That was a long delay between posts. Lets just blame it on the weather this time.

In the first week of March, my garden was full of tomato  laden plants. Bunches of tomatoes everywhere. It was clearly a problem of plenty. With help from friends, neighbours in my apartment and relatives  the tomato population was brought under control. Thanks y’all.

Posting the pics here for your viewing pleasure.

Marmande: Tomato-On-Vine.(TOV)

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The strings with which they were trained were loosened when the plants started touching the top.

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This particular truss had so much fruits that it started breaking off and it had to be supported by a separate twine.

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Tomatoes in Bunches. Each weighing around 1.2-1.6Kg.

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Closeup of Trusses.

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Marmande and Pink of Bern, both took the 1st spot in Taste Category. Marmande was a real good producer. Will be sowing again.

As always comments, queries, suggestions are most welcome.

gg

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77 Responses

  1. Hi GG,

    They look great. Are they hydroponically gorwn? I don’t see drip irrigation. What is frequency of watering and nutrients? What is potting mix?

    Has green house helped in bringing down diseases. Particularly powdery? In your last years post you use to frequently talk about Panchgavya. Are you using it still? Any visible benefits?

    Shashaknk

    • Hi Shashank,

      Thanks. They are hydroponically grown. I totally had 6 plants 4 of them hydro and 2 of them in soil. They didn’t have drip installed as they were in different heights and were very close to the floor( I need a 1 feet height to collect the water drained from the pot). I have removed the plants now and have grow bags setup on an automated drip. As I said this is a back post and the setup is old.

      Greenhouse has helped me bring down disease. Also, I leave enough space between the plants and have close watch to find out insects. I used to use Panchagavya but now I don’t use it as much as I used to. But I do use it sometimes. I had mixed results with it.

      GG

      • Hi GG,

        Thanks. Coming to grow bags, are you planning Cucumbers? How drain holes work in grow bags? Are excesss/drained nutrients are suppose to be collected and re-used? Can u share drip layout? Are you mixing nutrients daily or using nutrient concentration?

        I know I am asking too many technical questions!! Your experience is helping many of us.

        Coming to cucumbers: Is this ok season to start cucumbers. Typically in Pune we will have tems rnaging from 33 to 37 next two months.

        Thanks

        Shashank

  2. Hi GG,

    Congrats on the good crop. How many kilos did you get per plant?

    Looking at your pictures, you are trimming of the suckers and let only the fruits remain in trusses. After a while I guess you will be left with the barren main trunk for a few feet and as it grows you will be having fruits higher up. Is this correct?

    • Hi Srikanth,

      Thanks. I got around 3-5 kilos per plant. Yes thats correct. I trim the suckers and remove the leaves beneath the first fruit cluster. I dont grow the plants till they die. I remove them when the yield declines and go with the new variety.

      gg

  3. Hello GG,

    Was really hungry for a new post…!! Those are a lot of tomatoes.. – Fruits of your labour…!!! Hope its not long before your new post.

    Regards,
    Indrani.

    • Thanks Indrani. Yep Lots of tomatoes, at some point, I started using buckets to store after I pluck them. I am working on a new post about growing tomatoes in grow bags. Watchout…

      gg

  4. Great harvest, GG! Leaves in one of my tomato seedlings has started curling upward for past two days. I was worried of aphids or viral infection but there were no signs of them. Is it just a physiological curl? But Internet Sources say that physiological curl shouldn’t affect the new growth and other neighboring seedlings. It hasn’t affected the two neighboring tomatoes, but the new shoots on that plant look slightly curled? Should I be worried?

    • Chandramouli,

      Sorry for the delay. I think leaf curling is a sign of viral infection. Especially if young seedlings show that sign. How are the plants doing now. Are they still curling?.. If it curls too much it wont yield that well.

      gg

  5. gg, your harvest is stupendous. I’m really looking forward to the post on growing tomatoes in grow bags. I followed the same practice of removing leaves until there were just some leaves on the top but I didn’t get anywhere near the number of tomatoes on each plant that you did. I guess feeding was the issue. I know you have told us the proportion of NPK that you use but am wondering whether this has to be put together from separate ingredients.

