low 60’s at night and 76-82 in the daytime.

Danielle Carroll

Summer – a good, healthy transplant is about 6 – 8 weeks old. Good Luck!

Les

Hello,

I’ve been growing tomatoes with limited luck for a few years,
this year I have two raised beds with a 50/50 mix of topsoil and compost, my 5 tomatoe plants are doing great! I would like to know if I am using the right feritilzer, I mixed Osmocote Smart release plant food in the soil prior to planting and then I fertilize with Bonnie herb and vegetable plant food once a week per the instructions, am I over feeding? Am I giving the tomatoes enough, do I need to give them something else as well?
thanks! and great Site I research alot of the information you have on here!

Danielle Carroll

Hi Les,
Look at the label on the Osmocote plant food to see how long the fertilizer lasts. The smart release type of fertilizer release nutrients slowly over a longer period of time. You can start fertilizing again when the slow realease fertilizer is gone. Bonnie Herb and Vegetable Plant Food is a very mild fertilizer! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Les

Danielle,

hi and thanks for the reply, I checked the label on the osmocote plant food and it states that it lasts up to 4 months, and it is a 14-14-14, even though I added this to the soil when I planted can I still add the Bonnie herb and vegetable plant food?
Everything is growing great by the way and I have a total of 5 tomatoe plants, garden beans, califlower, potatoes, sweet corn and cucumbers and bell peppers and they all seem to be thriving…

Danielle Carroll

I would hold off on adding additional fertilizer for a month or so. Over fertilizing can lead to great green growth, but poor fruit growth. If you see any signs of yellowing – it could indicate a fertilizer deficiency – so I would go ahead and give them some more food. Bonnie Herb and Vegetable Plant Food is very mild, but let’s let your inital fertilizer give the plants their first boost! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Thomas klitch

Simple question, on seed packs an plans for sale
what is the difference fromm cherry tomato’s 100 & 100?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Thomas,
Are you wondering about the difference in Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes and Super Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato? Super sweet 100 cherry tomatoes is an improved cultivar of the Sweet 100. It has the same sweet taste, but more disease resistance. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

JACK kESSLER

IM A SNOW BIRD TO START BOUGHT YOUR BRANB OF TOMATOES ,DID GREAT AT FIRST, BUT AS THEY RIPENED THEY STARTED TO GET BLACK AND BROWN ON THE BOTTOM. THE ONES I BOUGHT WERE BEEF TOMATOES. DID I OVERWATER OR NOT ENOUGH VITAMINS/? I pulled a lot off before they rotted and tasted good. they were planted in a large pot.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Jack,
Sounds like your tomatoes were suffering from a condition called blossom end rot. This is an entire page devoted to conquering blossom end rot. Rememeber to soil test and avoid water stress. Most bagged potting mixes for vegetables are within a good pH range.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Jim

My recently planted Bush early girls have developed yellow spots on the leaves. Some are planted in Earthbox and some in plastic pots. Any causes that you know?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Jim,
There are a few causes of yellowing of leaves – nutrient problems, insect damage, common fungal diseases, and other stresses. Feel free to send a few pictures to the Bonnie Plants Ask an Expert site. Add details like the location of the spots (bottom leaves? upper?) and how they are fertilized and watered. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Carlos Walker

It’s April 7th,I want to put my tomatos out,The problem is I have a Big Pecan Tree in my back yard and I live in the city where the pesky squrriel is protected.Can I plant them in 5 gal. buckets, they are Bonnie Celebrity’s.Its man against rodent.By the way I live in Ar and there are to many to trap and as I said they are protected and even B.B. and pellet guns are not permitted in our town.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Carlos,
You sure can! Be sure the buckets have plenty of drainage and a good potting mix is used. Containers tend to dry out faster in the warmer temperatures so be sure and water when the top inch or so of soil has dried. See these articles on container gardening for more tips. I use 5 gallon buckets as well. Let us know how it works for you.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Maureen

I bought seedlings and they are crowded. What is your suggestion for properly thinning? Should I just snip to soil level unwanted plants? I’m using a half wine barrel so large. Can I support more than one plant? I do have a tomato cage.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Maureen,
Yes, you can snip to soil level any unwanted plants. In a half whiskey barrel, you can grow 2 smaller, determinate tomatoes or 1 larger indeterminate type. With the smaller tomato plants you can use a stake in the container. Use the cage for the larger tomato plants.
Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Barbara Shockley

How often should you use a bloom set on my tomatoes? We have a few different varities and they are constantly putting on blooms and a few tomatoes are starting to grow. Do I use the bloom set each time there are new blooms or just on the first ones that come out. We used a solution from The Old Farmers Almanac ofEpsom salt and water. Hope this is ok. We could not find any premixed solution in stores here.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Barbara,
What is the temperature in your area? Tomato flowers may not pollinate themselves when the temperatures are still cool – below 55 F at night. If this is the case, tomato flowers will start to pollinate themselves and bear fruit as the temperature rises. Tomato blossom set sprays (hormone sprays) will have directions on their label. I have read a few that are spritzed on blossom clusters as they appear. Once temperatures are favorable, there should not be a problem with fruit set.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Kim A.

I planted all Bonnie plants that I purchased at Walmart last year in my garden, as I have for years. Mostly Big and Better Boys and Celebrity. I added only Miracle Grow soil to the garden and used only Miracle Grow plant food. I developed Fusarium Wilt. Before I knew what I had I replanted and replanted eventually went thru 38 plants, losing all. My question is will I ever be able to plant tomatoes in this area again?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Kim,
Sorry to hear you are having problems with your tomatoes. Are you sure your tomatoes developed fusarium wilt? Many varieties of tomatoes are tolerant or resistant of both strains of fusarium. In fact, when you look on the label and see the letters VFN (among others), the F stands for fusarium meaning that variety is resistant. You will find that with most of the hybrid such as Celebrity and Better Boy. It is best when diseases hit to take the sample to get identified. You can submit a picture to our Ask an Expert site or contact your local Cooperative Extension System. About fusarium…for the home gardener, planting resistant varieties is the best defense. Fusarium persists in the soil indefinitely. Rotating with other crops that are not fusarium susceptible is also beneficial.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

bill masi

I have a black cherry tomatoe plant that is approx. 18″ tall that keeps getting white on the leaves. I have been picking off the affected areas, but I have another regular cherry plant growing only two feet away that doesn’t get any white on the leaves.
What is the best way to deal with the white leave problem?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Bill,
Sorry to hear you are having tomato problems.
Depending on where you live, it could be powdery mildew or even an insect problem. This is a publication from Florida Extension with picture of tomatoes with powdery mildew for you to compare. If you would like, you can upload a picture to our Ask an Expert system so we can get a better look.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

sylvia

Is it true that you can’t plant a tomato plant in the same spot that you used last year? Also, I never have much luck with planting in pots. What am I wrong?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Sylvia,
It is always best to rotate your plant families from year to year in the garden.. That way any insects and diseases that are common to plant families will not have a chance to build up in the soil. In container gardening, first make sure your container is large enough for the plant being grown. For small, determinate tomatoes, that means a pot at least 18 inches in diamter. Make sure the container has plenty of drainage holes so the soil mix does not stay soggy. Here are some more tips for growing tomatoes and other vegetables in containers!
Good Luck,
Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Bill Hanlon

