Posted on 02 August 2009 by

Reader Questions : Yellow Leaves, German Queen Tomato Ripeness

german-queenBy Vanessa Richins


“I live in Brooklyn and I am growing tomatoes on my fire escape using a “Topsy Turvy” planter.

They have been growing beautifully until work called me out of town and I asked my 10 year old to water them. Now I have alot of yellow leaves. However I am not sure his over or under watering is the problem because the yellow leaves are the ones that get the least light.

Does anyone have any suggestion?”

Hello Alan. How often do you fertilize your Topsy Turvy tomatoes? Since container grown plants have a limited amount of soil space, many of the nutrients will be swept away every time you water.

Yellow leaves could mean a nitrogen deficiency (Old leaves turn yellow first) or iron deficiency (new leaves turn yellow first). Add fertilizer every 2 weeks or so. This will also help ensure that your fruits develop properly from the phosphorous in the fertilizer.

It could also be the light. It’s a bit harder in those upside-down planter, since some of the plant is shielded from the light. How much of the leaves are yellow?

How hot was it while you were gone? Heat can sometimes affect leaves, as well as making the plant need more water. Container tomatoes need more water than in-ground tomatoes.

I hope you can figure out what’s wrong with your tomatoes so you can keep them going.


“How can you tell when a German Queen Heirloom tomato is ready to pick?”

Hi Kay. I looked at a picture of a German Queen to get an idea. It’s a uniform reddish color, so they are ready to pick when they have turned completely red. Leave them on a counter for a few days to finish ripening up. If you leave them on the vine too long, insects and animals may start munching away.

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