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What's up with these tomato plants??

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by heidi_ho80 on April 13, 2006 01:27 AM
I started these about a month ago. They were doing fine then they started turning yellow. Some of the yellow leaves fall off.
The pictures are what the leaves look like. The one picture is of one that just dropped dead for no reason (it did not turn yellow).
What should I do? Please Help, I am new to this and I can not find any info about any "tomato problems" except "Blight" and bugs.

Thank you in advance. Heidi

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by johnCT on April 13, 2006 01:40 AM
Are they under lights? How much light are they getting?

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John - Zone 6
by peppereater on April 13, 2006 02:06 AM
The soil in the bottom picture looks bone dry...plus the others look like they may be overgrown for the container size. Tell us all you can about them.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by Deborah L. on April 13, 2006 02:10 AM
Hmmmmm...... a fungus? Nematodes? Tobacco smoke?

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by weezie13 on April 13, 2006 04:01 AM
Heidi,
What kind of soil are they in???

The yellowing is a sign of a deficiency of some kind.....
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Yes, I concur the bottom one looks bone dry..
and having it in a peat pot doesn't help with moisture, when they're dry, and you water just a bit of water into the dirt, it *the peat pot* sucks the water out of the dirt into itself...

Take it out of that pot if you can...
Pull the bottom two leaves off, and replant it,
up to almost the whole set of leaves on the top...
and keep moist...

Please keep us [gabby] posted [critic] on how they're doing... [thumb] [flower]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by peppereater on April 13, 2006 04:57 AM
I keep coming back and looking at the pics...I'm convinced there are several things wrong. There is that spot and missing piece on the one leaf, and one near it has a spot, in the top picture. That could be fungal or bacterial, but I'm wondering if it's burn from contact with fertilizer or from chlorine or salts in the water or soil. The yellowing could be from overwatering, I'm leaning that way, but it could possibly be due to chlorinated water or nitrogen deficiency. I'd like to know about the soil and watering/fertilizing. And light. I swear it looks like that bottom one would stand up if it got watered.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by heidi_ho80 on April 13, 2006 08:01 AM
OK here is some more info:

The yellow ones are in those starter cell things about 1.5in by 1.5in 3 inch pots

All were started the same in Seed starter mix (sterile)

They have a florescence light over them on @ 8am off at 10 pm.

I have been waiting till they are dry on top and just a little damp on the bottom before watering. I water from the bottom and fertilize with Miracle Gro "pour and feed" .02-.02-.02 mix that I also put in bottom.

When I transplanted the big ones I used garden soil in those peat pots.

P.s. I started them with cantaloupe and a bunch of flowers and they are all fine.

Thanks again if there is any thing else let me know

Heidi

pps. I watered that drooped one we will see what happens
by heidi_ho80 on April 13, 2006 08:05 AM
Dave, I use city water I dont think it has a lot of chems. in it but could be wrong. . .
by peppereater on April 13, 2006 08:26 AM
I would stop feeding...they shouldn't be fed at the "seedling" stage, but those are a little bigger...but chemical fertilizer is harsh, and definitely shouldn't be used at every watering. The city water is worse than you think, too...it will kill tropical fish. Your lights should be almost touching the tops of the plants, and if some should touch, they won't burn with flourescents. Hmmm. We still have lots to do here...this is a gardening emergency, so please don't give up or go away...We're very fond of tomatoes in particular here, and new gardeners, as well. [Embarrassed] You'll find that John, in particular, is a little, well, [nutz] about tomatoes. (Had to get a jab in atcha, John!) Weezie's the same! Me, too. Stick around and we'll see what we can do. I think Weezie's idea about repotting could be a good first step. You could pot them in styrofoam cups with a few good sized holes in the bottom if you have nothing else, and get some distilled water. The garden soil might be okay, there's no telling, without knowing what it's like, but you could mix it with the potting soil 50/50. Pinch off all yellow leaves and plant deep, as Weezie said. I'm not a big fan of peat cups...tried them for several things this year. Too hard to keep adequately moist.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by weezie13 on April 13, 2006 08:39 AM
quote:
Weezie's the same!
[shocked] [shocked] [shocked] [shocked] [shocked] [shocked]

