RE: [tomato] Yellow Pear Tomato Problem

Betsy & Wigi Tozzi (
Mon, 17 Jul 2000 19:00:30 -0800 (AKDT)

Olie wrote:
> What have you been feeding your plants?  I have feed all the plants in my
> garden twice. Once during initial planting and a second time approximately
> four weeks after the initial feeding with Vigoro Tomato & Vegetable Food
> 12-10-5.

Since I don't know the Vigoro product, can you tell me whether it's a
'granular type' that you mix into the soil or a 'soluble' type that is
applied after dissolving in water?
> Are your other varieties heirloom/OP's or hybrids?  I do not know how this
> answer this question. 

Let me try to ask this a different way -- you said your other types of
tomato plants are doing fine.  What kinds are they?  (Not the yellow pear,
but the other ones that are doing well).  

> Incidentally, the Yellow Pear plants are the tallest tomato plants in my
> garden, over 6' 6" in height in cages.

Well, that's reassuring that they're not stunted -- yellow pear plants
are typically very strong and tall growers. However they may be growing
even taller because of an excess of Nitrogen in your fertilizer.

It's possible that it's a variety that gets leaf yellowing as the leaves
become old.  Is the yellowing appearing restricted to the bottom
leaves/branches or is it moving up the plant?  

If there are any "suckers" (new growth - branch shoots) coming out of the
joints where the bottom leaves meet the main stem, can you tell if
they're green?  

Also note that very hot and very cold days can take their toll on tomato
plants which can get pretty beat up by the end of the season, so I
wouldn't worry TOO much.  However,

I have a couple of suggestions that are of general use in tomato plant

1) Consider switching to a fertilizer that has more (or at least
as much) phosphorus (the 2nd number in the fertilizer label).  This will
encourage more blossom and fruit production and less leaf/stem growth.
You may use organic products or chemical ones.  If using a chemical
product, consider a soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro.  Standard Miracle
Gro is rated at 15-30-15.  The labeling on Organic products are a little
confusing, but again, look for a product with at least as much "P" as "N"
(the "numbers" in the fertilizer are for N(itrogen)-P(hosphorus)-K(potassium)
and are all considered necessary to healthy plants).  The organic products
typically appear to have lower quantities of nutrients in them, yet my
experience is that they are as good as the chemical fertilizers as long as
the general ratios match; also soluble fertilizers will act faster but
will get washed out of the soil faster too.  

2) Consider "foliar feeding" with a spray bottle or sprayer as the leaves
are able to absorb a lot of  nutrients (!) -- you may use 1/2 strength up
to full-strength miracle gro  (or a comparable soluble chemical
preparation), liquid fish, liquid kelp (my favorite), or compost tea.
Don't worry if you drench the soil too.

3) Consider a mulch over the soil to prevent soil-splash.  Some choices
are straw, plastic mulches such as Red SRM mulch/tomato booster, coco peat
(my favorite), cocoa bean shells, etc.  Grass clippings (as long as they
are herbicide- and pesticide-free) make great mulch because they break
down and add nutrients while protecting your plants. 

Best of luck & good growing!

Fairbanks, Alaska