    • Jeanne,

      Sorry for the delay. I am sure it is the feeding. You can use NPK too but tomato needs a dose of calcium and magnesium as well that is missing in most of the NPK formulations. You can add EPsom and Calcium nitrate separately or mix nutrients from individual chemicals. Let me know if you have more questions.

  6. Hi gg,
    Thanks for the tomatoes which you sent to chennai. They were good. My hibiscus plant gave me more than 100 flowers in the last two months. i have bought an orchid plant. It was quiet costly, I have kept it in shade. Kindly tell me what fertilizer i should use for it. I had already posted this last evening i don’t know why my post is missing .

    • Hi Kalyani,

      The post you wrote already was waiting in my moderation queue. Hence it didn’t show up. I will soon get back to you.

      gg

  7. That’s one problem I will never have. Tomatoes aren’t super thrilled when grown in cold places like where I live. I am “virtually” enjoying yours though.

    Christine in Alaska

    • Thanks Christine.

      Tomatoes, eggplant and its relatives like it hot!. Its the same story here, as we have very small window during the year we can grow cold weather crops like broccoli, lettuce, kale etc.

      Happy gardening.

    • Anil,

      Have some INDAM indeterminate variety growing right now. Think I will have to dig out some variety from DoH/Annadana.

  8. Hi GG,

    Do you have any spare seeds of beefsteak tomatoes? If so, can i borrow some?

    They look really juicy and different.

    Cheers,
    Mahesh.

  9. HI GG,
    I recently started following your blog. It is really amazing. I am drooling over these tomatoes. Glad that ur greenhouse is yielding so many tomatoes. Inspired by you, I have sown few tomatoes. How long do they take to germinate? You said next you are sowing cucumber. Please let me know where you get the seeds from and where is Panchagavya available in bangalore?

    http://surasaayi.blogspot.com

    Thankyou
    Sahana

    • Hi Sahana,

      Thanks for visiting. Tomatoes take somewhere between 4-7days to germinate( on ideal conditions).Seeds you get in many places. You can get them in Lalbagh as well.

      For Panchagavya, you can check with Saikiran (panchagavya.wordpress.com) he is friend of mine and will be able help you in providing PG.

      gg

  10. Hi,
    I am planning to plant strawberries. Please let me know where can I get good seeds? Can I grow in hanging pots?
    Please advice me on this.

    • Hi Sahana,

      Strawberries are usually propagated via runners. You can grown them in hanging pots. I think you get strawberries as a pot in nurseries. I will get back to you on this.

      gg

  11. I’m jealous! I started my first foray into tomato growing some 22 days ago. I bought the seeds from the horticultural society and I don’t know yet if they’re determinate or indeterminate.

    I hope I can one day have vines like yours!. I’ve named my tomato plants as well 🙂 and posted pictures of them.

    Where do you get your indeterminate seeds from? Is there a website?

    • Hi Bhagwad,

      Nice to know you jumped into the world of gardening. Starting with tomatoes is a good idea. Indeterminate tomatoes are available almost in all the seed shops. Are you from Bangalore?.Is horticultural society you refer the same as Dept Of Hort?..
      gg

      • I’ve found out that in Chennai, no one grows indeterminate tomatoes. People know of two varieties – Nat Takkali and Bangalore Takkalis, both of which are determinate.

        I’ve called up all the seed shops and they all say that the plants will give just one batch of fruits all at once 🙁

        I really wanted indeterminate ones, so based on a comment in your “about” page, I ordered some from the UK. Perhaps they’ll take a month…

        Was going through your blog and I’m really quite impressed by what you’ve achieved with such limited space. It gave me confidence to grow some of my own stuff in my garden and I’ve set aside some space.

        I’ve also just sown coriander leaves according to instructions on your site. Good to see down to earth advice from an Indian instead of the US or UK based advice which relies on special tools, special fertilizer etc..

        Will keep posting on your progress 🙂

        Don’t know if the two horticultural society is the same. All I can say is they only sell determinate varieties and expressed shock when I told them that some tomato plants keep giving fruit throughout the year!

