Asked on Jun 14, 2012

Mushy tomatoes??

Bob B
by Bob B
I have been picking beautiful 1/2 lb ripe tomatoes from my back deck 20 gallon planters here in Atlanta since June 1st. They all seem to taste a little mushy. The plants are very strong, large and healthy. Do you think too much water is causing this? Any suggestions?
  27 answers
  • 3po3 3po3 on Jun 14, 2012
    Could certainly be too much water. How much have you been watering?
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 15, 2012
    Are you growing only one cultivar, Bob? All tomatoes definitely are not created equal.
  • Bob B Bob B on Jun 15, 2012
    For the past couple months, I watered them daily or every other day. Never more than 2 days between waterings. I have Parks Whopper, Big Boy, Big Beef and Florida 91. They are not over ripe as I like to pick and eat them same day or even best, within 30 minutes of picking. I'll try to attach a picture of the plants.
  • 3po3 3po3 on Jun 15, 2012
    And all of them are mushy or just one cultivar? If it's just one, it could just be something in your soil that doesn't agree with that cultivar, and it's worth making a note and avoiding that one next time or getting a soil test and talking to your cooperative extension folks about what to do to amend the soil. If it's all of them, I might suggest less water, but I'm not an expert. I have only been growing tomatoes for a couple of years.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 16, 2012
    These do not look like the first tomatoes you have grown, Bob! Have you ever had this problem before? Have you done anything differently this year?
  • Bob B Bob B on Jun 16, 2012
    Yes, they are all somewhat mushy. They are nice and firm, but taste a biit mushy. My pots are 2 or 3 times as big this year , and that's probably why my plants are so fast and big. I don't remember having this problem in the past when I grew in actual ground soil, but now I live near many deer and have to grow on my back deck where they can't walk up the steps to eat my plants. I have cut back watering to every 3 days now to see if it helps. I use a mix of planting soil with moisture control, black cow and some mushroom compost in my pots.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 17, 2012
    The best way to know when to water plants in a container is by sticking your finger in the pot, not going by the calendar. Cutting back on your watering may well do the trick. Good luck!
  • Bob B Bob B on Jun 17, 2012
    I think I'll just water a lot less often. My pots are 2 feet deep, so I don't think I can stick my finger that far down where the roots are. I'll try less watering and see how that does for a few weeks. Thanks much!
  • Brenda H Brenda H on Jun 19, 2012
    They TASTE mushy? Or FEEL mushy when you eat them? If your leaves are not turning yellow or curling, they probably are not over watered. After you pick them, what is the shelf life? When you say 'taste mushy' do you mean like over ripe, or rotting? Have you sprayed anything on the plants or nearby that would cause this? They look great!
  • Nancy H Nancy H on Jun 19, 2012
    could be that they are root bound!!!!!! but sounds more like too much water
  • Bob B Bob B on Jun 19, 2012
    I don't think they are root bound as the pots are 2 feet deep. The leaves are starting to turn yellow the last few weeks. They taste mushy but feel firm. I also eat them when I pick them within 1 or 2 days. I don't let them get overripe. I even picked a few a day too early and they were also a bit mushy. I only sprayed Sevin on the plants about a month ago just the one time. I'm thinking too much watering like so many HomeTalkers are suggesting. Will cut back to every 3 days instead of everyday.
  • Laura T Laura T on Jun 19, 2012
    Bob, Tomatoes don't need to be watered that often. Check the plants in the morning. If they're droopy it means they need water. Also, wait 24 - 48 hours after watering to harvest. Fruit will be less mushy. Keep me posted!
  • Therese C Therese C on Jun 19, 2012
    Less water, plenty of sun and maybe pick them in the "orange stage" to window ledge ripen. Too much water can cause root-rot which produces non-fleshy fruit (mushy). If you notice tomatoes in the garden are typically watered only when it rains or watered during drought. The best tomatoes are the ones that are a bit starved for water. At least in Iowa that is what we deal with. Keep the dirt worked up around the plants to stay aerated and let the plants "breathe". Hope this helps!
  • Nancy H Nancy H on Jun 19, 2012
    I am bad about watering mine too much..but I have never had mushy vegatables.
  • L F L F on Jun 19, 2012
    Bob, Try calling the University of Georgia Extension Service in Cherokee County, Phone: 770-479-0421. 100 North Street, Suite G21, Canton, GA 30114 -0418 Ask for the agriculture or horticulture agent and they can tell you the correct information for the area in which you live. This service is offered in every state in the U.S.
  • Bob B Bob B on Jun 19, 2012
    OK............just called the horiculture agent and he said for sure I was watering too much. He said twice a week is good for me now and to add fertilizer like Miracle Gro or something like that, as all that watering I did probably depleted the soil of the all the nutrients. He said in 3 weeks or so I'd have my maters back to normal!! Thanks for everyone's help!!!!!!!!!! BOB
  • Gale F Gale F on Jun 19, 2012
    just transplanted mine here in northern NY near the Canadian boarder,, thanks for the info roomies,
  • Deb B Deb B on Jun 19, 2012
    sounds like the pots are sitting on concrete or pretty hot surface.
  • Laura T Laura T on Jun 20, 2012
    It's true the soil has probably been robbed of all of the nutrients. For that reason, tomatoes in containers do need to be fed more often than those in the ground. I use a diluted liquid organic feritlizer weekly. You'll have better results with that type of food.
  • Bob B Bob B on Jun 20, 2012
    My pots are on my back deck which is made of wood and is about 4 feet off the ground. The pot weigh almost 100 lbs, so I have them all on wooden furniture rollers that are about 5" above the wooden floor of my deck. They have 4 wheels on them so I can move them around. If I didn't have them on these wheeled rollers, I'd never be able to move them. You can barely see the rollers under the blue pots in this photo I took about a month ago.
  • Therese C Therese C on Jun 20, 2012
    I miss my garden..... :*(
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jun 21, 2012
    I miss garden fresh tomatoes.....our growing season here at 8500 feet is just way to short for tomatoes.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 22, 2012
    @KMS: Have you investigated some of the old varieties from Russia like "Black Krim"? They often have shorter maturation rates and lower temperature requirements.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jun 22, 2012
    Douglas...we tried some Russian stuff a few years back (Sasha' s altai)...they were some pricey plants at the nursery...They tasted great but the yields were still pretty wimpy. I guess I still compare things to when we would pull in enough harvest to can dozens of qts from a handful of plants. I just looked through that link....I had no Idea there are so many cold and short season stuff...I might have to give these a whirl next year. Do some container stuff of the deck and be able to bring them in in the fall. (aka sept)
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 23, 2012
    KMS: Just call me the enabler!
  • Therese C Therese C on Jun 23, 2012
    One of the favorites in our house has always been the Beefsteak tomato..very good and well, meaty...they get quite large and have a very juicy flavor!