HAVE three varieties of tomatoes, one is setting fruit no trouble,
but the other two only set one or two fruit low down on the plant.
The rest of the flowers don't come to anything. I've tried spraying
them with fruit set, but they just die and fall off. All the plants
are healthy and I've sprayed regularly with copper spray and also
Target for whitefly. I had a similar problem last year, but it seems
worse this season. There also seems to be fewer female flowers on
cucumbers, but my potatoes, cabbages, cauliflowers and beans are
of gardeners have reported similar problems this year. In general,
tomatoes are particularly susceptible to temperature fluctuations,
though some varieties are much more tolerant than others. Periods
when temperatures drop in spring or get very high in summer can
cause poor fruit set. The tomato plants may grow quite happily,
but the extremes of temperature affect fruit set.
Obviously one of the
varieties you are growing is more tolerant than the others in your
conditions, so the best thing is for you to stick to growing that
one in the future.
Other factors that may
contribute to the problem include water and fertiliser. Try to maintain
relatively even soil moisture - don't allow it to dry out for long
periods. And don't go overboard with high nitrogen fertilisers.
Tomatoes need good quantities of phosphorous and potassium in conjunction
with nitrogen for best results.
Cucumbers need relatively
warm conditions also, while potato, cabbage, caulis and beans are
more cold tolerant, so it comes as no surprise that they are doing
well, for the present. The situation might be reversed, however,
in the heat of summer.
Gardener, Issue 191, 2005, Page 29
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.