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Hmmm, tomato plants but no tomato fruits

 
gardener
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I’m stumped.

I grow tomatoes every year.  They are my most reliable crop.  This year I got them in the ground in late June as opposed to much earlier spring.  The plants themselves have grown vigorously but I can’t actually find any tomatoes growing which seems particularly odd considering tomatoes fruit prolifically.  I have 2 sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, 2 better Boys and 2 beefsteak tomatoes.  

Any thoughts?

Eric
 
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Hi Eric,

My Roma’s are doing great.  Everything else sucks.  I have  50 plants all total.  
 
Eric Hanson
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Hi John,

I generally plant Roma’s, but this year they were sold out.  I really wanted to get started in the garden much earlier but I had 2 kids and one niece  graduating.  Most of my May and June were occupied by non-gardening tasks.  By the time I got to buying tomato sets the pickings were slim (and Roma’s were gone).  

Still I was surprised that I am seeing no actual fruits.  Have you ever had tomatoes not set fruit before?  This is a first for me in about 20 years of gardening.

Eric
 
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It might be the heat the US has had this summer. Lots of blossom drop when temperature approach 90F. Excess nitrogen or just bad luck are other possibilities.
 
master pollinator
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I've found that some tomato varieties don't like to set fruit in the heat of summer. They would flower all summer but only set fruit early, take a break, then start setting more fruit when it cooled down. I have switched to Arkansas Traveler and Matt's wild cherry. They both set fruit in our heat.

As you missed the cooler temps in the spring, maybe this is the problem?
 
Eric Hanson
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Gregory,

Typically I think of tomatoes as being able to handle just about any heat—and our high temperatures have been mostly in the 80s.  I did add urine to the young plants to give them a jump start but I have given tomatoes blood meal, manure, and urine in the past with no ill effects.  This is a woodchip bed with the tomatoes planted in fertile holes left from previous years.  The plants themselves look bountiful.  

Maybe excessive nitrogen caused the plants to pig out but not set fruit?  But this would be a first for me.  Maybe I need more phosphorus?  At this point I am really open to suggestions.

Thanks for all the input.

Eric
 
Eric Hanson
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Joylynn,

You might be right.  I usually start getting fruits by late June and harvest in early July.  Maybe if I let the plants keep growing I might get some fall fruit?

Incidentally, I once planted tomatoes quite early—late March if I remember.  The plants were stunted, barely survived and certainly did not give me early tomatoes.  Since then I have always waited till at least mid April to May to plant and the tomatoes always grew vigorously and set fruit early.  Given that the tomatoes always thrived in our hot, humid summers with no watering, I assumed that tomatoes were virtually heat and drought proof.  But maybe they actually need that early cooler period for fruit setting.

Thanks for the quick feedback.

Eric
 
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Mine have some green tomatoes that are just hanging out not ripening.  Someone else had complained about same problem on another thread.   I am wondering if the wildfire haze that is blanketing the continent might be blocking enough sun to interfere with tomatoes?  

I have read old articles from back in the coal-burning era that you could not grow many vegetables in Chicago at that time due to the air pollution.  Maybe this is a similar effect?
 
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Same issue here! I planted mine where my zucchini were last year, all ( 8 ) but 1 looks really good...next to no flowers. Got a little golf ball off the early girl.

Roma's aren't looking good, but to be fair they got planted in not a great bed. They might almost be as tall to get to my knees.

I had some old flower and veg fertilizer pellets, figured I'd use them up. Doesn't have seemed to helped any (and definitely didn't hurt).


Last year in the wildfires my tye dye tomatoes were...odd, very lobey. Weird flowers. We called them our fire-land fruit. Tasty, didn't get many. We made salsa a couple times. So about 2 quarts of tomatoes. I was hoping for more this year...
 
pollinator
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If I notice my tomatoes aren’t flowering or much flowers I whip them lol. Actually I do it all the time after it worked for me the first time.

Essentially your just shaking up the branches. It could be just an old wives tale but it worked for me so it’s just part of my routine when walking by the tomatoes now
 
pollinator
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Heat. Tomatoes won't set fruit at high temperatures, so if your early nitrogen application prevented blooming until after the heat hit, you may get nothing until fall. Some varieties will also just hang on to their fruit until the cooler temperatures return while others will ripen the fruit they have and drop blossoms (no pollination) until things cool off.

Pay close attention to the night-time temperatures.

The high UV and other sun problems may be contributing as well. Plants have no eyes--they must go by what they feel, and if they feel the temperatures are higher due to external factors the pollination boundary may actually be lower than normal.
 
gardener
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I'm not an expert, and I don't mean to be controversial, but I disagree with the thought that tomatoes won't set in the heat. I live in N. California zone 9 b.  In my experience tomatoes and watermelon seem to require heat.  If tomatoes didn't set fruit in the heat I would never get tomatoes.  I would guess it's environmental.  Last year I didn't get very many tomatoes at all, and it was the same for everyone in my area. This year like you I got a late start this year.  I planted nursery plants in mid May.  All of my tomatoes grew beautifully.  A couple are loaded with fruit, but like others have stated slow to ripen.  A few of my tomatoes are producing blooms, but not setting fruit.  My thoughts were since I planted so late I don't have nearly as many flowers in my veggie garden, so maybe I don't have as many pollinators?  I have been tapping the back of the buds on the reluctant tomato plants, and it's helping.  
Gardening is such a gamble.  Sometimes you can do everything right, and still get crummy results.  It's why we need so desperately  to take care of our planet. It doesn't matter what we do, if mother nature won't, or can't cooperate, nun of it matters.
Have you asked people in your area if they are experiencing the same thing?  It may help you figure out what to do next. If everyone is having the same trouble, then you know it probably isn't a deficiency.   Might try hand pollinating.  Good luck Eric, I hope you get tomatoes soon or later.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Eric,

I thought I  would follow up. While I do have a few other tomatoes, only my Romas are really producing.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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I'm finally getting many ripe tomatoes.  I think I was just being to impatient.  I hope this is the case for you all
 
Eric Hanson
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Well, my tomatoes finally set some green fruits, but I am still awaiting their ripening.  

Patience indeed.
 
pollinator
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We are experiencing strangeness in our garden as well this year and can only chalk it up to the heat, possibly to the smoke from wildfires, but mostly how the heat combined with late planting to throw a wrench into the process.

Our tomatoes went in about on time, but the heat caused (a) late ripening of non-paste-type tomatoes and (b) early ripening of our paste tomatoes.  Normally, the latter would start to be harvested in late August/early September, but this year we may have most of the crop harvested in the next few weeks and it's a pretty decent sized crop.  The other tomatoes likely will ripen rather quickly as they have started to turn now, but more "all at  once" instead of staggered in time.  All varieties have been from seed that we have saved and re-used each year for over a decade.

Don't know what to do about potatoes which have nearly dead vines now and are weeks away from when I normally would harvest them.

The only corn in the garden this year is popcorn--we may not even get a crop as the tassels have been out for a week or two and no silks have even thought about appearing. This, while commercial corn in fields near the property are doing pretty well (very spotty across the county....other fields in region parched dry from drought). Kale is growing well, but too bitter right now from the heat and hopefully will recover some flavor in the cool of the fall season.  Chard looks good but got leaf spot early this year and we hope cooler weather will promote new growth that is less infected.
 
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