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Why do the tomato plants produce fruit that are too small?

While this is not as distressing as getting no fruit set, it can still be a serious problem. Fruit should be in the 8 to 10 ounce size for standard (beefsteak) greenhouse varieties. Possible causes include 1) poor pollination - be sure you are pollinating every other day if doing it by hand (those greenhouses using bumblebees should not have this problem, unless the bees are dead). If this is the cause, the seed count will be low. You can check this yourself by cutting the fruit transversely (left to right) and seeing if the locules are full of seeds or if seeds are scarce. 2) lack of water (wilting) can cut down on fruit development. 3) high temperature stress will limit fruit size. This is very common in the hot, humid southeast, especially in May and June. 4) shading during the cloudier months prevents full development of fruit. Be sure the greenhouse does not get shaded by large trees or tall buildings.

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Green tomato with buckeye rot.
Filed Under: Tomato Pepper and Eggplant, Food, Vegetable Gardens May 26, 2022

Tomatoes are a popular crop for home gardeners, but they can be tricky to grow. Insects, disorders, and diseases can all cause problems with tomatoes. 

The leaves of green tomato plants droop on the plants
Filed Under: Tomato Pepper and Eggplant, Vegetable Gardens July 6, 2018

Common Diseases of TomatoesCRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. -- Conditions have been ideal this summer for a disease outbreak that makes tomatoes wilt and look like they are just too dry.

Southern blight is a fungal disease of tomatoes commonly characterized by white, thread-like growth and brown or tan, round structures known as sclerotia at the base of the stem.

Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Commercial Horticulture, Tomato Pepper and Eggplant February 5, 2018

Greenhouse tomato growers and other interested individuals are invited to attend the 28th annual Mississippi Greenhouse Tomato Short Course March 6-7.

Blossom-end rot, seen on this tomato, is a common problem in home gardens. It is typically caused by uneven watering, which prevents enough calcium from reaching the fruit. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
Filed Under: Tomato Pepper and Eggplant, Vegetable Gardens June 21, 2012

MISSISSIPPI STATE – While nothing may beat the fresh taste of a home-grown tomato, a lot of things can go wrong in the garden to prevent the fruit from ever making it to the table.

Garden experts say tomato plants should be watered well, fertilized correctly, grown in direct sunlight and spaced properly so their leaves stay as dry as possible.

David Nagel, vegetable and home garden specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, listed three common problems that can plague tomato plants.

Sweet Pickle pepper has 2-inch-long fruit that resembles the big and bold old-fashioned Christmas tree lights. Its fruit is sweet rather than hot, and the plant loads up with a bounty of red, orange, yellow and purple fruit all at one time.
Filed Under: Tomato Pepper and Eggplant, Vegetable Gardens September 24, 2009

By Norman Winter
MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

If you would like to give your garden a festive fall atmosphere, then find a prominent place to put in ornamental peppers. Their blooms are not noteworthy, but varieties like Sweet Pickle and Garda Tricolore have fruit that will show off like Christmas lights.

Ornamental peppers are one of the plants that leap off the garden center shelves this time of the year. If you love them in the fall, try growing them all season.


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