Mercy asks: Tomato plant problems. Would appreciate some advice.?
I have just 2 tomato plants, both in topsy-turvy tomato planters. I bought 1 plant that is compact for pot planting, and 1 that was a 50-day variety. This latter is the problem. The plant is flowering, and it currently has 3 tomatoes that are still green. My problem is that this particular plant flowers, but now the flowers are withering and not fruiting. I live at the edge of a wetland and these plants hang outside my window facing the wetland. About a month ago, they had early blight, so I sprayed them with copper fungicide, and that helped. I planted the tomato plants in Miracle Gro potting soil, fed epsom salts early on, and now feed them with Vigoro plant food. The plant is robust, but every few days I have to pick withered brown leaves off this particular plant, and as I said, the flowers are withering without fruiting. There are lots of bees off the wetland. I see them on my window all the time, so I’m assuming the flowers are being pollinated. What on earth can possibly be the problem?
The leaves that browned were totally browned — one day green and crisp, the next day brown. I note, too, that some of the weeds in the back area have totally browned and died, and so that suggests to me that my neighbor upstairs, who is responsible for the back area, may have been out there with a weed killer and there was some spray that got on my tomato plant. I had early blight, which looked a little like black spot on roses, but the copper took care of that. At this point, I do believe the fungus is no longer among-us. But thanks.
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Answer by Kernow Lady
Stop all the feeding they are on overload. i have never fed epsom salts. I just use a small amount of tomato feed in water every 2 weeks. Are you removing the leaves that are growing in between the main stem, these are not needed and are taking up the goodness.
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Ahhhh….dirt issues……gotta love ’em!
“Potting” soil is not the same as “garden” soil. Designed to support little plants that don’t produce an edible fruit, it doesn’t contain enough potassium to support tomato plants. It will handle herbs, but…that’s not your question.
Potassium is the nutrient that supports blossom to fruit development and prevents blossom end rot. The three tomatoes that are on the plant were formed earlier, before it depleted the minimal potassium in the “potting” mix. They will be al right, but probably start to deflate before they are completely ripe. You may want to pick them at pink and ripen them in a paper bag. Simple solution: add potassium. Easier in the ground than in a Topsy Turvy. (I know, I’ve used them too. Great idea until the bluebirds start nesting in them….but that’s another story)
Vigoro plant food is o.k. in general use, but not for soil that has an existing deficiency. You need to layer bananna peels in the tops of the Tupsy Turvy. Yes, they will rot. Yes, they will attract bees. So….put a handfull of mulch over the top of them to keep down the rich, sweet bananna smell, water well, and you’ll be o.k. Next time use the “Garden Soil” mixed with humus and manure (and shredded banana peels).
As to the brown leaves, thats fungus. It really doesn’t matter that they are facing the wetlands. It’s foot carried, not airborne, so moving them would just be a hassle, not a cure.
Get an organic fungucide and douse well. Copper based can hurt your benificial buggies. You’re doing the right thing removing the infected leaves, but little buggies- including the benificial bee, still tiptoe through it on stalks and such on the plants around your house (or even a mile away!!), and then come to visit your house and track it everywhere…including, eventually, the healthy plant.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the “tweens” (as I call the little sprouts between the primary branches) that you are removing or not. Just that action won’t stop the fungus from marching forward in it’s goal of making garden misery. In fact, in a topsy turvy, the tweens don’t have to be removed as religiously as an upright, so……if it’s brown, remove it. Fungus comes back, fungus love humidity, fungus loves sticking to little fuzzy legs and feet of roaming critters, so don’t be disheartened. Balance out your soil to help your blossoms set fruit; this will also make the plant more able to figth back, and use a good ORGANIC fungacide.
As to the remainder of the season and your outlook for maters; it’s early yet! You still may have the lucious fruits of your labor once you balance and clean house!
Good luck and happy gardening!!
The early blight may have weakened them and they are failing to thrive. This blight has become a real problem for tomato growers. It is stubborn and can hang around in the soil for years creating problems.
In general, I have never had any luck with buying potted tomato plants. I do much better with plants grown from seed. Last year I lost my whole tomato garden to blight, however, and I am now ‘off’ tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes for a few years until the blight dies down.