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tomatoes are looking bad

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tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/29/2013, 1:24 am

OK, so I started another thread because I didn't want to hijack boffer's thread, but here are some pictures of my sick tomato plants. The ones in buckets are definitely worse. There are grey or brown spots all over a few of them, and the leaves are curling upwards on almost all of the ones in buckets, and they aren't soft like they should be, they are more tough feeling. I've been clipping leaves as I see them, but almost overnight this happened, and I'm at a loss as to what happened to them. I can't just clip off all the leaves. Also, the ones in buckets aren't making many tomatoes.

Tomatoes in buckets...









This one doesn't have the spots on the leaves, but they're curling up pretty bad.





These are in the tomato bed. I've noticed some small grey or black spots on a few plants, and some of the flowers are dying off, their stems (the individual flower stems) are yellowing and the flowers end up completely falling off or turning brown. And a couple have some small brown spots that look like it might be septoria (?) or whatever it's called. Since I'm new to gardening, I have no idea if these are actual problems or not. I can only look at database pictures, which frankly, many diseases and pest issues look the same to me. They still look healthy, except for this, but I'm afraid what happened to the ones in buckets may be happening to these also. Some of them aren't producing many tomatoes, some are producing a lot. I did notice this happened (in the bed) after I did a major trimming on the bottom leaves, and then a few days later it got down into the low 50s one night. I thought maybe it's some fungal disease or something? Also, I'm pretty good about using alcohol on my clippers and also my hands and fingers as I work on them, so I don't think they're getting contaminated that way, and if I wear gloves (which I rarely do, I like to touch the plants) I make sure they're clean.



(I realize this photo is sort of out of focus, but you can see the brown yellowish spot on the edge of the leaf)



Black/greyish spots



This one has some of the brown spots on it (lower right corner).







brown spots



brown spots



Here are examples of the flower tips dying.






Here you can see the dead flower stem next to the tomato.





dying yellow flower stems



And this tomato has some funky looking stuff around the cap, and there is a dead flower stem above it to the left.



Last shot of grey spots...




This is why I want to use neem. If anyone has any suggestions as to what these problems are, or how to treat them, I would greatly appreciate it. Could it be insect damage? I know there are leaf miners, and I've been cutting off the leaves as I see them, but they are showing up more and more. There have always been these tiny black gnat looking things hanging out on the stems, but there never were many of them and I would just wipe them off when I saw them. The beds are self-watering, so I know they're getting enough water. They're growing like crazy. My sister does smoke outside, but the bed is on the other side of the pool and she doesn't go over there much. The ones in containers are on the side of the pool where she smokes. Just thought I would mention that. I haven't fed them or anything because I didn't think I needed to do that with MM, but I did brew some compost tea yesterday and I gave them some of that. I'm going to brew some more of it in a few days. What I brewed didn't go as far as expected it to. I am totally open to suggestions as to what to do. Thanks bunches for any input.

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  sanderson on 5/29/2013, 2:01 am

I want to compliment you on your pictures. Very good close-up shots of the problems you are experiencing. My potted toms have most of the symptoms while the bedded toms still look good. I will be watching this thread along with the other Tomato threads.

Is this the year of failing tomatoes???
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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  sanderson on 5/29/2013, 2:03 am

P.S. I added some phosphate-potassium fertilizer tonight. Just 1/4 of the recommended amount, if even. I'll try anything at this point.
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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  drixnot on 5/29/2013, 4:11 am

great site to identify problems... this is the tomato page.

check "tomato leaf roll"

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/VEGES/tomato.html

And here is another

http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/tomato/2000083030027695.html

My research says - blame the weather and your plants will recover.
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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/29/2013, 11:09 am

Thanks sanderson. You woulnd't believe how many pictures I have to take sometimes just to get one good one, especially closeups of something.

Thanks drixnot. Good resource page. I bookmarked it.

Can anyone else weigh in on this? Any ideas about what might be causing it? Or what to do about it? Thanks bunches!

