Nature overwatered my tomatoes - saveable?

delraygardenJune 30, 2006

Hi All,

I have been lurking on this forum for about a year and have found it tremendously helpful in setting up my first container garden on my deck - last year I only grew petunias and mint. This year I am still totally new to gardening but I have a bunch of flowers, a blueberry bush, pole beans, lots of herbs, 7 chile peppers, and 3 tomato plants. Most of the plants are in self-watering containers because I travel frequently.

Everything was going great until the past week, when I got over 12 inches of rain in less than four days (I'm in the DC metro area). When the rain finally stopped, I went out to check on my plants. Most seem to have come through relatively unscathed, and as a bonus, the rain seems to have knocked all the aphids off my pepper plants. However, I have two tomato plants (Stupice and Andrew Rahart varieties), both about 4-5 feet tall, in a large self-watering container with a few basil plants. The container is mulched with a red plastic sheet which is supposed to warm the soil and boost production. When I checked it, the basil was all very pale and the Stupice tomato plant had one or two branches that were completely wilted and droopy. I quickly realized that was because all the rain had not drained through the container, due to the plastic mulch, and so the container was full to the brim with standing water. I dumped it out, but there's no way to empty the bottom, self-watering reservoir to help the soil dry out more. When I checked the plants last night, the basil had regained its color and looks fine, and the Andrew Rahart looks fine. The Stupice however, looks even worse. Instead of one or two branches looking wilted or droopy, now almost all of them do.

My question, and I apologize for the long post, is whether I can expect this plant to come back, and if so, what I can do to help. Yesterday and today are sunny and hot and it's predicted to stay that way for the near future.

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username_5(banned for no reason)

There is a good chance the stupice will also recover, but certainly no guarantee.

You learned a good lesson this year which is a good thing. Sometimes a plant or 6 has to make the ultimate sacrifice in order that we may learn ;-)

The idea of using red mulch with tomatos is popular. It may or may not have any influence on tomato yield, but it's soil warming properties aren't really suitable for containers which heat up much, much more rapidly than the ground soil does.

Good luck with the stupice and keep any extra red mulch you have on hand should you decide to plant any tomatos in the ground. There it might actually help rather than hurt although with that much rain I would be removing mulch from everything everywhere in order to speed the drying process.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 10:26AM
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remove the mulch,and repot it

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 1:39AM
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