I purchased topsie turvey planters and checking the best moisture of planting soil and the best plants to plant. Below the plants I wish to plant:
Tomatoes
bell peppers
green beans

Mary Beth

Sounds like a fun experiment, Bill. Let us know how it goes. Was there a question I should answer? When growing those upside down, make sure you water well, sometimes daily. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Claire Wayner

Hi Mary Beth (you seem to be answering most of these comments),

I have been growing tomatoes for 2 years now and both years they grew like big green weeds with green fruits that never matured. I live in Baltimore, MD and in climate zone 32. I watered it almost every day or when it seemed dry. It was definitely in a hot and sunny location. I even supported them with cages! They were in a raised bed that was fenced in. A neighbor grew a very successful crop both years. What am I doing wrong? ~Claire W.

Mary Beth

Hi Claire,
I’m not sure, but a great place place to start is checking your fertilizing process. Make sure you follow the timing and guidelines in the step by step outline above and click on the troubleshooting and harvesting tabs for the full article. Oftentimes gardeners think that feeding the plants more than recommended will make bigger, better plants…and it will! Except they’ll be all foliage and deep, dark green leaves…with little fruit. The energy boost encourages leaf production instead of natural process of flowering and fruiting. It also sounds like you could chat over the garden fence with your neighbor! If you both have the same sunlight and weather conditions, maybe they have a tip to share with you. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

shaannon

I’m planning out my 2nd container garden for the spring (excited for the weather to get warm!) and I plan to grow cherry tomatoes. Do they need a cage and how big a pot should they be in?

Mary Beth

Hi shaannon,
Yes! Cherry tomatoes, depending on the variety, will need support. Indeterminate varieties will continue to grow and vine and need a cage or trellising along a balcony railing. Read more about What Size Pot? in this article and make sure they have plenty of room to grow healthy roots. If you don’t have much room at all, consider Husky Cherry Red, or others best for Containers and small-fruit, found in this cool Tomato Chooser tool. The variety description for each tomato will tell you expected size at maturity and size of fruit. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Dwayne Meadows

Hi My name is Dwayne, I live in San Bernardino,CA & once spring arrives I will be planting my second Bonnie tomato plant. This time I’m going to put it in a pot, but I’m wondering if it will be deep enough? The pot is made of durable plastic & is about 2ft. In diameter but looks to be about 12-14 inches deep. Is that deep enough? thank you! Oh, and I highly recommend your products to everyone!

Mary Beth

Hi Dwayne,
Thanks for writing us. I have removed your email address for your privacy. As for your tomato question, you are in good shape. Consult this article on “What Size Pot?” We recommend 24″ diameter for tomato plants. Many gardeners grow them in 5 gallon buckets, too, if that gives you an idea of the root area they need. If your pot is on the shorter side, perhaps consider one of the smaller container varieties. Use our “Tomato Chooser” and put in the criteria you seek, such as container use, color, fruit size, and more. Thanks for the kind words and keep spreading the word! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

william

last year I had a big boy that got huge but produced no fruit and this year its the germin johnson. what am I doing wrong

Mary Beth

Hi William,
Sorry to hear that you are missing out on flavorful tomatoes. Do you mean that one plant isn’t producing but you have others around it that are? Or are you only growing German Johnson and the plants are not fruiting? If it is solely one plant, it could be timing, as they all mature to harvest stage at different speeds (number of days). To see what the variances are, read our variety descriptions here. Also, it may be over-fertilized, with lots of leafy green growth but no flowers. To be certain, email details to our on-call experts at Ask An Expert. Happy growing. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Sandy

My Beef Tomato plant is growing higher then the wire cage around it about two feet over the top now. It is on my condo patio. It is full of little ones just starting out. I am afraid the leaves will break when they start getting bigger but have no way to brace the branches that are so high. I am so excited about this plant but worried. Should I snip them backor maybe snip some of the baby tomatoes off the branches they are over loading? Any ideas Mary Beth?

Mary Beth

Hi Sandy,
It’s exciting to hear that you’re excited. The great thing about indeterminate tomato vines is that they grow and grow and grow to produce lots of tomatoes. The bad thing about indeterminate tomato vines is that they grow and grow and grow out of bounds. :) Don’t clip any fruit off, but support the vines and branches instead. Tomato vines are very resilient, too, often rooting and continuing to grow when cut or damaged. Your plant will likely “fountain” over the top of the cage and back down again, unless you are able to create a support to extend the height of your trellis. This article on supporting tomatoes includes a slideshow of many pretty and pretty helpful ways to stake tomatoes; hopefully you can engineer something from these tips. Also, you have what is called an indeterminate tomato that has continually growing vines. You can choose determinate tomatoes that are great for small patios or containers who grow to an expected height and set fruit around the same time. As long as it’s sunny and warm, it sounds like you are due for tomatoes! Does this help? ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants
p.s. You might want to join our Facebook page to see photos of other gardeners’ tomato plants this summer. One was at least 10′ tall!

Patti

We live in AZ and have a beautiful tomato plant in a container that is still producing, we brought it in the house to see if it would stay alive during the winter. My question is can you turn the plant to get sun on all sides, or does this hurt it?

Mary Beth

Hi Patti,
It’s hard to let those healthy ones go at the end of the season, isn’t it? Make sure that your tomato is in a spot where it can get at least six hours of direct, overhead sunlight or simulated sunlight. Turning a container or rotating it won’t hurt the plant, but you do need to ensure good lighting. You probably won’t get much more with this reduction in necessary elements but it’s worth a try, right? And for green tomatoes that won’t ripen, you can always lay them flat (not touching) on newspapers indoors to gradually ripen. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Mar Copper

I have had a great tomato growing season. We got a zillion cherry tomatoes and they were cheerily welcomed by our neighbors. Someone told me that I will probably get cherry tomatoes next year by default. We want to try a larger variety next year. Do I just rip up the plants? Now what should I do? I still have quite a few green ones left on the vine. If you suggest I cut it down will it compost well? I really appreciated you advise for my honeydew melons.