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  camprn on 5/29/2013, 11:13 am

I'm just saying... there are a ton of back threads about this with a lot of good information.... Shocked

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  yolos on 5/29/2013, 11:16 am

Take samples of all stages of the problem to the county extension office. It does not cost anything to get a diagnosis at my office and I would assume it is the same in Savannah.

If it is a disease, the longer you wait to get a diagnosis the worse it will get.
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I agree with yolos

Post  Windmere on 5/29/2013, 11:57 am

Jazzycat,

I'm so sorry about your tomatoes. I am now holding my breath with regard to mine (like waiting for other shoe to drop).

I just wanted to add my two cents about County Extension Office: Ours here in Fayetteville is amazing. We can photograph our problem and e-mail it to the office. No need to physically go in (unless they can't identify problem with photo). Your taxes pay for this... may as well take advantage of a wonderful service.

I think Yolos is right about not waiting to long. "Nip it in the bud."

Hope all goes better.

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/29/2013, 4:07 pm

I called earlier and the person I need to talk to isn't there today. I sent the pictures though, and will go in with samples if I need to. If I have to destroy the ones in buckets I will, and I'll be fine. But if I lose the ones in the bed, I may lose it myself. lol. geesh! I would hate to have to start all over again! And I started all these plants from seed. All by myself. And they were all so healthy. I just want to know what happened over the last week or so to cause this. Sad

And thanks you guys for the encouraging words. Smile

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  lalawson on 5/29/2013, 8:12 pm

Well if it makes you feel any better, mine are doing the exact same thing as far as the curling leaves upwards. I've searched this forum and cannot find anyone with this exact problem. I have found posts with the leaves are turned downwards and appear to be a different issue but I was pleased (well if you want to call it that lol) to see some tomatoes just like mine.

We have had extreme temperatures the last week and I'm thinking that might have something to do with it. It was down in the 40's a few nights ago and then today it's almost 90. I also grew mine from seeds and would hate to have pitch these. I have noticed them looking like this in both beds that I have planted tomatoes. These are Siberian Reds and my roma tomatoes look somewhat better, but they still have a little bit of curling but the leaves but since the leaves are a little smaller, I don't see it as bad. I don't have the brown spots like yours, so maybe you have two separate things you're dealing with.


I also will be watching this post to see if anyone has a solution.
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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  camprn on 5/29/2013, 8:25 pm

Some varieties of tomato plants do have curly leaves.

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/29/2013, 8:28 pm

Mine started out that way lalawson, and the spots came later. I have no idea. I'm hoping the extension office can tell me what's up. I'll let you know after I hear back from them.

Yours do look healthy though. So YAY for that. Hopefully, it's like camprn said, and it's the leaves of that variety.

It's distressing, what's happening. I know someone who was growing on a large scale for the market, and he lost 2/3 of his crop to blight last month. He had to destroy them.

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  camprn on 5/29/2013, 8:40 pm

Ok here's what I think currently.
The first few photos, with the yellowish leaves with purple splotches. maybe a phosphorus deficiency. Maybe also pH or low nitrogen issues.


The brown lesions with the yellow ring, almost look like blight to me. Have you seen any brown splotches on the stems?

Have you looked at any photos of mosaic virus....... may be worth researching. Also, the curling leaves, just don't quite look like leaf curl virus symptoms, at least not in these pics. But again, it's worth researching.


That's it for now...I'm still gazing at the photos.

Have you happened to look at the tomato diseases stickies in the diseases forum?
http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/VegFruit/whyfail.htm

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/30/2013, 2:36 am

camprn, I always look first before asking. I've looked at website after website on tomato issues, including this one. The problem I'm having, is, because this is all so new to me, it's very hard for me to tell if it's a deficiency (which I thought at first it might be, but I thought the blended compost was suppose to take care of that), or some kind of microscopic insect I can't see, or disease. Many of them look almost identical, and it's hard to judge from a photo when you have no clue what you're looking at. And some of the pictures demonstrating disease or deficiency or pest issues aren't close up enough. It's just all very confusing to me.

