Why Are My Tomatoes Teardrop Shape?
Tomato plants may have strange shape because of various reasons. Some of them are:
1) Too much water during the growing season.
Watering too much during the growing season causes tomato plants to grow abnormally. When there is too little or no rain, it will cause the plant to die due to lack of nutrients and water.
If the weather conditions become unfavorable, then it becomes difficult for tomato plants to survive.
2) Excessive sun exposure.
Too much sunlight can cause the leaves to turn yellow. It also causes the leaves to wither and fall off.
Sunlight also damages the tomato plant’s roots and stems.
3) Over watering during the growing season.
Over watering causes the soil to dry out quickly causing the tomato plants to die from lack of moisture. If you over water your tomato plants, they will not produce any fruits at all!
4) Too much fertilizer during the growing season.
Too much fertilizer can damage the tomato plants roots and stems. It also affects the tomato plants taste and texture.
5) Lack of adequate light during the growing season.
Lack of adequate light can cause the leaves to turn brown, shrivel up, and eventually fall off completely! Without enough light, the plant will not grow properly!
How Can I Prevent Tomato Plant Deformities?
Here are some tips that can prevent your tomato plants from becoming deformed:
1) Use a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.
A fertilizer that has NPK of about 5-5-5 works best. Stay away from high levels of nitrogen because it causes excessive leaf growth which impedes the growth of fruits.
Also, stay away from high levels of phosphorus and potassium because it causes stems and roots to become weak and soft.
2) Keep weeds away!
Weeds steal nutrients and water from the tomato plants. If you see any weeds, pluck them immediately to prevent them from stealing resources that your tomato plant needs.
3) Do not over or under water your plant.
The best way to see if your plant needs water is to stick your finger in the soil. If the soil is dry up to your first knuckle then it is time to water your plant.
4) Wait until the night time temperature is above 60 degrees before you plant your tomato seed.
If you plant them in colder temperatures, they will not grow!
5) Wait until nighttime temperatures are above 60 degrees before you water your plant.
Watering your plant when the soil is still cold causes the water to instantly evaporate which leads to the plant absorbing only small amounts of water.
6) Do not place your plant outdoors until nighttime temperatures remain above 60 degrees.
7) Do not plant your tomato seedling until you are sure that you have prepared the soil for planting.
If you plant a seedling outdoors and realize that you have not prepared the soil for planting, then pull up the seedling and place it in a pot or bucket. Keep the seedling in a safe place (indoors) until you are ready to plant it outside in a couple of months.
8) Use crop-rotation when growing tomatoes.
Crop-rotation involves growing a different crop from the tomato family in the same spot that you grew a crop in the previous year. Some crops in the tomato family are: tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, squash, and eggplant.
To effectively grow your crops using crop-rotation, you need to identify what type of plant is in each area. For example, in one area you can identify that the plants are bushy and have tendrils. From that information, you know that you grew winter squash in the area last year. So, winter squash is a crop in the tomato family and you need to place a different plant in that area this year.
9) Apply mulch to the soil to keep the moisture level even throughout the day.
Mulch also prevents weeds from growing which steal nutrients and water from your plants.
How Can I Identify Problems With My Tomato?
1) Your leaves are turning yellow.
Cause: Nutrient deficiency or lack of water.
Solution: Plant needs more nutrients or water.
2) Your leaves are mottled yellow and some are smaller than the others.
Cause: Not enough sunlight, plant is growing too close to another plant, or has a nutrient deficiency.
Solution: Move plant away from other plants, give more sunlight, or add more nitrogen to the soil.
3) Your leaves are entirely yellow and you see black spots on them.
Cause: Hungry spider mite sucking the life out of the leaves.
Solution: Purchase and apply insect repellent or grow resistant plant.
4) Your leaves are yellow with a lot of brown spots.
Cause: Plant needs more nitrogen and potassium.
Solution: Add nitrogen-rich fertilizer or compost to the soil before you plant.
5) Your stem is growing crooked or even winding around itself.
Cause: Needs more support to grow straight.
Solution: Use a stick placed directly into the ground to give the plant something to grow towards. As the plant grows, it will easily wind its way around the stick.
6) Your plant is growing very tall and skinny.
Cause: Needs more support to grow wider.
Sources & references used in this article:
Domestication and breeding of tomatoes: what have we gained and what can we gain in the future? by Y Bai, P Lindhout – Annals of botany, 2007 – academic.oup.com
Tomato yellow leaf curl virus, a whitefly-borne geminivirus of tomatoes by S Cohen, Y Antignus – Advances in disease vector research, 1994 – Springer
An edible vaccine for malaria using transgenic tomatoes of varying sizes, shapes and colors to carry different antigens by K Chowdhury, O Bagasra – Medical Hypotheses, 2007 – Elsevier