Mary Beth

Hi Mar,
You are so welcome. That’s why we are here! And on Facebook, and share our e-newsletter. Your neighbors mean that if you let a cherry tomato fall to the ground to decompose and spread seeds, it may happen to sprout next year. If you were growing a hybrid tomato, you probably don’t want to let that plant mature and buy a new one instead. Hybrids are children of two distinct parents and the offspring don’t come back true to traits the next season, for a pretty simple explanation. If it were heirloom, it would be true. Tomatoes are annuals in most climates, so you can remove the plant at the end of the late summer / early fall and compost it only if the foliage is healthy and you experienced no disease. If so, simply bag and dispose of with your other garbage. The green ones may ripen indoors if you place them on newspaper, or you can make green tomato pickles, relish or pie! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Mary Beth

Hi Casper,
If you are trying to discern the lifetime of a tomato, I can help. It really depends on where you live! Typically tomatoes are an annual in climates with freezing winters. We plant them after danger of frost passes in the Spring and they produce until chillier fall temps and first frost. Some very warm climates plant tomatoes twice in a season because the plants are so tired or diseased after hot and humid summers; they are planted again in July for a “second season” production through late Fall. We have one Bonnie customer on our Facebook page who has a 5 1/2 year old ‘Early Girl’ tomato! She is in a warm, arid climate and protects “her” against extreme weather fluctuations. Though this is not the norm! If you leave any fruits on the ground by accident, you may see seedlings pop up there the next year, though this is not the same plant — it has reseeded. This article above explains all the finer points of planting and caring for your tomato plant in the appropriate temperature, rather than classifying by season. I hope this helps. You may also be interested in our Gardening section on this site. Click the drop down menu to learn more about Tomatoes, trellising, cool-season crops and anything you want to learn. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Barb

I live in Florida in zone nine and I have a screened in lanai. All the plants that I have in the Lanai that are in containers or in the ground (through a cut out in the pavers), have developed mites or mold. I have Ti plants, Crotons, hydrangea and herbs- all with mites or mold. When I asked our landscaping company why this is happening, they told us that the mite and mold problem is due to a lack of good air circulation in the screened in lanai. If I buy container/Dwarf tomato plants for the Lanai, should I buy a small fan and have the fan directed at the tomato plants and on all the time?

Mary Beth

Hi Barb,
I hope that your landscaping company can help remedy the problem with your ornamentals. I personally wonder if your lanai gets enough direct sunlight (6+ hours) to support proper growth of a tomato, or if you should move it outside of the shaded, screened lanai area. For your mite/mold question, I passed it along to the Ask An Expert service through Cooperative Extension. I’ve pasted his response here, but I think you might be best served getting a proper photo identification and diagnosis of the issue and which of the two you have. Send a pic to this link or take plant samples into your local office. “Yes, a fan would promote better air circulation preventing fungal problems by preventing the plants foliage from staying wet, which creates an environment perfect for fungi to grow. Another thing that would help, is watering in the morning at the base of the plants, keeping the foliage dry, to prevent some disease problems. I think you most likely have a fungal problem rather than a mite problems, because usually mites would not attack all of your plants. They’d be in a more localized area of plants.” Thanks for writing us and keep us posted on your garden. Join our e-newsletter for regular tips and advice, too. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Bernice

My tomatoes didn’t do well, what went wrong? They cracked. Any suggestions?

Mary Beth

Hi Bernice,
Cracking of tomato skins is a sign of inconsistent watering. It could be your watering dosages or irregularity if it’s in containers that you manage, or completely out of your control if Mother Nature gave your garden huge rainfall lately (just so you don’t feel badly!). Just try to keep the water levels and schedule consistent to avoid in the future. Here’s our photo identification article if you’d like to see all of the quirks of tomato fruits. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

BETH

I live in florida and always have a problem with white flies. What is a good way to keep them from overtaking my tomato plants?

Mary Beth

Hi Beth,
Whiteflies are a very common problem in Florida. Unfortunately, the more they are sprayed with an insecticide, the more resistance is built and subsequent whiteflies are not controlled. The best thing you can do is preventative care, in keeping a very clean garden by removing all debris and plants at the end of the harvest and removal of infested plants upon discovery. This is a pretty indepth look at the industry’s recommendations from University of Florida Cooperative Extension; it should give you tips for the home gardener as well as the industrial growers. Hope this helps. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Kathleen

I live in South Carolina and we had so much rain that I am sure that is what hurt my tomato plants. I am now planning for my next planting.

If I have trellised tomatoes is there any way to cover them when I know a huge amount of rain is coming? Would I be better off growing tomatoes that don’t grow on vines so they can be more easily covered? I’m not sure what I should be planting at this point.

Thanks for any help.

Mary Beth

Hi Kathleen,
Let’s hear a little more about your plants first. Can you describe how they look and why you say they were “hurt”? I’d like to discern first why you suspect high volumes of rain hurt your tomatoes vines before we recommend a good strategy for you moving forward. Was it damage to the vines and foliage (wind/rain breaking stems, etc) or did your tomato plants get a foliage disease from too much moisture? Tell us a little more what happened and we’ll be happy to get to the bottom of it with you. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Stuart

I am growing basil from seeds. The tomato fertilizer says it is good for other plants. Would it be OK to use on my basil plants? They are very small, about 1 – 2 inches tall. Thanks for your help.

Mary Beth

Hi Stuart,
Sure, basil can use the same fertilizer. Just be sure that your seedlings are not too small and have a great root system in place before transplanting and feeding them well. If you are using a water soluble fertilizer, you might even dilute a little more before placing on young, tender seedlings. By now they are probably double in size from when you originally posted! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Sary Kani

My tomato plants are very robust in size (height, width). They produce a fair number of flowers and a fair number of fruits.

The problem – not one fruit has ever turned red! Literally – they all stay green. Green for weeks and weeks and in some cases, months and months. There is continued new growth, new flowers, new fruits.

How long should I wait for the tomatoes to turn red (they are the beefsteak, the roma, the sandwich, and the cherokee tomatoes) after the fruits have reached a good size?

Plants are anywhere from 3′ – 5′ tall. Bush width is anywhere from a single stalk to 4′ wide. Fruits are 1-4″ in diameter and 2″-4″ in length.

I have had a healthy grasshopper population, but they seem to be eating all of my lettuce, kohlrabi, and bell pepper plants.

Any ideas? This is the beginning of Sept and I have pluck one tomato (green) and let it ripen in the house (took 2 weeks).

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Sary,

I know first-hand that it can be very frustrating waiting for your tomatoes to ripen! We often get questions about how long it takes a tomato to ripen, and unfortunately, there is no definite time frame. It depends on the temperature and sun exposure (6 to 8 hours of full sun a day is ideal). Tomatoes ripen best at temperatures in the 80s. The lower or higher the temperature is from the ideal, the longer it will take a tomato to ripen. A slow, cool start in the late spring can make tomatoes a little later to develop, too.