I should have taken a gardener's class, and I tried like crazy to find one. The Master Gardener's class by the extension office didn't really have much information on organic gardening though. I asked. I was ready to take it back in January. The person I spoke with said he didn't think it was what I was looking for, so I didn't take it, because it was crazy expensive and if I wasn't going to get much out of it I felt it was a waste of money. And I tried to find other avenues for learning. There is a woman here in town who teaches gardening, and I tried and tried to get in touch with her. I never could. I finally met her this past weekend at a rally against Monsanto. So it's not like I haven't tried.

One reason why I joined this forum was so I could learn and benefit from the experience and knowledge of people like yourself, who've been doing this a long time and could possibly advise me. Maybe it seems like I'm relying on you guys too much, and perhaps I am. When I talk to the guy at the extension office tomorrow (hopefully), believe me I will be asking him what resources are available for learning. In the meantime, however, I'm doing the best I can.

I haven't seen any splotches on the stems. Wait. I did see one earlier today, but it was on a completely healthy plant in the raised bed. So, eek.

I have looked at tobacco mosaic virus, but none of them look anything like that. Nothing like it. The leaves aren't really mottled with pale and dark green and textured.

At this point, I'm thinking maybe (hopefully) it's some kind of deficiency, at least on the ones in containers. I plan on getting some kind of fertilizer (fish emulsion, perhaps? suggestions?) and adding some compost to the tops of the buckets. As for the raised bed, I believe that is something completely different. I think that might be an insect issue. I have no reason for suspecting that, other than my instincts. And that's what I "feel" when I look at them. Also, there are pill bugs and ants in the bed. So yea, there are some destructive insects in there that I haven't dealt with, because of the frogs. I tried putting some DE in the containers, and it did nothing. The ants are still there, like mad. So, next. I don't know. I need to get those insects under control.

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  sanderson on 5/30/2013, 3:52 am

Jazzy, It seems that a lot of us are having tomato problems. I'm a newbie so it's kind of discouraging. My advice at this point is just to wait for a couple weeks. If they really start dying, then get rid of them. If they just don't look bushy and green, but still have some tomatoes, well, then they just aren't show-and-tell tomato plants this year. I did add about 1/4 recommended amount of 2-7-4 fertilizer because I know my first batch of home made MM lacks 5 separate living sources of compost. Trying to make my own but it will be a while before it's ready. Meanwhile, I'm trying my best not to do much more to the scraggly, sick looking tomato plants, at least for a couple of weeks.

As far as using Sluggo Plus to knock down the "bugs and snails/slugs," it worked great for me. I cut down yogurt and plastic soda cups to 1/4" to make the water proof Sluggo Plus trays. I carefully placed the little trays inside the beds (see photo below) and a thin bead of pellets around the foot of the beds. This way I won't be getting Sluggo into the MM. I have a cat so I am very careful about what I put down. I read some veterinary articles before I used it. I just read 2 articles about frogs and Sluggo. As frogs are vertebrates, they shouldn't be interested in or affected by casual contact with the bait. I hope this helps.

Sluggo Plus bait tray, yes it needs to be cleaned out and refilled:
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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/30/2013, 1:50 pm

sanderson, how did the plants do after you gave them the fertilizer? Did it help?

Thanks for the tip on sluggo. Does that work on pill bugs?

I also have cats. I've erected a wire fence around the beds because one of them was peeing in the beds. I think that's kept her out of it. At least, no signs she's been back in there.

Still no word from the extension office. I'm hoping to hear from him at some point today, or tonight. *keeping fingers crossed*

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  sanderson on 5/30/2013, 2:35 pm

Jazzy, The Sluggo Plus knocked down about 95% of snails, slugs, pill bugs (roly poly), earwigs, and some kind of beetle or weevil. I have never, ever, had such healthy petunias in the front yard. The snails, slugs, etc., always got them. Wish I had used it before. Again, because of my cat, visiting cats and dogs, (dogs seem to eat anything once!), I have been very careful. I saw a dog in convulsions at an emergency vet clinic. Awful. Had eaten old fashion snail bait that looked like kibbles.

I want to say that the 2-7-4 fertilizer (composted chicken feathers, chicken manure, bone meal and sulfate of potash) did not hurt anything. I applied to all flowering veggies. I think the tomatoes are actually turning around after 2 weeks. The new growth looks better.

