hi there, this years batch of tomatoes seems to have slowed down. I dug in heaps of slow release fertiliser ect to begin with an went for the 'starve until flowering method' and as a result got lots of flowers on all the plants. Every plant has produced a healthy number an size of tomatoes yet they have failed to ripen for 2-3 weeks so far, and most tomatoes have been sitting on the vine fully grown all that time. Only now are they showing signs of ripening, but im wondering if this delay is down to a lack of nuitrients in the soil, in which case amp up the fertiliser which hasnt been applied for a while..... or would some ethelene help? cheers nick

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at the risk of sounding like an idiot.. what is the starve till they flower method?
Have you been feeding them with a potassium based fertiliser? I use a blood and bone based liquid plant food weekly.

The other thing that may be inhibiting growth is if you have lots of laterals bearing fruit. I have 6 plants where I didn't pick off the laterals and 6 that I did and the later are producing the biggest/healthiest fruit despite being in a shadier spot with less fertile soil.
My tomatoes are late ripening too but are doing their thing now. definitely taking off laterals helps. I am a bit useless at mothering mine - I just use compost and some blood and bone when I remember, plus they get random chicken poo when one happens by. I wonder about water - mine get quite dry and while I don't let them wilt they don't get a water everyday so must be living on the edge somewhat (!)
Melanie, havnt been applying fertiliser as regulary as i should but not pinching off the laterals is what i havnt done. I heard that the lateral growth is the only growth that produces the fruit, obviously not the case. The volume an size of tomatoes is quite good but i guess the ripening has been affected. Thanks id say this combined with lack of fertilizer is the reason, something to remember next year aye :)

Kate the starve method is basically, when planting in the seedlings give them a good dose of fertiliser but then afterward, onl water them... untill the first set of flowers apear, then whack on fast acting fertiliser weakly. THis basically makes the plant think its starving, and once its first flower and fertiliser begin it 'makes the most of things' and puts out alot of flowers therefore increaseing your crop.

Denise, my tomatoes here in auckland need 1-2 good waters a day, make sure there in the evening/morning though.

cheers for the help all, and funnily enouph there starting to ripen now...slowly though lol
why are you worrying yet.... you have at least 6weeks before you need to start worrying! we have out door toms ripening until the end of may generally!
just let nature do it's thing!
to the best of my knowledge fertiliser/nutrient helps with fruit set, fruit swell and flavour, but time and temperature are key factors in ripening. hey i hear you are havoing some of the hotest weather in history in Auckland (32+ deg) (this created huge amounts of laughter in north canterbury where it has regularly hit 40+ deg this summer. great for the grapes i say)
just a comment on laterals and fruit etc.
fruit is borne on trusses on the central stem, laterals grow from leaf axils on the central stem. once a lateral grows it in essence becomes a stem thus having both laterals and fruit trusses and on it goes until you have a jungle.
given a finite amount of light, space, water and nutrient, the more leaf and stem a plant has the more resource it takes. the more energy a plant is putting into leaf the less there is for fruit growth. growing tomatoes is a balance between leaf and plant growth and fruit growth. the fruit grown on the main central stem is often larger as the nutrients have a more direct pathway to the fruit, the further up the plant the further away from the soil, more competition for the nutrient. it all makes sense. given in the garden, you have a finite time where growing conditions are prime for tomato growth, by reducing the lateral growth, you give the plant the most help with producing lots of good quality fruit lower on the plant, earlier in the season. but plants only produce flowers in a growing tip, so then, if you have a longer season ie in a green house you may allow more lateral growth to extend the harvest over a much longer period. it is all about finding the right balance for the resources available!
Dont feed you plants any nitrogen. i.e no blood and bone, no chicken manure ,... pot ash is a great source of potassium which is proven to speed up the fruit riping process and increase the weight andn yeild.. othe than that it all depends on when the tomatoes where planted?
gday guys, therev all started to ripen now, about half done so far so I guess as everyone said just give it time.

minx, thanks for the tips on lateral growth, ill follow that next season


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