So what can you do to help them ripen? Avoiding excess fertilizer at this time will help with the ripening process. You can also go ahead and pick them green and ripen them indoors. Place tomatoes in well-ventilated, open cardboard boxes at room temperature and check them every few days to eliminate those that may have spoiled. Mature green tomatoes will ripen in 14 days at 70 degrees F and 28 days at 55 degrees F.

I hope this helps and you get to eat those ripe, red tomatoes you’re after! If not, you can always fry up the green tomatoes using this recipe from P. Allen Smith. Happy gardening!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Sary Kani

Thank you for the reply!

Between writing the post and now, I have picked a tray full of green tomatoes and they are ripening in the house. I don’t fertilize or add anything to the soil. These plants are as organically raised as I can.

The temps have been warm (90’s). The plants receive full sun (easily 10+ hours of direct sunlight). I make sure the soil is moist. The plants don’t seem to be wanting for moisture and do a great job of shading their own roots!

*sigh* I will try to be more patient.

Thank you for the reply!

Rodney

Hi. We recently purchased a German Johnson at Home Depot. I put it in a slightly larger pot afterwards (10x10x8) than the origanal for a few weeks. The same day we went and bought a 5′ cage and 24″ round pot, we pulled in the driveway and noticed the plant falling over. It’s about 14″ tall, no fruit, and has always been strong. the stalk is withered up to 2″ from the soil. There was no wind or anything, was a calm sunny SW Florida day. It was fine the night before. Can it be saved? Using Miracle Gro Moisture Control potting mix btw.

Mary Beth

Hi Rodney,
German Johnson tomato plant will grow vigorously and need lots of space — above and in the pot. It’s good to see you purchased a 24″ wide container. One of the tricks to planting tomatoes is to plant them as deeply as you can get them into the soil. They are quick to root anywhere the stem comes in contact with soil and it makes for a stronger plant and stronger base. Did you do that? It sounds like the stem was injured in transplanting (where it withered) or may have a soil-borne disease. To rule out anything like that, send a photo to our Ask An Expert service for identification. If you accidentally cut or bent the stem in transplanting, it will likely recover if you plant the stem deeply and cover with soil. Good luck! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Adri

I am growing a tomato and there are lots of tomatoes on, it but they wont get past a certain size. I’ve had them for a while, but ever since i was given them, they haven’t grown even a mm. One of them is turning red but its still the same size as always.
They aren’t cherry tomatoes by the way.
Please help

Mary Beth

Hi Adri,
If the tomato has begun to redden, it has reached its mature size. I’m not sure what variety you have, or I could tell you the size to expect. Check out our tomato variety listings for description on the average size of the fruit and yield. If the fruits are much smaller than anticipated size, the plant may be distressed by disease, lack of watering or sunlight or nutrients…or be mislabeled and actually be a cherry tomato when in fact you thought you had a Big Boy! Thanks for writing us here. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Purple-people-eater

If you were to harvest and plant some seeds from a store bought fruit or vegetable, [melons, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc.] is it likely that it will not be as sweet tasting as vegetables grown from a packet of seeds purchased
at a store?

Thank you for any help.

Mary Beth

It’s not that they would be any less sweet as you say, but you can’t be sure what sort of plant and produce you will get. If you are planting saved seed from a store vegetable that was a hybrid variety, it will not grow “true” from seed as it has two distinct parents. It may not even germinate, depending on the vegetable or fruit and how it has been sprayed or treated in the commercial process. I don’t want to recommend something that may be frustrating to you. If you are interested in growing from saved seed, read up on a few basic tips and resources here. We see that gardeners have the best successes starting out with transplants like ours for a healthy, faster start in the garden. Happy growing! Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Missy

I need help with combatting caterpillars in my container garden. Everyday I’m plucking them off and I keep finding green tomatoes with holes that these pests have feasted on. They’ve even eaten one of my jalapenos. I know for sure that they are not tomato hornworms. I keep finding them when they’re small and seemingly just hatched. Is there a safe organic spray to use to kill these? This is my first time vegetable gardening and it’s becoming very discouraging.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Missy,

I asked our Ask an Expert service about this, and here’s the answer:

These might be tomato fruitworms. For caterpillars (fruitworms or otherwise) I recommend using Bt. Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, acts like a stomach poison against caterpillars. Bt is best used when the caterpillars are small, and they must swallow the Bt for it to be effective. After ingesting Bt, the caterpillar stops feeding within an hour and will die within several hours to days. Before dying, the caterpillar will become sluggish, discolor, then shrivel, blacken, and die. Bt can be found under several brand names such as Dipel, Thuricide, and Sok-Bt, Stewart, Foil Javelin and Safer’s Caterpillar Killer. Follow all label instructions. Bt products are nontoxic to people, pets, wildlife, and other beneficial insects.

I hope this info helps! Next time you have a pest or disease question, try our Ask an Expert service. You’ll get a quick response from an Extension expert. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Lori

We have some raised garden beds that we have planted at church. In one of them we had a “volunteer” cherry tomato plant and then planted 4 other tomato plants with it several weeks later (beefsteak, big boy, and sweet 100s). It’s been hot and fairly dry, but in the last couple of weeks we’ve had quite a bit of rain. I’m noticing that the volunteer plant is looking exhausted/droopy with dying foliage. The others haven’t had a problem until this week…their foliage is starting to die at the bottom of the plants. The rest of the plant looks very healthy with plenty of tomatoes growing. I’ve been pruning the dying foliage. Is there anything else I can do to protect the healthy plants?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Lori, The volunteer plant may struggle a bit more but it should do all right. Yellowing at the bottom of the plant is pretty common and usually indicates overwatering instead of disease or pest problems. If the discoloration spreads up the plant, then you might start to worry, but not yet. I suggest just keeping all the plants consistently watered and also feed with a vegetable fertilizer. If you see any problems spread, then send your question with a photo to our Ask an Expert service: http://bonnieplants.com/ask-an-expert/. Happy growing! Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Austin

Hi,
I have a tomato plant in a container that I bought from the store (it was large when I bought it) and now I got about 11 tomatoes from so far (as of the middle of July) and now it has more blossoms and about 24-26 tomatoes (if I counted properly) on it (some are small and some medium – all green). However, the problem is that the tomato tree is hanging over (and bringing down the cage as well). Thus, I put a stepper-stool in front of the plant to hold it up as best as it could, I can see a little bit of the roots coming out of the pot – Thus, I am really worried ! I have a lot of tomatoes and it would be a shame if they do not grow properly and ripen. Will the plant fall over and die ? What can I do , I don’t think that I can transplant it? Help! Thanks :)

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Austin,

Do you know what variety of tomato this is? Was this a tomato in a colored pot with the matching cage included? How tall is the cage? I’d like to help but need a little more info! It may be that you can add another, taller cage over the top to support the fruit. I agree that it’s probably too late to transplant. Let me know!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Austin

