Problems in growing tomatoes in the garden

I grow tomatoes in the garden, but for some reason it doesn’t grow very big, is there a problem with the soil? Or is it a matter of the variety of the tomato?

1 Like

If you are growing a variety that should get big… and they are not…

They need lots of sunshine… i give mine plenty of compost and other organic fertilizer and mulch them deep with hay. Water when needed… mine normally grow 9 to 10 ft by season end.

Good luck


Welcome to the forum @rozentmaer! Where are you from?

The first thing I would recommend is to run a soil test to figure out what the macronutrient levels of your soil are. These are very cheap and very easy to submit. Turnaround is quick too… They take less than a week to process and you might still have time to make any soil amendments for this year, depending on where you are. Worst case scenario, you can pick a good targeted fertilizer based on the results you receive.

Here’s a list of University Extensions that provide soil testing:

Most of these also provide recommendations on which and how much fertilizing components you will need to add, according to the area you are trying to cover. Just do as they recommend. Don’t overdo it.

It may take years to achieve an ideal soil. Like most things in life, think of it as a marathon, not a 100-meter race.

1 Like

It can be either neither or both soil and genetics preventing tomatoes from growing. Tomato varieties are available that grow from one foot high, 2 feet high, 3 feet high, 4 feet high, 5 feet high, 6 feet high, 7 feet high, 8 feet high, 10 feet high, and 40 to 60 feet (usually grown like espaliers). Start by finding the PH level of your soil, then add lime if needed. Add an abundance of organic matter to the soil. This can be compost, various animal manures, leaves, hay, etc. Then pick a tomato variety noted for good production of good flavored tomatoes. I’ve had good results with Big Beef, Box Car Willie, Amelia, Tasti-lee, Crnkovic Yugoslavian, etc. If you want specific variety recommendations, post where you live and suggestions can be made. Tomatoes are available that mature red, pink, orange, yellow, tangerine, green, white, purple, blue/purple, brown, black/green, and black as the ace of spades.

Do you know the variety name you have been growing?

Common causes of stunted tomato plants: Weather too cold (planted out too early in the season), soil too cold (remains so until many warm days have passed), coarse or poor soil, transplant shock (rough handling of exposed roots at planting time).

I have some experience with very poor soil causing stunted growth for tomatoes:

This is why I highly recommend a soil test before doing anything else.

When it comes to tomatoes … Compost can turn your Marathon into a Sprint.

I make a big pile of compost and I use a bunch of it on my tomatoes… very liberal. When I am done planting a tomato plant, it is growing in at least 50% compost and 50% my garden soil… which is pretty good soil to start with.

Any old crappy soil could be improved dramatically (for Tomato growing) by adding 50% compost to it.

I use a combination of Organic Fertilizers… a little blood meal for N, Then for P K trace minerals, bone meal, gypsum, green sand, Epsom salt. That includes 3 sources of Calcium… bone meal and gypsum and lots of composted egg shells.

We get plenty of sunshine and heat here… tomatoes grow like crazy.