Don't forget Julianna/Tomato Freak there...
She's a wee~bit more of a fanatic than I am... [nutz] [lala]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by peppereater on April 13, 2006 09:21 AM
quote:
Originally posted by weezie13:
quote:
Weezie's the same!
[shocked]
Don't forget Julianna/Tomato Freak there...
She's a wee~bit more of a fanatic than I am... [nutz] [lala]

Weezie...I would never say that Julianna was anything but normal! [tongue]
She's never given me any, lets say, grief! [lala]
Not that any of my other friends here have. [lala]

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by weezie13 on April 13, 2006 09:32 AM
[thumb] [Wink] [Big Grin]
Meeeeeeee toooooo [grin]
She's got alot of great info and
Someday, she'll get me into the
land of heirlooms...
[thumb] [flower] [muggs]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by peppereater on April 13, 2006 09:42 AM
quote:
Originally posted by weezie13:
[thumb] [Wink] [Big Grin]
Meeeeeeee toooooo [grin]
She's got alot of great info and
Someday, she'll get me into the
land of heirlooms...
[thumb] [flower] [muggs]

Heirlooms...we'll get ya there, Weezie. I'm learning as hard as I can (as much as my puny brain and pathetic back allows.)

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by weezie13 on April 13, 2006 10:06 AM
It's definately not for the lack of wanting to,
it's the lack of time and space...
[Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by comfrey on April 13, 2006 11:15 AM
I agree with weezie: The yellowing is a sign of a deficiency of some kind, another thing it looks like to me is that they could already be root bound in those small starter flats and even though you have been feeding them..the starter soil is not going to be able to handle the plant food, once they are about 3 inches tall they should be repotted into a larger container with regular soil...then you can feed them a very diluted amount of plant food if you want. As Dave said don't give up! Those peat pots work alright, you just need to be careful to not over water, as they can produce a moldy fungus, which can also wipe out your tomato plants...the one that died...if you look at the leaves they are purple, which is a deficiency, It was probable too far gone when you transplanted it.

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by heidi_ho80 on April 13, 2006 10:07 PM
Ok so here is the first course of action (Thank you all SOOO much for all the advice) This is the first time I have SUCCESSFULLY grown anything starting with seeds. I have a lot of plastic pots (I save everything [Roll Eyes] ) So I will wash them in the dishwasher and take all the plants out of the starter trays. I think if I have enough I will re pot the peat things, I just don't like what you all are saying about them (mold, too dry, too wet) none of those are worth the risk. I'll get some distilled H2O when I go to the store later. I have only been feeding them once a week. . . [dunno] Should I stop that??? Maybe use different food???
Confrey, when you said the leaves were purple you are RIGHT... on some of the bigger plants the undersides are kinda purplish... hmmm
Plants are harder to keep alive and well then kids [grin] But I think if I only had 3 plants they would be fine, I am just very out numbered
Thanks again Heidi
by heidi_ho80 on April 13, 2006 10:15 PM
Dave, I feel a little silly
when you said: "I swear it looks like that bottom one would stand up if it got watered"