        • Hi Bhagwad,

          Great to see you enthusiasm for gardening. If you really want indeterminate variety of tomatoes, let me know. I will send you some seeds to get you started. Most of them sell DET since there is no need for staking/pruning. Indeterminate plants grow very tall (upto 25+ feet) besides yielding throughout the year ;).

  12. Hi GG- Help needed!

    I have a problem which is exactly the opposite of yours and i just dont want to give up gardening because of this reason. So i thought a few words of advice from an expert like you will boost my enthu to keep gardening. Iplanted tomato seeds in the Month of Jan, got them germinated and transferred them to 20 litre plastic buckets that i had purchased from Big bazaar. . Now the sad part… Not a single flower has turned into tomato fruit till now and all just withers away. Did some googling and found that it is called Blossom drop. I water them adequately twice a day, there is plent of sunshine on my roof(I guess tht’s the problem , it is really really very hot by around 2 in the afternoon). I also have fed the plants with sufficient quantity of panchagavya and ash( I heard ash is a good fertiliser) Half the bucket is full of compost. I dont know what more to do and its really disheartening not to see a single tomato from these plants after all that hard work i did on my terrace. really dejected. The Okra plants came well, flowered and i have reaped atleast 1 kg of Okra so far. My experience with Beans was pretty good as well. Now i have Ridge gourd which is almost set to flower. Any advice/suggestions from you on this tomato problem is much appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help and for keeping me motivated to gardening!

    • Hi Srihari,

      Sorry for the delay.
      Tomato blossom drop can be because of many reasons. You said they are in the terrace. High temperature could be a problem. Can you send a link to the close up picture of those plants/flowers. Check out pollination as well(i dont think this is the reason). Are the blossoms falling off or they are in the plant but no fruit set?. Try keeping the plant in a plant that gets little less sunlight that where it is now. And cut down on watering twice, this might leach out all the nutrients. The tomatoes I have in my terrace now has poor fruit set. In your case, it could be the weather or fertilizer. You can try watering with water soluble fertilizer 3g/Litre to see if that fixes your problem.
      Hope this helps. Do keep us posted on how it goes.

      gg

      • Hi Srihari,
        Very sad. Did you give any foliar dose of panchakavya/fertiliser/pesticides ? After flower set foliar application may hinder the plant and more chance for flower drop. Isn’t GG?

        Goodluck,

        V. Srinivasn

        • Srinivasan,

          Actually foliar during flower set stage is not a problem as long as its a fine spray. It should not be powerful enough to knock the flower off.

          gg

      • I have the exact same problem. I have 4 cherry tomato plants which are growing quite vigorously. The first bunch of flowers opened up 10 days ago, but no fruit set, the flowers stay on the plant for many days, but nothing happens and the flowers are now withering. Currently, 2-3 new bunches have opened and lots of bunches are on the way. Lets see what happens. The soil is new with lots of compost mixed in – so I don’t think fertilization is a problem. Also, to aid pollination, I tap the stem daily so that the plant shakes gently.

        My capsicum plants are also growing vigorously and have produced lots of flowers but no fruit set – exact same problem – flower staying on for 10-12 days, then it looks on the verge of fruit set but no fruit emerges, then it dries and falls. I hand pollinate the capsicum just to be sure.

        Am I right in guessing that the extreme heat is making the plants not set fruit? GG, do you have this problem currently?

        Any other things that we can try?

        • I had a similar problem. In my case, the fruit actually developed and stopped growing when it reached peanut size. I also goofed up the nutrients. Instead of switching to bloom nutrients, I continued on the grow formula for some more time. Once I fixed the nutrients, the fruits started forming and are growing too. Having said that, Heat definitely has an impact on the fruit set right now in my greenhouse.
          Try adding phosphorous/potassium source to the plants. I started seeing differences in just couple of days.

          gg

          • Dear GG,

            Whenever you get time, please do answer my questions asked in my adjacent comment. Since I am a newbie at this, it would mean a lot to me and I am sure others wil find the info useful as well.

            Atul

          • What is the NPK ratio for ‘growth phase’ and ‘bloom phase’ that you speak about? In other words, what do I ask for in the garden shop?
            How frequently should one fertilize and in what quality (say for a tomato plant)?
            Also, when should one switch – is it after first flower opens?

