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Old 04-10-2010, 11:01 AM   #1
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Beefsteak Tomatoes

Fortunately, I live in a very sunny climate which should be great for growing tomatoes. Unfortunately, I only have a small, albeit, sunny deck for my growing endeavors. I grew beefsteak tomatoes last year. The vines, which were grown from seed and planted in 4 gallon containers were quite large and soon commandeered a large corner of my deck. But the fruit they produced were only about half the size that I am used to seeing beefsteaks grow to.

Should I have been pruning the plants and limiting the number of fruit grown or do I need to learn about specific types of fertilizer that tomatoes require. Would appreciate any input you might give me.

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Old 04-10-2010, 11:36 AM   #2
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Container gardening can be tricky. I had someone tell me that I needed to fool the plant into thinking it's planted in the ground! I would suggest that you use much larger containers or plant a tomato specifically for patio/containers. I had the same problem one year and found out too late that I should have cut the stems back to about 4 feet tall. They were brandywine heirloom tomatoes and my first attempt. I grew them inside in the sunroom and they grew 10 to 12 feet tall but only three dinky tomatoes! I also didn't know at the time that I should have been pollinating them by hand due to the lack of pollinating insects. It's neat that you saved the seeds. I've been doing that for several years and it really helps the budget! The down side to seed saving is that one doesn't really need to buy seeds. I love looking (and drooling), through all the catalogs and planning next years garden! If you want to see a beautiful catalog, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds puts one out worthy of framing and hanging on the wall! They also have forums where any question regarding gardening can probably be answered. Don't give up and have fun planting.
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:27 AM   #3
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Generally, if you get more leaves and vining branches it's because the tomato plants got too much water and fertilizer and decided to become giants. Cutting off the suckers at the bottom and nipping some of the branches will make the plant put more energy into tomato production. Some support for the plants is also helpful. And even though your climate is sunny, how many hours of that sun actually reaches the plants? I've grown some pretty good tomatoes in large pots. Right now I have four huge plants (30") growing in 1 gallon pots in my indoor plastic zip-up greenhouse up against a South facing window. They have lots of tomatoes and flowers. Right now it's too cold for them outside and they will need more soil than a 1 gallon pot provides. But so far they seem happy.
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:00 PM   #4
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One of the plants I put in a pot this year is a beefsteak tomato. My grandmother always planted them along with early girl and better boy tomatoes. I've honestly not had a fabulous tomato in years. Good ones from the farmer's market from time to time but none that can be called fabulous.

The plant is just 10 inches high right now. It seems sturdy. I'll place a cage around it when it grows a bit more.

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Old 05-19-2010, 09:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentmeow View Post
They were brandywine heirloom tomatoes and my first attempt. I grew them inside in the sunroom and they grew 10 to 12 feet tall but only three dinky tomatoes! I also didn't know at the time that I should have been pollinating them by hand due to the lack of pollinating insects.
WoweeZowee...12 feet tall indoors? By the way, how do you pollinate them yourself? I grew container tomatoes and zuchinni on my deck outside one year and got quite a crop of both but the next year, even though the zuchinni plant was lush and healthy (about 2 dozen blossoms at one time), not even one zuchinni was produced. The tomatoes were smaller (and the snails kept winning the battle). Then I thought back and realized I hadn't seen any honeybees around. I live in the suburbs. It seems I once read where the town sprayed the entire residential areas to keep down the mosquito population...is that why? If so, that's sad not to mention stupid as we need our honeybees. I've been searching and can't find anything about this alleged spraying now...except that it was done in NYC which caused asthma to increase.

By the way, I enjoyed stuffed zuchinni blossoms that year...so pretty and very yummy!

This year I'm not doing tomatoes nor zuchinni but concentrating more on herbs and spinach.

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Old 05-19-2010, 11:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mollyanne View Post
WoweeZowee...12 feet tall indoors? By the way, how do you pollinate them yourself? I grew container tomatoes and zuchinni on my deck outside one year and got quite a crop of both but the next year, even though the zuchinni plant was lush and healthy (about 2 dozen blossoms at one time), not even one zuchinni was produced. The tomatoes were smaller (and the snails kept winning the battle). Then I thought back and realized I hadn't seen any honeybees around. I live in the suburbs. It seems I once read where the town sprayed the entire residential areas to keep down the mosquito population...is that why? If so, that's sad not to mention stupid as we need our honeybees. I've been searching and can't find anything about this alleged spraying now...except that it was done in NYC which caused asthma to increase.

By the way, I enjoyed stuffed zuchinni blossoms that year...so pretty and very yummy!

This year I'm not doing tomatoes nor zuchinni but concentrating more on herbs and spinach.

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What a shame. I love tomatoes more than anything be they large orsmall I can go to pick some and eat several right off the vine. Tomatoes and anything you grow will get tall if the have to reach for the sun. I firmly believe as did my dad that the sun us what gives them flavor. Why do then so little flavor compared to those pick from our yard?will hot house veggies have. So then hebs will need at least a half day of sunshine or else they will bolt and grow tall but not have much flavor...
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by web-collage View Post
Generally, if you get more leaves and vining branches it's because the tomato plants got too much water and fertilizer and decided to become giants. Cutting off the suckers at the bottom and nipping some of the branches will make the plant put more energy into tomato production.
So do you recommend cutting leaves from the bottom? Not off the top persay? I have a few tomato seedlings and I want to be sure just in case I come across this.
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Old 05-20-2010, 04:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mollyanne View Post
WoweeZowee...12 feet tall indoors? By the way, how do you pollinate them yourself? I grew container tomatoes and zuchinni on my deck outside one year and got quite a crop of both but the next year, even though the zuchinni plant was lush and healthy (about 2 dozen blossoms at one time), not even one zuchinni was produced. The tomatoes were smaller (and the snails kept winning the battle). Then I thought back and realized I hadn't seen any honeybees around. I live in the suburbs. It seems I once read where the town sprayed the entire residential areas to keep down the mosquito population...is that why? If so, that's sad not to mention stupid as we need our honeybees. I've been searching and can't find anything about this alleged spraying now...except that it was done in NYC which caused asthma to increase.

By the way, I enjoyed stuffed zuchinni blossoms that year...so pretty and very yummy!

This year I'm not doing tomatoes nor zuchinni but concentrating more on herbs and spinach.

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All tomatoes are SELF-POLLINATING. Thus, they don't require insects or any other exterior form of pollination to produce fruit. Squashes, however, DO require insects for pollination - lack of insects, lack of fruit.
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:12 AM   #9
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I haven't tried to plant a tomato but always like to try one. Maybe it has something to do with how they are planted or fertilized?
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Old 05-22-2010, 05:32 PM   #10
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I haven't tried to plant a tomato but always like to try one. Maybe it has something to do with how they are planted or fertilized?
Give it a try! Buy one for a flower pot and see what happens! I don't want to be the only newbie gardener!

My tomatoes are growing though not quickly. I'm okay with it. Even if I get just a few tomatoes, I will consider it worth while. I've not had a true vine-ripened tomato in years.

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