A week before I had added a scoop to all, composed of composted 60% cow manure, 10% coffee grounds, 10% worm castings and 5% sea kelp (and about 15% "humus/compost".

I've done everything I could try, so now it's wait and see.
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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/30/2013, 3:03 pm

I might go pick some of that up, along with some fish emulsion or some tomato food, for nutrients. Thanks sanderson.

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  ArkansasSFGardener on 5/30/2013, 6:57 pm

Any word from the Extension Office?? I have about 30 tomato plants... I have a few yellowing leaves and some gnat type flies on them but that's about it... They are growing like crazy.
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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/31/2013, 9:34 am

I just spoke with the guy from the extension office. He thinks it's a root problem. He told me to take one of the plants out of the buckets and examine the roots, take a picture and send it to him. He said it's not getting all the nutrients from the soil mix, or it's got root rot, which is surprising, since they're in self-watering buckets. Soooo... I guess I'm going to go get a ph test kit to test for with minerals are missing, get some fertilizers, and yank up one of the plants. Which one, which one?

I'll let you guys know later on what's up. He said the ones in the bed have a different issue, but he still thinks it has something to do with the roots and uptake of nutrients. So. I have my work cut out for me over the weekend. I won't be able to get a lot done today because I have an appointment to get an iron infusion myself (found out a few weeks ago I'm HIGHLY anemic, my blood is low, and the doctor said it was a miracle I was walking around). Gee, I hope I didn't contaminate my plants. (<-- joke)

I'm really tempted to go ahead and do a foliar spray with some epsom salts. What do you think? Yes? No?

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/31/2013, 9:41 am

I have a question. I don't see how they aren't getting all the nutrition they would need, as I added some rock dust to my mix, for all the trace minerals. (I did not use any manure, but one of the compost mixes had chicken manure in it, and another had bat guano. I did use a LOT of worm castings.) Do you think, since they're in self-watering buckets, they might actually need to be top watered once or twice a week as well? To flush them out real good? I remember reading somewhere that, in order to draw up certain nutrients, the soil had to get wet. I know it has plenty of moisture deep in the soil, but the top is not as moist. I do have a layer of cedar mulch on top. Thanks!

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  bnoles on 5/31/2013, 9:59 am

Hi Jazzy,

I have all of my tomatoes in self watering 5 gallon buckets and on a automatic self watering system. I top water about twice a week and also give them a cup full of compost tea every week to 10 days. I have no pest or plant issues of any nature and they have grown almost twice my expectations and are loaded with fruits. I keep all the lower leaves and branches trimmed for air circulation. I am thinking of giving them a calcium snack which will keep them healthy and ward off any chance of BER.

I don't feel that I am doing anything too special, but thought I would offer up my routine so you have something to compare to.

Good luck and I hope you can correct the problem soon.

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/31/2013, 11:11 am

Thank you bnoles!!!! I just brewed my first batch of compost tea a few days ago. I will start top watering them as well. When you give them the tea, do you also foliar spray, or just pour it around the plants?

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  bnoles on 5/31/2013, 12:00 pm

jazzycat wrote:Thank you bnoles!!!! I just brewed my first batch of compost tea a few days ago. I will start top watering them as well. When you give them the tea, do you also foliar spray, or just pour it around the plants?

You may want to spray AND base water the first time around and then I would just base water from then on. Also, I forgot to mention that I do have them mulched with mini pine bark nuggets to help the ground stay cooler and help keep the moisture in. When you brew the tea, be sure to use it within 2 hours after removing the air bubbles.

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Re: tomatoes are looking bad

Post  jazzycat on 5/31/2013, 12:05 pm

bnoles, removing the air bubbles? What does that mean? I brewed the tea, and then just poured it around the base of the plants. Do you mean just taking the air stones out of the bucket? thinking Mine are mulched with cedar chips. I thought cedar would help keep pests out. Not so much though.

Oh, I forgot to mention, when I spoke the gentleman from the County Extension Office, he also mentioned something about BT. So I guess I need to go read up on that and see if it's something I want to use, and how it will effect the animal population, like the frogs, bees, cats, etc.

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