          • Atul,

            I am really sorry for the delay. Some questions are simple I reply to them immediately and others are not that way so I take little more time so that I can do justice to the topic. Thats all. No question is stupid.

            Coming to the point:
            For growth phase, nitrogen is relatively in higher concentration than the other two i.e Phosphorous and Potassium. Generally for Bloom phase, phosphorous and potassium are little higher. Increasing the nitrogen causes vegetative growth and increasing the P & K ( with less nitrogen) causes generative growth. In hydroponics, there are many recipes available in the internet for different phases of the plant.
            For fruit bearing vegetables, till the plant has its first flower, growth formula is used. Once it flowers the nutrient is switched to bloom nutrients. For Leafy vegetabes, growth formula is used throught out.

            If you are gonna ask in fertilizer shops, you can ask them for water soluble fertilizers. I have seen the following combinations
            19:19:19
            24:10:10
            12:24:36.

            Different companies manufacture different compositions Its hard to say.
            You can use 3g/L every other day.

            Hope this helps.
            gg

          • Thanks a lot for your reply. Its really appreciated.

            I better clear one more thing – is the 3g/L for the hydroponic way or can I use the same qty when grown in soil?

            Otherwise I may end up burning my plants becuase I grow in soil:-)

          • 3g/L is for the ones that are grown in soil. For hydroponics, you need a complete fertilizer that supplies all the minerals that are needed for plants.

            gg

      • Thank you GG. You were right. I guess it was the weather that was the culprit. With a few showers in Bangalore and the relatively cooler weather in the last few days, two out of the 4 plants have started fruiting. I will keep my fingers crossed with the other two plants. They have atleast 20-30 flowers in them put together. I have also cut down on watering from twice a day to just once in the evening time. If the fruit ripens(I am hoping it will!) I will share the pics of them before i harvest(I promise) and the whole credit of that shd go to GG for inspiring me start a terrace garden!!:). Also i have a problem with lot of red tiny ants that seems to feed on the leaves of Okra and Brinjal that seemed to be growing well.I have bought a 100ml neem oil and i was advised to mix two-10 ml of that with 1 litre of water with a lil soap solution and spray thrice a week to get rid of plants. Please let me know if there are better ways to keep the ants off!

        Thank you for your time!

        • Hi Srihari,
          Looks like the tomatoes heard you!.. Good to hear that they are fruiting. For ants, you can use Laxman Rekha chalk and put a circle around the pot. If you have boric acid that should work too.

          I am really happy to hear that you started your terrace garden and appreciate your efforts. Keep up the great work.

          Sorry for the delayed reponse.
          Cheers
          gg

  13. Disaster Strikes: My hydroponic tomatoes were struck by disaster in the last two days. The summer heat has taken toll of my tomato plants. All the plants have withered down and are on the brink of death due to the high heat in Hyderabad. The temperature of the water was 38 C at 6:45PM this evening. I guess DWC is no good in Hyderabad summer.

    If I were to use a shade net what is the temperture reduction that I can expect?

    I have my Mermande seedlings ready for transplantation. They are at a height of 10″. I wonder if they would survive this summer heat. I shudder at the thought of the heat in May.

    • Srikanth,

      Thats sad :(. Anil was facing the same issue. Water getting heated up. He has shade net on now. I haven’t measured the difference in temperature with and without shade net. I think for Hyderabad, you can try out 50% shade net.

      For marmande, find a place that has some shade in the noon. The fruits are very sensitive and are prone to cracking.

      gg

      • I did the test today. I placed a pot filled with water under direct sunlight and another under a shade net. The one under the direct sunlight had a temp of 37 C while the one under the shade net recorded 33 C at 6 PM. I am not sure if the shade net is 50% or not. Anyway, I think even 33 C is too high.

        I was actually going to paint the exterior of pot black to avoid sunlight entering the pot in order to prevent algae formation. But I think that would only heat up the water even more.

        Now I am thinking if I can use the “cool home” paint that is used for applying to the roofs.

        Any ideas???

        • Srikanth,

          Thanks for experimenting. Painting the pot black will only increase the heat. It should be white outside so that it absorbs less heat. You can also go for higher shade % available.

          gg

        • GG and Shrikanth,

          Higher % shadenet may not work well for rest of the year.