Hi,
The tomato plant was in a black pot with a matching cage, I have a photo of the plant back in the beginning of July . And also, the fruit and vines are coming out of the cage, i don’t think how tall it is, is the reason why it is tipping. There are about 25-26 tomatoes now but the vines are long and leaves/fruit are all over the place so I am a bit worried. Here is the photo of the plant back when it was smaller in July, I took it off of the stepper and put the stepper in front of it for support. I already harvested the batch of tomatoes in this photo. It seems as if the tomatoes ripen at their own pace, sometimes i harvest a couple tomatoes at a time, but never all at the same time. Sometimes only one will ripen ? But yeah, here is the photo : https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151035561386096&set=a.10151035559611096.495862.691441095&type=3&theater

Austin

Sorry I forgot to mention that I believe it is the BeefSteak Variety, I think :P

Kelly Smith Trimble

Having tomatoes ripen at different times and rates is totally normal. The trellis is a bit small for this tomato plant, but it’s great you’ve harvested so many! Just try to stake or support the best you can for the remainder of the season.

Priscilla

I bought six plants from your Big Boy and other varieties. They are going absolutely INSANE this year and Though this is kind of odd, I was wondering if anyone knows how to or can point me to a pasta sauce recipe that I can make from all these amazing tomatoes!

Thank you

Mary Beth

Hi Priscilla,
What a great reward! We are so glad to hear about your excess and influx of tomatoes! You can always refer to our new “In the Kitchen” section of this website for recipes by harvested ingredient. This section on tomatoes has many ideas beyond pasta sauce. For canning done properly and safely, we recommend you follow the guidelines and recipes shown by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Check out their many ideas and instructions. Happy gardening (and cooking!) ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Randy Clark

I have one tomato but the other buds just seem to be drying up. Lots of blooms but they die before fruit forms. What would cause this? The plant itself looks very healthy.

Thank you!
From Northern California

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Randy,

This is a pretty common problem in the heat of the summer. Hot or wet weather can halt pollination, which is why the blooms just dry up and fall off. Read our blog post about this topic for more info and advice. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Randy Clark

I have one tomato but the other buds just seem to be drying up. Lots of blooms but they die before fruit forms. What would cause this? The plant itself looks very healthy.

Randy Clark
Northern California

afrika

This is my first year for growing tomatoes, and I love it! I planted four Beefsteak plants. I planted them right after Easter(along with some miracle grow in the soil) and they just took off. They are doing great. So great that two of the plants are over 10ft tall. The others are about 6ft tall. The problem is that they have only produced about 15 tomatoes between them. The first ones were pretty big (a slice covers a piece of bread), but even though they continue to produce fruit, they are much smaller. They just continue to get taller and taller. There are lots of blooms large and small, but most of them end up dieing out, and if they do bloom , the flowers end up dieing.The plants are very healthy as I soak them every day. I’ve never seen tomato plants grow soooo tall, but why are they not producing more tomatoes?

Mary Beth

Hi Afrika,
Sounds like you are Jack and The Beanstalk! All kidding aside, as much as you probably enjoy seeing the healthy, happy plants grow up – up – up, they will not put the energy into fruiting as much as the plant usually can. Here’s why: the fertilizer you are using (I’m guessing here) has very high nitrogen content, or you have applied high dosages too frequently. Nitrogen is the first number on the bag of fertilizer (or in your Miracle Gro product), that will look something like “10-8-6.” This article explains more about the values on fertilizer products and what it means to your plants. Oftentimes gardeners don’t notice how much fertilizer they’ve added to the soil until the soil warms up in summer and the plant begins to “take off” with the abundance of food. You might enjoy learning about the types of fertilizer here — and try a vegetable fertilizer like our Little Green Jug of Bonnie Vegetable and Herb Food in the future. As for the blooms you do have not setting fruit, they are not getting pollinated and dropping off. This article explains why that happens and what you can do to help. I sometimes gently shake or wiggle the tomato cages to encourage pollination on humid, sticky days. Let us know how it grows! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

SHANNON

I have a Patio tomato plant in a container with only 3 fruits, 2 of which are turning red. With the heat (90 degrees plus) and humidity of Virginia, is that affecting my plant’s growth? Is there anything I need to do?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Shannon,

Yes, the heat and humidity can definitely affect the fruiting rate. Read our blog post on tomatoes not setting fruit for more info on this problem and ways to either prevent it or wait it out. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Marina Veiler

Hi,
A quick question. We had an extremely dry hot summer so far and suddenly had about 4-5 strong showers last week. I watered my plants well before, but this time the soil was just soaked. I noticed that all my tomato plants leaves started curling up. I’m getting a bit nervous. Is that normal reaction to excess moisture or there could be a serious problem? Otherwise the plants have been very healthy. Thank you very much for any help.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Marina,

Don’t worry, your tomatoes should be fine. Leaf curl is a physiological condition and will correct itself as the environmental stress does. Leaves curl in response to stress such as heat, and most importantly water, as you’re seeing in your garden. Leaves may curl after a huge amount of rainfall or when the soil dries out. Under- or overwatering will cause leaf curl, too. I hope your plants get back to normal soon!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Chris

I bought a Mr. Stripey at Home Depot in a plastic red pot with an attached cage. I just sat that out on my sunny patio. Should I have transplanted the tomato into the ground instead?

bree

I love the bonnie plants. They have made it very easy for my daughter & I (who are 1st timers). There is alot we have to learn for next year. I just purchased a house and there are planter boxes. We added new dirt and turned the dirt. However between tomato plants, (we have peppers and bell peppers) there is grass and other small plants growing. What can I do about it now? And for next year?

Thanks
Bree

Mary Beth

Hi Bree,
You can simply hand weed your beds to remove any unwanted grass or plants. There are many hand tools that make this easier, too. I find that soaking with a hose for a few minutes prior to pulling grass or weeds from my raised beds makes the roots easier to pull up. After you remove these, it’s a great idea to cover the exposed soil with mulch. This retains moisture in the soil and prevents new weed seeds from germinating. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Shana

I’ve just found that I have an ant bed deep in my vegetable garden. I was pulling out a couple of blade of grass that were growing and unearthed/disturbed them. What is the best way to handle getting rid of them? Or do I have to get rid of them? I’ve heard they don’t really harm the plants or growing process. I have a raised bed with all Bonnie plants….peppers (baby, sweet, and hot), tomatoes (goliath, best boy, etc), and sweet baby watermelon.
Thanks!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Shana,

Are you talking about fire ants? If so, yes, fire ants can be a problem in your garden and sometimes indicate other pests, such as aphids, so be on the lookout for them, too. See this article from the University of Georgia, referring to the section on home gardens. Solutions include everything from removing the ant mound and pouring hot water over it to treating it with insecticide for bigger infestations. If you use an insecticide, make sure it’s labeled for vegetables and follow all label instructions. I hope this helps. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Vicki

Hi, we have had an ant problem this year as well. They are very tiny brown ants. They are all over the place, in the house, garden, etc. Neighborhood has a problem this year. I hope these ants aren’t hurting my plants, they don’t seem to be, but when I see an ant mound near a bean plant, I squirt some of my homemade insecticide in the hole. I brew hot pepper flakes and garlic in hot water, strain it, then use a sprayer. This seems to help with the ants, but they are relentless! The spray works well on all the plants as I spray them a couple of times a week. I have little dogs, and they love gardening with me, so I’m not too concerned about the natural bug spray I use, instead of chemical sprays.

