Trouble growing tomatoes

Asked April 28, 2017, 9:26 AM EDT

Hi - I have had trouble growing tomatoes the last 3 years in my garden. For the last 3 years the plants have looked weak and produced very little fruit. This compares to the 3 years prior where my tomato plants were very prolific. It has been suggested to me (by neighbors) that I need to amend the soil in my planter boxes.

1. If I do need to amend the soil, what should I use?
2. Do you have any other suggestions?

Thank you!

Chris Bouck

Arapahoe County Colorado fruits and vegetables

1 Response

Hello Chris,

There are a few factors that come to mind when considering your tomato problems.

Because your tomatoes have appeared to be weak looking and not producing as they have in the past, I'm wondering if the sunlight has changed in the last few years because of trees growing larger and blocking out the light. If this is the case, they would need to be relocated where they would receive a minimum of 7-8 hours of full sun for maximum fruit production.

Every few years consider changing out the soil. Replace it with a good quality potting soil. Don't use regular garden soil that can be high in clay. If you want to amend the soil with organic matter (peat moss, compost or well rotted manure), use only enough to bring the organic content to 5-7%. Any more than that can be counter productive.

In containers It's easier for the water to pass through and take nutrients with it. You will need to use a water soluble vegetable fertilizer more frequently to get good fruit production.

Lastly, tomatoes need a fairly large planter box to accommodate their root system. Consider growing patio type tomatoes that have a smaller root system and require less rooting space.

More information on tomatoes and container gardening below. Good luck!