          The solution that definitely works (though high initial set up cot) is installing foggers. I have seen this almost in all Green Houses around Pune and works well. During summer, they run it 3-4 times a day for 10-15 min. to keep temperatures under control. The timing can be set through automation.

          Shashank

          • Shashank,

            Yes, I agree with you. They have to change to what works based on the weather. For Bangalore, 35% works alright but in Hyd 50% would be fine. I was evaluating misting/fogging sometime back. As you said, it is expensive and greenhouses that you foggers are completely closed. In our cases may be we need to increase the frequency/duration.

            gg

          • I think foggers would turn out to be very expensive considering the setup that is required. I think DWC should be ditched for Hyderabad kind of summers. Instead, ebb and flow or even aeroponics could be tried.

            Anybody with such experience?

            GG, where is our site? Has it gone beyond Joomla?

          • Hi Srikanth,

            Regarding site:
            The forum s/w installation is done. Needs integration (authentication related)with other subsystems( like blogs, gallery etc). Didn’t do much last week, as I had to give a talk on terrace gardening.

            Regarding hydroponics:
            I have installed drip system and have no problems with it so far.

            gg

        • Hello,

          Today morning Agri program on E-TV covered temp. control under shadenet.
          They have suggested normal garden(lawn) sprinklers in shednet to bring down the temperature. Looking at the force and height to which,water was thrown(15-16 ft) I am sure it was using a pump. But this will be far cheaper option as compared to foggers.

          Of course this is suitable only for vegetables where water droplets size is not an issue. For floriculture it won’t work.

          Shashank

          • Shashank,

            For floriculture/vegetables using polyhouses, cooling pads and fans are used to reduce the temperature. This also keeps the air continuously circulating.

            gg

  14. Hi GG and others,

    I just browsed T-Stanes website they have a product called Green Miracle-an organic reflection agent which they claim reduces 35-40% transpiration and reduces flower drop in tomato. Do you think these type of products will help to combat heat and control flower drop?

    Goodluck,

    V. Srinivasan

    • Hi Srinivasan,

      Sorry for the delayed reply. I also saw several such products (Leaf shiner or something like that). I haven’t tried any of those and I am not sure if it will be worth the money we spend on those.

      gg

  15. gg, could you send me the phone number of the garden supplies store near City Market? I seem to have lost the card I collected that day.
    Regds
    Jeanne

  16. Hi GG,

    Recently noticing that all my hibiscus plants are drying out. What should I do. I was waiting so that they are shedding their leaves and will start with new leaves. But don’t know. Please tell me what needs to be done asap. I need some urgent recovery on these pots. These are rare colors of hibiscus:(

    I have become so sad. Should I need to change the pot . I have good soil and fertiliser already.

    Please let me know asap.

    Thank you
    Sahana

    • Sahana,

      Drying out could be due to lots of reasons. Is it water enough or too much water?.. When you say all your plants, are all in one container or different ones.. How does the stem look. If the stem is healthy they will give out new leaves. Just make sure the drainage is good. Dont worry. Check out the stem.
      gg

      • Hi Sahana,

        It is normal for Hibiscuses to yellow and shed their leaves, but look out for pests in them as they’re very prone to pests like Aphids, Mealy bugs, and sooty mold. Of course, there are others but these are common in our hot climates. Don’t let Hibiscus sit in soggy soil, as they don’t like wet feet and don’t let them dry out either. If you don’t have any pests then the leaves falling off is normal.

  17. Hi GG,
    i have sown Pusa Ruby tomato seeds & the true leaves have come out.. any idea whether this is a determinate or indeterminate variety? Sources on Google indicate both det & indet…

  18. Hi GG:
    I am glad I am back in action, reading your blog and experiences shared by others. I was out of action , on the internet browsing part, due to various challenges on the personal front.

    Congrats on the golden touch you have on the plants. They really seem to respond beautifully to your care.