Lisa

A couple years back we decided to tear out the old sandbox garden and put one in ground for my mother…the problem is that the tomatoes and some of the other plants are not doing well. She has a black walnut tree in her back yard (about 100 feet from the garden), but that first year, we used some branches in the garden to stake some of the plants (not knowing it was a horrid idea)…

SO, my question is this – IS THERE ANY SOIL AMENDMENT THAT CAN REMEDY BLACK WALNUT IN THE SOIL? I would really like her to be able to have an in ground garden, but it seems like her tomatoes are doomed unless we pony up for a new boxed/enclosed garden.

Any help would be WONDERFUL! Thank you!
Lisa

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Lisa,

I shared your question with our Ask an Expert service to get the best answer possible for you. The chemical called juglone, present in black walnut trees, is what’s actually toxic to plants. We’ve been unable to find any soil amendments that would solve the problem of juglone in the soil, but branches have very little in them. We have a feeling it is the tree itself that is causing the problem, because the roots are the main source of juglone. Even if trees have been cut and gone for years, sensitive plants will have issues where the trees were. Containers or a raised bed are the best way to solve the problem. Read this article from the West Virginia Cooperative Extension Service for more info on black walnut toxicity. You can find more info about growing in raised beds in the Raised Beds section of our Gardening library. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Dale

My early girl tomatoes are doing great but the beef eaters are getting a rotting on the bottom end. Not sure why but they are next to the early girls and this is happening?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Dale,

This is called blossom end rot. It’s very common with tomatoes and can happen to one tomato and not the next, just as you’re describing. Read more in our article “Conquer Blossom End Rot.” I hope this info helps. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Cindy

I enjoy this site tremedously, so much help and information. I have bought Bonnie plants for several years. With great success I must include. My question is how do I find the different types of vegetables. The stores in my area only carry a couple of different types of tomatoes and other kinds of plants are limited. I would enjoy growing the different taste and looking plants. Thanks for your help. Happy growing!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Cindy,

We’re so glad to hear that you love growing Bonnie plants! Yes, our variety selection varies market to market, depending on regional success and popularity of varieties in an area. If there are some particular varieties you’d like to see in your area, let your garden center manager know and ask him/her to relay that info to your local Bonnie salesperson and station manager. Happy growing and thanks for growing Bonnie!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Elwynn Lundy

I have heard for many years that flicking tomato blossoms in the early spring helps to promote pollination. One has to do it carefully to keep from “flicking” the blossom off the plant. I seem to have tomatoes setting on long before most people do. Is there any real truth to this “old wives tale?”

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Elwynn,

Lots of hints like this get passed down through generations, and they work for some people and not for others. It’s all a matter of trial and error. I’d personally be afraid of flicking the blooms all the way off, but if you’re able to carefully make this happen and see good results, then I guess it works for you! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Frank,

Read our article “Why Does pH Matter?” for more info on soil pH and how to adjust it. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Lindsey

Hi!

I have a few questions….

1. I am a first time gardener and I live in an apartment. I planted a patio tomato plant AND a pink brandywine in the same pot :/ The patio has started to produce small tomatoes and the other has two tomatoes smaller than 1 inch…..I planted them the first week of may….can I remove one to it’s own container…or is it too late?!

2. We had a storm here yesterday and it snapped the heirloom plant at the base almost in half….the leaves look fine so far. Can it be saved? Thank you for your help!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Lindsey,

First of all, congrats on your first gardening season! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and “Like” our Facebook page for more info and to share your results.

Now, about your tomatoes…you’ve already zeroed in on the fact that you need to plant one tomato per large pot (24 inches wide and about the same in depth). The storm may have taken care of your Brandywine already. How’s it looking now? If it looks okay, you can try transplanting it into a new pot. Just be careful that you don’t damage the roots of either plant when you separate them. Fill each pot with good potting mix. Also, make sure you’re giving your tomato plants ample support from stakes and/or cages so they can better withstand wind damage. I hope this helps! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Tracie

My husband pruned the lower inside braches of our Beefmaster & Better boy tomato plants just as they were starting to grow fruit- the Beefmaster seems to be coming out of the shock, but the Better boy just seems to be getting worse and discolored fruit, what should I do?

Mary Beth

Hi Tracie,
Pruning tomatoes, especially the “sucker” growth inbetween the stem and the branch, doesn’t usually hurt the plant. In fact, we recommend trimming up the lower stems so that there is no foliage touching the ground or allowing soil to splash up onto the plant leaves and pass soil-borne diseases. Not knowing what your Better Boy looks like, we can’t diagnose via comments. Send a message and photo to our Ask An Expert service and we’ll be happy to help you figure it out. Let us know how it grows!
Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Diane Bierwirth

The flowers on my German Queen keep falling off and I have no tomatoes-but I have tomatoes on the Best Boy. What am I doing wrong?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Diane,

It’s not you, it’s the weather! And it’s the difference in varieties, too. Some tomato varieties withstand the heat better than others. In fact, we carry some tomatoes that are known for tolerating heat well. Tomatoes will drop blossoms when the heat becomes too much to handle. You can read more about this in our blog post “Tomatoes Not Setting Fruit? Here’s Why.” Your Better Boy must be tolerating temps a bit better than your German Queen. The best thing to do is to keep your Queen healthy and wait for the weather to change. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Diane Bierwirth

Thanks….the next few days the temp will be at 100 and above. How often, when is the best time, and how much should I water?

Mary Beth

Hi Diane,
We published an article about this very question in yesterday’s e-newsletter. Try this link to “Hot Summer Watering.” If you’d like to receive our bi-weekly newsletter for seasonal tips and information, sign up here. Don’t forget to pour a glass of water for yourself! Stay cool.
Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Diane Bierwirth

My German Queen hybrid has not had a single tomato-whereas both Best Boy plants have produced many tomatoes. Right now there is not a single flower on the German Queen and it looks like Medusa-many, many limbs coming off the main one. Both Best Boy plants have tomatoes-one has 12 and the other has 31 (all green right now) but I’m looking forward to more sandwiches before I pull them up. How much longer will they produce tomatoes?

