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Confused about watering.

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Confused about watering.

Post  jwbryson on 6/10/2010, 6:08 pm

I live in central Maryland and have a new SFG. Squash, cukes, 4 tomatoes, herbs, peppers, watermelons, etc.

I'm having some issues with the leaves on the tomato plants. Guy at the garden center said the leaves are turning yellow because the sun is so hot and when the leaves get wet, they turn yellow and begin to curl from the sunlight. Not sure I totally believe that, but it's happening to their tomato plants too. I've tried to change my watering habits to avoid directly spraying the leaves, but still have issues.

I read a post recently that says not to water too much or you can have a problem, but now I keep seeing posts that suggest I should be watering 2x per day! How confusing is that? Am I overwatering, underwatering, or losing my mind?

Thoughts? Thanks!!

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Re: Confused about watering.

Post  SFG in Chicago on 6/10/2010, 6:36 pm

I can't help with your tomato leaf problem, but the best way to tell if you need to water is to stick your finger a few inches into the soil (or mel's mix) and feel it. If it's moist you don't need to water. The surface can appear dry when it's still quite moist just below the surface.

If you can post a photo of your tomato leaves someone here may be able to help diagnose your problem.

SFG in Chicago

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Re: Confused about watering.

Post  mckr3441 on 6/10/2010, 8:54 pm

If you can give us more info, we may be able to give some ideas of what to do. Are you using blended compost to make your Mel's Mix? The ingredients in your soil will help us know about the watering and nourishment.

If you have peat moss in there and vermiculite in the proportions recommended by Mel, overwatering should not be the problem if you have good drainage underneath your box.

If the sun is giving you the problem you might try using a shade cloth or a floating row cover during the sunniest part of the day. I've been doing that for a few days on a couple of my transplants that were wilting in the sun. They're doing fine now.

Hope this helps some. Post pictures if you can as SFG in Chicago suggested. That helps us a great deal.


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re: confused about watering.

Post  jwbryson on 6/11/2010, 10:32 am

Thanks for the posts. I will take some photos this weekend of my tomatoes and watermelons and maybe somebody can make recommendations on what my next steps should be. I think my tomatoes are lacking calcium which I may add by hardboiling some eggs and pouring the cooled water into the soil, or adding powdered mix to the soil.

I am currently using the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 mix, but my compost is bagged compost, manure, soil booster, etc. I used 3 different types which was all I could find. I am flip flopping about doing my own compost because we have a LOT of ants around my house and I'm afraid they could become a huge problem.

I'm also using coarse vermiculite which I picked up at an online placed called Uline. The pieces are larger than I expected, but they tell me it's safe for horticultural use, so I'm hoping for the best.

Looking forward to your feedback next week.


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Re: Confused about watering.

Post  junequilt on 6/11/2010, 4:28 pm

Jeff, the ants might not be a problem for you at all. For one thing, if the pile is "working" it will be hot in the center and that will discourage them from taking up residence. Also, they don't like too much moisture, so if you keep your compost moist (not wet, but about as moist as a wrung-out sponge, which is how it is most effective), the anties will be on the lookout for a different condo. And really, most of them aren't attracted to compost unless you put in too much fresh fruit and veggie stuff all at once -- in which case you can have all sorts of visitors. I would encourage you to go ahead and try your luck.

Know anyone with a chicken or duck? They love to eat ants. According to Organic Gardening magazine, ducks will even eat fire ants (not that you have to worry about them in MD -- at least, I hope not).

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re: confused about watering.

Post  jwbryson on 6/14/2010, 12:41 pm

My 6 year old would love a pet duck, that's just what I need!!

I took pictures but forgot to bring my SD card to work, so I'll have to post them tomorrow. Poor tomatoes are looking bleak.

The good news is my zuke's are looking pretty good and I can see mini-zukes growing and will hopefully be harvested soon.


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re: confused about watering.

Post  jwbryson on 6/15/2010, 10:33 am

Below are some photos of my tomato plants, squash and watermelon. The tomatoes seem to have stopped growing (or slowed considerably) and are looking rather bleak.

The squash is producing fruit ( ) but the leaves are starting to turn on me and are looking bad too. Gray spots and some are starting to turn yellow and curl.

Finally, the watermelon plant seems to be growing but it's getting some spots on the leaves too.

Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

I'm using Mel's Mix, but used bagged manure, soil booster, etc. that I bought at a store. Only used 3 different types because that's all they had.




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tomato diseases

Post  ander217 on 6/15/2010, 3:41 pm

Jeff, if you'd like, go back to the main forum page, click on the forum for seed and growing information, and scroll down to my post about photos of tomato diseases. There's a link there to a really good site that shows photos of all the major tomato diseases and what to do about them.

Good luck.

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Re: Confused about watering.

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