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Help a novice grower - tomato plants not watered for 5 days - any hope of rescuing them?

(23 Posts)
WhenDoISleep Thu 18-Aug-16 18:27:13

Please help a novice tomato grower.

I have 6 tomato plants growing in growbags (2 bags with 3 plants each). I have been away and the plants were not watered between last Thursday and my return yesterday. I had arranged for them to be watered but it didn't happen.

When I came back one set of 3 looked ok, very wilted but still mostly green leaves. The other set, which had been looking very healthy before I left was looking very sad. The leaves have all shrivelled and a lot have turned brown.

I have watered them several times since I returned but would like some advice as to if it is possible to help them recover or if there is no hope. I have the tomato feed sticks inserted in the growbags oil since the first fruit appeared.

This is my first year trying to grow anything and they were doing so well.

bookbook Thu 18-Aug-16 21:37:36

Have you any tomatoes set ? If you have don't try to do extra watering - it will just split the skins on the fruit. They are pretty good at recovering, even if they look sad . Fingers crossed smile

elephantoverthehill Thu 18-Aug-16 21:40:10

If you have fruit on your tomatoes it is a good idea to start removing the leaves anyway. The leaves have done their job and will now be just shading the fruit and stopping it ripening. Cut off any brown leaves and any big ones from the bottom. Be careful about being too enthusiastic about the watering if they have dried out as too much too quickly can cause the tomatoes to swell rapidly and split the skins. See Friday's GW.

shovetheholly Fri 19-Aug-16 08:45:31

Just to clarify elephant's post: remove the foliage around the fruits so it can get sun, but don't defoliate completely. James Wong is good on this - he says that the leaves are the thing that allows the sugars/flavour to be produced, that you need to remove a few leaves but not strip the plant. Here's a twitter spat he had with Monty Don about it:

WhenDoISleep Fri 19-Aug-16 10:31:36

Thank you.

I do have some fruit on the OK looking plants, but not many; on the 3 very sad plants, I have fruit on one but nothing on the others.

I watered them immediately I saw them on Wednesday afternoon, then again on later on in the evening and the once yesterday, so I hopefully haven't over watered. The soil this morning still seems moist and some of the leaves on the sad plants are green again, but they no longer have that lovely tomato plant smell, more of a slightly sour rotten scent.

It's currently raining but I will take some of the leaves off when I get the chance.

Thank you for the advice.

elephantoverthehill Fri 19-Aug-16 10:45:08

Shove Great Twitter spat! When are you going to post a photo?

bookbook Fri 19-Aug-16 10:54:33

enjoyed the great defoliating debate.. i'm a lazy tomato grower. I only take off the dead/dying bits. My tomatoes ( in the greenhouse,) go red/ripen in amongst the jungle of leaves smile

shovetheholly Fri 19-Aug-16 11:03:17

A photo of my garden? I have posted loads, I bet people are bored of seeing it! grin Since you insist, and I need only the slightest excuse to post yet another, here's one of my garden and one of my allotment.

I'm out right now, so these are just the two latest I have on my computer - the garden one is therefore out of date, from something like 10 weeks ago. Things have moved on a bit since - now into crocosmia and geranium season! Will try to get newer pics over the weekend. I dropped my phone so need to borrow DH's!! The allotment one is more recent, though. You can't see much because I couldn't get the angle wide enough. I am crap at pictures!

elephantoverthehill Fri 19-Aug-16 11:07:32

Sorry the question about the photo was to When do I sleep. The Op ie a photo of her tomatoes. Your garden is always a joy though Shove grin

shovetheholly Fri 19-Aug-16 11:09:43

Ahhhhhhh! It all makes sense now.

BUT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT all the same!! grin

I am concerned about the odd smell being emitted by these toms. That doesn't sound right at all.

WhenDoISleep Fri 19-Aug-16 11:30:26

I will post a photo in a bit when I can get out into the garden but I'm a bit embarrassed by my merge offerings after seen the magnificence of shovetheholly's garden.

shovetheholly Fri 19-Aug-16 11:54:09

Don't be - it's been the work of years, and you are only in your first year of growing things! That's a huge difference. Yours will be far more magnificent when you've been at it a while. Also, I have loads of problems that you can't see because the photo is at a flattering angle. grin Not least wooly aphids on my apple tree, grrrr!

WhenDoISleep Fri 19-Aug-16 12:37:09

I have photos. These are my OK plants, the seem to have pretty much bounced back:

WhenDoISleep Fri 19-Aug-16 12:37:45

And theses are my very sad chaps:

WhenDoISleep Fri 19-Aug-16 12:38:59

Photos would be useful

WhenDoISleep Fri 19-Aug-16 12:40:09

The very sad 3 were pretty much completely brown on Wednesday so there is some recovery since then.

WhenDoISleep Fri 19-Aug-16 12:45:09

There are two different varieties (one a cherry, one not) but they got mixed up when germinating so I'm not sure which is which and I was slightly late starting them off - they were planted out the second weekend of June.

elephantoverthehill Fri 19-Aug-16 12:50:32

They do look like they are bouncing back. I think the more healthy looking ones are probably the cherries.

elephantoverthehill Fri 19-Aug-16 12:51:30

And has the tomatoey smell come back?

WhenDoISleep Fri 19-Aug-16 13:03:20

The 3 good ones have the normally tomato smell, but the others still smell fairly rotten.

elephantoverthehill Fri 19-Aug-16 13:11:14

Are they in the same greenhouse? If they are I might be tempted to cut my losses with the poorer ones in case the have some kind of disease. But please wait for someone else's advice before you do anything rash. smile

WhenDoISleep Fri 19-Aug-16 13:26:27

No they are separate, I have two of those grow houses (frame with the plastic cover). I currently have the open in the hope the smell is due to them having been closed in for so long.

shovetheholly Fri 19-Aug-16 13:56:22

I suspect your poorer ones have had it, but the others look like they will be fine and dandy. Avoid the temptation to overwater!

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