Mary Beth

Hi Diane,
It sounds like your German Queen may have gotten more fertilizer than the other plants, as it is putting more energy into green foliage and robust growth. German Queens also take about 10 days longer (on average) to mature than a Better Boy, so give it some time. If they are both in full sun and getting the same care, just give it a little patience and you should see blooms shortly. Your tomatoes will continually produce until the temperatures drop for the first frost of Fall. If you know your area is about to get a frost or freeze, harvest those green tomatoes and bring them in to ripen on the counter or use in recipes as green tomatoes (like “apple” pie but with green tomatoes. That’s one to search for online!). ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Diane

10/09/12 My German Queen is still growing! The stalks are 6-12 feet long(growing along the ground) and have yellow flowers BUT no tomatoes! As I said before-it looks like Medusa with 10/12 stalks!! The Best Boy plants have stopped growing but they each produced about 40-50 tomatoes. The German Queen has not had any tomatoes. I have never had a plant grow this long (both length wise and time wise) but it time to pull/cut it up. Goodbye German Queen.

john toth

I am having a problem with my tomato plants this year ones in the pots and ones in the ground. the leaves seem to curl and turn yellow. i have tried seven dust and this seems to help a bit but have to do the same thing a week or so later.
sometimes the plant looks like it is dead and then i fertilize and do the seven dust and the plant seems to come back to life. got any suggestions for this problem.
just read about strawberry plants will do some of the recommened things for them.
do appreciate your time
thanks
John

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi John,

The initial yellowing and curling could be due to overwatering or heat stress, but if the fertilizer was applied to the foliage, it could be fertilizer burn too. This usually starts as a browning around the leaf edges and spreads to the entire leaf. There are more possible causes, too. If you could send your question with a photo to our Ask an Expert service, we could help you further. Thanks!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

joy vance

While I normally always buy your plants in the spring, I never thought to check a websit for information. Even though my tomatoes will soon “quit” making, wish I had known about your information site long ago. Even though I retired from MCES in 1995, I failed to get all the publications for a garden…types of pesticides, etc. I’m already getting prepared for next year by marking your site…”what to do when” questions….Absolutely thrilled to find you are available…paid no attention to info on plants…just always ready to plant!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Joy,

I’m thrilled you’ve found our website, too! Yes, please mark our site and come back often for information. We add new articles all the time. You should also sign up for our newsletter, which comes out twice a month during the growing season. You can also “Like” us and join the community of other “always ready to plant” gardeners on our Bonnie Plants Facebook page. It’s great to meet you, Joy! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Helen

Hi Sharon,
So how often do you water your hybird and heirloom tomatoe plants. I planted both and they are growing like crazy the hybird plant have tomatoes but they are still green good size, but my heirloom plant do have flowers and it’s about 18 inches tall . I also have strawberries when can I expect to see berries?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Helen,

Tomatoes need about 1 to 3 inches of water a week, depending on your climate. It doesn’t matter what type the tomato is…they all need the same amount of water. Read our article “How Much Water Do Vegetables Need?” for more information. You might enjoy all the articles in our Watering section. Also, you should see berries on strawberries this season. Our strawberry plants are far enough along when you buy them that you won’t have to wait until next year to enjoy strawberries. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Kathryn Perrine

This is my first time trying to grow any vegetables. I realize now I should have read up on the proper spacing of the plants. I have limited sun around my house, so I bought a self watering standing garden with casters, so that I can follow the sun in my driveway. This seems to be working well. However, the garden is only 40 inches long by 17 inches wide, and 10 1/2 inches deep, I have 3 tomato plants; 5 romaine and 2 red leaf lettuce; one red bell pepper plant; one parsley; and a basil plant. The tomato plants are getting really tall and I was wondering if I could dig the up and put them in another planter with casters, that is 26 inches long by 20 inches wide and 10 1/2 inches deep, or should I move the other plants out of the planter and keep the tomato plants where they are?

Kelly Smith

Hi Kathryn,

What a cool concept for a mobile garden. I love it! But yes, you’ve planted a bit too much in this one container. I suggest you leave the lettuces, pepper, and herbs in the current container and transplant the tomatoes into new containers. Really, each tomato should have its own pot if possible. Read our What Size Pot? article for guidelines. It depends on what tomato varieties you’ve planted, but your pots should really be 18 to 24 inches wide for tomatoes. You might be able to fit two in your 26-inch-wide planter. Could you also get a few more large containers and put them on stands that have casters and move those around to follow the sun? I have seen these mobile stands, usually called either a plant dolly or plant caddy, at many garden centers. I hope this helps! Let me know how this works!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Steven Gray

What techniques can be used to prevent the tomato plant from becoming to bushy? I have heard pinching the suckers is a good start.

What are your comments?

Kelly Smith

Hi Steven,

Some plants grow bushier than others. Typically, determinate tomato plants have a bushier habit while indeterminate tomato plants grow taller like vines. So the first step if you don’t want bushy plants would be to choose indeterminate varieties, but these will need more vertical space and staking. Some gardeners do prune tomato plants, but we don’t recommend it, as each cut opens the plant up to disease. Just water and feed your plants well, and make sure they get plenty of sun, and your tomatoes should produce fruit, which is the goal of growing tomatoes! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Joanne

I didn’t take the bottom part of the tomatoe plant off before I planted. should I dig up the 20 plants and fix them, or will they be OK?

Kelly Smith

Hi Joanne,

You’re talking about removing the bottom from the Bonnie biodegradable pots, right? As long as you removed the plastic wrapper from the pots, you should be okay. Just be sure to water your plants well and they will quickly grow roots that break through the biodegradable pots and dig into the soil. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

smb

I just yesterday planted over 20 of your vegetable plants (tomatoes, peppers, squashes, etc.) without removing the bottom or the plastic wrapper. The garden center has watered them well and bottoms of pots were beginning to break down, so I’m not worried about that as much the plastic wrapper. To disturb the plants as little as posible should I try to get at the pot from the side, snip the plastic, and slide out the plastic wrapper without actually pulling up the pot?

Alexis Dix

I have found all your information very helpful. I will put it to work on my patio where I am growing tomatoes and strawberries. By the way what should I do with the runners that my strawberry plant is putting out?

Kelly Smith

Hi Alexis,

That’s great to hear! So your strawberries are in pots? If your pot is really large, you could allow 2 or 3 runners to root in the pot, but if not, you should clip the runners, which will allow your main plant to produce more fruit. You can learn more about this and other strawberry gardening tips on our Growing Strawberries page.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Reps

I planted my black Krim tomato a couple of weeks ago. It has started flowering. Should I pinch the flowers off? The plant is less than a foot from the soil.