SO i watered it [Embarrassed] and look at it now [clappy]
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by peppereater on April 13, 2006 10:36 PM
WOOOHOOO!
Sometimes the obvious thing is the answer. I am so happy for your little plant.
I'm not the best qualified to answer about the fertilizer. I commonly read that you shouldn't fertilize seedlings, but there is disagreement about when to start fertilizing...at the time of transplant is one thing, at the time of setting out is another I've read. I blend some nutrients into my starting soil and don't use additional fertilizer. I don't use any chemical fertilizer at all, as I like to go all organic. When I do use additional fertilizer for things in pots, I use fish emulsion and dillute it to about half recommended strength.
One other thing about repotting...if the plants are rootbound, which they probably are, you need to gently loosen the root mass and let them spread out a little in the new soil. If the root balls have grown solid, take a razorblade or serrated knife and make a few slits up and down the outside of the mass so that new growth will be able to occur and water can penetrate to the original "plug" of soil.
Some of those guys in the background look pretty good, but maybe a little leggy. Hard to say for sure from the pic. Remember to always keep the lights as close to the plants as possible, at the very most 2 to 3 inches above them.
Yippy...you're on your way!

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by 'Sparagus on April 13, 2006 11:05 PM
quote:
Originally posted by comfrey:
...if you look at the leaves they are purple, which is a deficiency
uh oh! I have some baby tomato plants (just a week old) that have purplish under sides...actually they look amazing to me but I wonder if this is bad. Hmmmmmmmmm.......

[flower] karen
by weezie13 on April 14, 2006 01:00 AM
***Heidi,
I'm glad you watered that big guy..
He was lookin' awefully thristy..
Remember, those plants are very hard, believe it or not..

And you can even replant that plant again
*and all of them, by the looks of them*, right now,
almost right up to the top...HONESTLY!!!
And you will end up with a great root system if you dooooooo
and such a stronger and healthier tomato plant..

****'Sparagus,
Some tomatoes do have a purplish hue..
So that may be very normal to have it,
when they are seedlings..

Usually the deficiencies color's are....
Yellow, tiny bit of Orange,
or a white or a mottled of all those colors, or brown/dried look.
*that I've seen*

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by johnCT on April 14, 2006 01:42 AM
Purple leaves signify a P deficiency...

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/tomatoproblemsolver/leaves/pdef.html

Your plants are definitely old enough to fertilize, but it has to be done SPARINGLY! I fertilize seedlings with diluted MG once every week or so, but not until they are well established with their true leaves. 1/4 Tsp per gallon of water.

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John - Zone 6
by Longy on April 14, 2006 02:13 AM
Couple of suggestions Heidi.
Firstly, it's not a bad thing to stress tomato plants when young as they will set flowers earlier once they pickup, so if you can get them going again it may be fine.
When older leaves go yellow it's usually a nitrogen deficiency.
When leaves go purple, phosphorous is often lacking.
But you fertilize right! And as it's only with a N 0.02 P 0.02 K 0.02 once a week i'd hardly say it's too much. Possibly too little. Most ferts have much larger ratios.
However. Irrespective of how much fertilizer you give, they need water to use it. (The fact that you watered that drooping one and it stood up again pretty much proves they aren't getting enough water). Those peat pots are great but they dry out so fast. They need watering 2 or 3 times a day and maybe more if in a breeze. I put them in a tray then fill in around them with coir or compost to help keep them moist. The roots will grow thru the pot but it's no problem when you transplant. Even sand around the pots will help.

To me, it looks like you need to pot the plants up into bigger pots, say 8" minimum. Use a good quality potting mix with a bit of compost added.
Maybe some added water crystals in there too. Some potting mixes already have them added.
(Or plant them into the garden if the weather is starting to warm. As long as there is no chance of frost i think they are OK outside.)
Before and after transplanting, water the seedlings with a half strength seaweed liquid fert. It's not an actual fertilizer but a mineral supplement that minimizes transplant shock. Excellent stuff for transplanting anything. Fertilise weekly with half strength fish emulsion, starting a week after you transplant, until the first flowers set, then fortnightly with full strength should do it.

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The secret is the soil.
by heidi_ho80 on April 14, 2006 08:52 PM
Thank you for all of your advice. I needed it trust me [grin] I will let you all know how they are doing in a couple of days when all my work on them is done, and they have had a chance to recover.
Thanks SOOO much again! I love this place!
Heidi

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