Wilting and Yellow/Brown leaves

kaysnydesJune 20, 2012

Hi, I'm new to gardening. have a small plot in our community garden in central FL and I've planted a number of vegetables from seeds and some transplants. A lot of my plants have leaves that sort of look like they are wilting -- especially the Okra (see picture). At first I thought it was red ants because I've seen a lot of those in the garden. I've also noticed a lot of tiny yellow ovalish things on the underside of leaves. A lot of plants have yellow and brown spots (especially the pole beans) and are losing leaves. My cherry tomato plants and sweet potato have also been affected. It seems that the leaves on the bottom of the plants have more damage than the top (for the tomatoes).

Any idea what is causing this? What do I do? Thanks in advance for your input :)

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And here's a tomato plant...

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:34AM
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And pole beans

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:35AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Kaysnydes

Welcome to the Florida garden forum and gardening!

Where in Central Florida are you located? that info is important, I give advice to my local community garden and now only the heat resistant crops will grow with the rains, the heat and humidity.
The plot that you have now, was the soil amended? In our Florida sandy soil okra and tomatoes get a problem from nematodes unless there is a lot of organic material in the soil. Pole beans get replaced with butterbeans or cowpeas for the summer.
For sweet potatoes, you need a good space, mine are doing fine in a raised bed.

My bush sweet potatoes today


The last cherry tomato plants, soon I will be taking them out.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Thanks for the warm welcome! I'm located in Orlando. I double dug the bed with mushroom compost a couple weeks before I planted. I don't have much space, but I've planted just one sweet potato plant. I guess it could be nematodes. Just not sure what to do about it (if anything). Your sweet potatoes look amazing :)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:56PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi neighbor!

Next time that we have a garden party at my house, you are invited to meet other gardeners and see what are we planting.
Think of summer here like winter in other places, only very little gets planted, too much bugs and disease.
Some of the plots in the local community garden are getting cleaned for the summer, adding compost without disturbing the soil and solarizing using plastic. In the fall, they will plant again tomatoes and such.
If the mushroom compost was not well composted that could be one of the problems, sometimes I have seen them with a lot of bugs, I guess depending on where you get it. The local community garden used the city free compost and they did well.
This is a very good place for you to learn and ask questions, many people are experienced and willing to share their knowledge...


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:18PM
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Hi,I think it is probably a form of mildew/fungus.It appears to be affecting the lower leaves of the plants(definately in the toms & beans-the okra is still small)& is probably getting splashed onto the lower leaves when it rains or you water.You could try adding a mulch(such as grass clippings,straw etc),which will help prevent any "nasties" in the soil splashing up onto the leaves of the plants.You could also remove the bad leaves & throw them in the garbage(to prevent the spread).You could also spray the plants with a 50/50 mix of milk/water,which won't cure any fungus/mildew,but can prevent it spreading onto new plants.Best of luck

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:16PM
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I have far more questions than answers as a new to Florida gardener, but...

The Okra could be heat stress. Part of the problem here is that many plants just can get water up to the leaves fast enough to overcome our heat. Providing some amount of shade may help the Okra.

The yellowing and curling is most likely fungus, mildew, and probably some sucking bugs. An Ag guy told me that it was not if you got fungus, but when. Our summer heat and humidity, combined with wind spreads the stuff all over.

Silvia's right about stuff not doing well in summer. My first year I planted at what I would have considered insanely early up North. I didn't get much before summer destroyed everything. Last fall I did better and I'm gearing up to do much better this fall. It is time to start some of your seedlings in about a month, so get what you can and cleanup for fall.

... and don't miss Silvia's party. Everybody is great and her gardens are to die for.

... and here's a link to a planting guide for times http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021


    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 8:08PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

FWIW, that okra looks like aphid damage - & sucking insects like aphids can transmit disease, since they pierce the plants.

Also FWIW, I made the mistake of double digging my garden beds when I 1st started - wrong! I was told by a horticulturalist that just brings nematodes up closer to the surface. The 1st few years I had all kinds of problems because of that - now I just spread amendments/compost on top & lightly mix in the top couple of inches.

I also mulch very thickly w/ spoiled coastal hay from the local feed store. It keeps soil from splashing up onto plants & spreading diseases that way, plus it adds tilth to the soil as it breaks down. Hay seems to work much better w/ veggies than other mulches like bark or wood chips.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:43PM
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