    It is nearly two months since I took the tomato seedlings from you. I transplanted them twice, once on small containers, and after a month , I transplanted seven of them on 4 ft high cement , cylindrical containers( I will send the pics next week end.). I too used similar soil mix as Srihari did, quite a lot of it as the depth was high. Well, I face the same problem as SriHari did. The plants are in the terrace, bearing the full brunt of the heat, producing lot of flowers but hardly any fruits. Two fruits grew a little big, oval shaped , about the size of a goose berry, but they too are not growing bigger, neither are they turning red.

    This was the scene for almost 15 days; in the last few days, I notice peanut sized fruit formation. I guess this is due to the rains. I too water the plants twice a day, am wondering whether I should do once , atleast for tomatoes… I am not sure as I feel sad that I lost seven gourd plants due to the heat ; they just wilted by 4 p.m. and by the time, I watered them, around 6 p.m., it was too late.

    I did not prune the tomato plants very rigorously. They are about 3 ft high now, with a small bushy formation. Whenever I saw flower formation on the suckers, I did not have the heart to remove them, hence this result! Is this fine?

    I am a little lost on this NPK formula. As I am using only organic manure – compost from Lalbagh , DOH and my own , neem cake and pungamia cake, How do I know whether I am giving the right NPK proportion to the plants? Any pointers here would be very helpful.

    Regards
    Meena K

  19. Hi GG:

    Pls take a look at my garden pics here:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/117973403784744241505/20100430?authkey=Gv1sRgCJaNoYqiwIzaSw#

    The tomato seedlings you gave have been transplanted on cylindrical containers. They are grwoing wekk, flowere a lot ; after a pause, the tomatoes have started forming, perhaps due to the recent showers we had in Bangalore.

    I have added pictures of yellow pumpkin plants, using the seeds got from Raj Panda.

    Pls do let me know you ideas, suggestions and comments , as you take a look at these plants.

    Regards
    Meena K

  20. Hi GG,

    One of my online buddies at Gardenweb.com forums has started a new forum dedicated for Hydroponics for international members. I have learned most of my hydropnics from this guy. In fact the wealth of knowledge that he shared with me with much more than I can find on my own through online research. He is an active member of Gardenweb (user id: lucas formula). Look for his posts at the hydroponics forum on gardenweb.com.

    He is into commercial Hydroponics. Therefore he should be very helpful to all of us who are thirsty of Hydroponics knowledge.

    I strongly recommend his forums to you and all visitors of this site: http://forum.chiangmai-thailand.com

    Thanks,
    Srikanth

  21. Wow ! you’ve got green fingers. That was some harvest ! I’ve two tomato plants. Don’t know the variety. It’s flowering and it’s fruiting. How do I tell if it’s the determinate or indeterminate variety ? I was under the impression tomato plants live for a couple of years atleast. I’m in Chennai. The plants don’t look like a vine.

  22. Dear GG,
    I am planning for growing tomotoes. Will be using cocopeat and red soil. pls let me the quantity of water to be used and the intervals at which the plants need to be watered

  23. hi gg
    i am raja gopal from vijayawada andhra pradesh
    very interesting blog
    are you selling your products out side bangalore?

  24. Hello Geekgardener

    I am from Delhi and want to know can i grow tomatoes in 10l. paint buckets. I have 7 of them. Also there is problem of seeds. Namdhari NS 524 variety is available in 10 gms packet for Rs 300. I need only about a gram. Please tell if you can help.

  25. hi gg,
    i have some questions regarding veggie plants.
    1) how do i know that the plant has completed its life and hence died and it was nobody’s fault. nature has taken its course and its not a problem of some watering, temp., fertilizer,etc. and hence no change in gardening technics needed on a war footing.
    2) i am growing tomato plants from market bought tomatoes. how do i know if its determinant or indeterminant? i had seen answer in comments if of ur posts but cant find it now.
    3) do we get any signals indicating that plant life is coming to end so that we can start seeds in time. i have very few containers and i dont like to keep them empty.
    4) toamato needs pruning? but where? my plant only has a long stem which obviously cant be cut. and everything else has flowers and tiny fruits.
    are my questions very basic( silly)? but i am really stuck here.
    thanks for all the help u hav already provided through this blog. i wish i was in bangalore. would have loved to see ur garden.
    simantini

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