What happened to my tomatoes?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-15-2008
What happened to my tomatoes?
Sat, 11-15-2008 - 4:10pm

I planted 6 starters this summer, and they all grew into beautiful, huge, bushy plants and started to produce lots flowers and buds. In fact, they were the bushiest tomato plants I'd ever grown. The problem is that the buds fell off virtually every single plant, and produced no fruit. The little bend or 'crook' just below where the buds would sprout from just fell off in my hand when I would touch them. My local garden center guy said he'd never heard of this happening, and couldn't offer any help.

I think I did everything right -- watered regularly, fertilized, weeded. I saw no signs of spotting or yellowing on the leaves. I've grown tomatoes almost every year with varying results, but never had this happen before.

Any ideas or suggestions so I don't have a repeat of this next year? Thanks in advance for any help or recommendations.


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-18-2004
Tue, 11-25-2008 - 6:53am

Found this for you:

Poor tomato fruit set takes place for many reasons. Prime among them are the occurence of extreme temperatures. When tomato plants experience extreme temperatures, either below 55° or above 90° F, for an extended period of time it may cause developing tomato blossoms to drop off. These blossoms drop off before the tomato fruits can set and therefore the tomato fruits do not develop. Another cause of poor fruit set in tomato plants is excessive nitrogen composition in the surrounding soil of the tomato garden. When the soil around tomato plants has a high nitrogen concentration, this promotes lush leaf growth to the detriment of tomato blossom and tomato fruit formation. Excessive nitrogen is the most common cause of lush foliage with no tomato fruits in the garden. Shading may also account for poor tomato fruit set. Be sure to locate your tomato garden where it will receive no less than six hours of sunlight per day. If the number of hours your tomato plants receive direct sunlight drops below six, it could be the cause of poor fruit set. The last, and often overlooked, cause of poor fruit set in tomato plants is very simply, dry soil. If your tomato plants are not receiving adequate water for their nourishment needs, tomato blossoms will dry and fall off plants.

What can you do about it?

When planting your tomato garden, be sure to place it in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. Make sure the area you choose for your tomato plants does not receive too much shade from other plants, trees, or structures in the area. Correct any nitrogen imbalance in the soil by using a fertilizer

which is rated 0-10-10 or 0-20-0, applying the fertiler according to package label instructions. Also be sure to keep tomato plants watered. This means a regular schedule of watering which prevents the soil from drying out too much at any one time. You can also mulch your tomato plants in the vegetable garden with straw, black plastic or other mulching materials to improve the moisture of soil surrounding the tomato plants. Additionally, when you are planting your tomato plants, plant them at the appropriate time of the year. Pay attention to the seed packet or tomato transplant instruction and note whether the varieties you have chosen should be planted early, mid or late-season.