Kelly Smith

This is one of our frequently asked questions, which you can find on our Growing Tomatoes page in the last tab. Whether or not to pinch flowers is a matter of personal preference. Some gardeners do this to promote root strength in the early growth stages of the plant. Others pinch some flowers later on to promote larger fruit. Or, you can leave the plant alone and let it do its thing. It’s up to you. Either way, give your plant a boost with some fertilizer. By the way, great choice on Black Krim, one of the plants in our Heirloom Tomatoes collection.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Ben

The leaves on my Bonnie Big Boy Tomatoe Plant are curling under. The Tomatoe plant is about 6 feet tall in a container. I was feeding it Miracle Grow Liquid Feed and have stopped feeding it fertilizer until it Fruits (per my conversation with Ask the Expert). The tomatoe plant is on my back patio and gets a lot of sun. I am having a tough time trying to figure out if I am Over or Under watering the Plant. On Hot days, the outermost leaves wilt quite a bit. I water it with between 1 – 2 gallons of water and it seems to be good for a couple of days. I am still waiting for the plant to Fruit. I have ONE Tomatoe growing right now. I have shaken the plant to try and help the polination process. I sent a picture to Ask the expert too. Any thoughts ??

Thanks,
Ben Taylor

Kelly Smith

Hi Ben,

I’m glad you sent a picture to Ask an Expert. You should get an answer soon. My first thought is that you might be watering too much all at once. One to two gallons is a lot of water! Read the articles in our Watering section, especially the article “How Much Water Do Vegetables Need?” I hope this helps!

Happy growing,
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Jenne

My tomato plant (early girl 50 days hybrid) has yellowing leaves with lots of holes from pesky green caterpillars. I think I’ve gotten rid of the caterpillars, but how do I save my plant? It has new growth and about half of the stems and leaves look good. It is planted next to a juliet tomato plant (doing great) in a raised box garden in Arizona, shaded from the afternoon sun.
Also, I planted a white eggplant next to it, and I was told it should be moved, is that true? Is it hurting my tomato plant?

Kelly Smith

Hi Jenne,

First off, I see no reason why your eggplant and tomato can’t grow next to each other! Tomatoes and eggplant are great together. Just make sure they’re spaced about 2 to 3 feet apart.

I’m sorry about the caterpillars on your tomato plant. How did you get rid of them, and any idea what they were? The answers could determine what you should do next. You can send your question, preferably along with photos of your plant, to our Ask an Expert service for a detailed answer. Hope this helps.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Ron Nasharr

I just purchase Bonnie Tomato plants from Home Depot, Celebrity, Husky,Eary Girl, etc. Also got a soaker howater timer, garden is 6 X 18 in Bend or central Oregon. Question, how long do I leave the timer on and how often should I water (so many ideas abound) but you should know the best way . Also is it best to have 2 separate links of hose or just one long one and snake the hose around the plant.? Please advise. Thanks. Ron Nasharr

Kelly Smith

Hi Ron,

The soaker hose and timer are great tools for your summer watering! How long you should leave them on depends on your climate and rate of evaporation, so it’s hard to say for sure how long. You should look through the articles in our Watering section for in-depth info and best practices for watering your garden, and start with the article “How Much Water Do Vegetables Need?” This article suggests one more tool: a rain gauge. Use this practice to help you decide how long to leave the timer on, striving for an inch to inch-and-a-half of water per week. I hope this info helps!

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Tom

Reply to Ron………..All Bonnie plants you buy at Home Depot are replaced if they die, break on the way home, almost any reason, just tell the Garden section at Home Depot that one or two of your plants croaked or have serious problems and they will replace them, just keep your receipt. Home Depot is great that way!
Happy growing……enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Tom……….Boston, MA..

Bill Murphy

How far apart should I plant the tomatoes from each other?

Kelly Smith

Hi Bill,

It depends on the type of tomato plant. Click on the “Soil, Planting, and Care” tab above and you’ll see plant spacing info for indeterminate, determinate, and patio tomatoes. Here is that info as well:

-Space robust, long-vined, indeterminate varieties about 3 feet apart.
-Stocky determinate plants can be grown at tighter 2-foot spacing.
-A single patio tomato will fill an 18-inch-wide container.

If you’re not sure what type your tomatoes are, look on the stick tag in the pot, or find your varieties in the Tomato Varieties section of our website. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Valerie

Will cherry husky and sweet 100 do okay in containers?

Kelly Smith

Hi Valerie,

Husky Cherry Red is a great choice for containers. This variety is considered a dwarf indeterminate tomato because it grows to only 3 or 4 feet tall but continues to produce fruit throughout the season until frost. It’s one of our most popular container tomatoes! This variety can be grown in a pot as small as 18 inches in diameter and a basic stake or cage will support it just fine.

Sweet 100 is another great tomato variety, though it’s less suited to pots. This tomato grows 8 to 12 feet tall, so it needs plenty of space and a big, tall tomato cage. An in-ground garden would be ideal, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to grow it in a container. The problem is that it might be hard to fit that large of a cage in or over a 24-inch container.

See our section on tomato varieties for Pots & Small Spaces to see other good choices for containers. I hope this helps!

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Kelly Smith

Hi Sharon,

You can definitely pin this page to your Pinterest board. We are in the process of adding the quick “Pin It” button to our site, but in the meantime, you can add this page to your board manually. Thanks for thinking of us!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Tom

I have grown Sweet 100’s for the past 5 years in 5 gallon buckets, BUT!., last year 2011 I planted one in a wide and deep bucket, the ones you see in stores that look like giant beach pails with the rope or strap type handles, and that plant grow over 12 feet high and constantly produced fruit all summer well into October, fruit sizes varied from gumball size to cherry tomatoe size but for the most part were the size of bing cherries, always the same size fruit every year. I’m not doing the Sweet 100 this year as I moved ton trying out the Cherokee Purple Heirloom. I do miss my Sweet 100, but I still have time to plant one or two.
I live in Boston, MA. and Bonnie Plants do awesome here.
Thanks….Tom

Tony

Is Canadian Shagnum peat moss good to use as a top mulch to keep weeds down and conserve water in a tomato garden?

Kelly Smith

Hi Tony,

Some gardeners use peat moss as a soil amendment, mixed into the soil to lower pH or loosen soil, though compost also does the trick. However, peat moss shouldn’t be used as a mulch or ground cover on the soil surface, because it absorbs water to itself rather than protecting the moisture level of the soil underneath, which is one of the main job requirements of mulch. There are plenty of other options for organic mulch, which you can read about in our article “Organic Mulch: A Gardener’s Good Friend.” I hope this helps!

Happy gardening!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Ron Mills

Your info is very helpful and will continue to buy your products,thank you Ron.

Comments are closed.