Tomato diseases

paauilochickOctober 21, 2008

Help please! I live on the Bis Island of Hawaii, in Paauilo. We are at about 2700 feet with mildly cool temps. It can be wet up here but it has been dry this year. My problem is with my tomatoes AND many other plants I try to grow (squash, beans, eggplant,peas, cukes). With the tomatoes,squash and cukes the bottom leaves begin to yellow, brown patches may appear around the edges/tips of the leaves(but NOT circles or spots as in blights)and very light coating of white mildew will appear, esp. under the leaves. The branches die off one by one, moving up the plant until the whole plant is affected. It does produce fruit slowly the whole time and the fruit is mostly unaffected. But the plant dies off soon after fruiting.It affects ALL my plants, whether grown in the ground OR in good quality potting soil, away from the ground plot. If I put seedlings in the ground they almost never make it to fruiting, even with treating them for fungus from the start. The potted ones will grow to maturity, coming down with the disease right before fruiting starts. The squash/cukes sucumb the same way. Have tried treating with Neem oil, Garden Dust (copper/rotone), milk, baking soda-NOTHING has helped-even when I start treating BEFORE any signs of the disease shows up. Most of the people I have talked to here for advise have said they have all given up trying to grow tomatoes on the Big Isl(inc. a few nursery employees!). Pretty bleak outlook. Any ideas what this could be (it doesn't seem to fit a wilt or blight disease and if it is a powdery mildew it is non-responsive to treatment)? Is there anything I can try that I haven't already? Maybe disease resistant varieties (where would I get them???)??? I am so frustrated and ready to give up on growing vegetables all together. Mahalo Nui Loa for any and all help.

Also-my basil and lavender plants will get a milder varity of some mildew if I over water them-have to let them completely dry out before watering.

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It's truly hard to grow tomatoes in Hawaii, you really have to have patience and take good care. Use Romas only if you are buying the mainland seed company types, but try to use the seeds form the UH Seed Lab. I get these from seed exchanges and gardening fairs over here, Kauai Community College and the botanical gardens host them a few times a year. I just got a packet of Kewalo Variety from them, and here is the information found on the packet:

UH Seed Lab
College of tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Agricultural Diagnostic service center (A.D.S.C.)
University of Hawaii at Manoa

1910 East West Road
Sherman Lab Rim #134
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

A.D.S.C. Seed Program, ph. 956-7890 or 956-6706, FAX 956-2592

They have all kinds of seeds incling most of the squash, onion, peas, beans, etc you may want; and of course you'll probably have more luck as they were developed for Hawaii.

But even still the gardening is a challenge ! you have to be on it with the insecticidal soap - make your own from the receipe found on the web using Naptha soap and 10% alcohol; and with the squash and stuff you need to net them or grow fast and accept the losses. Results are better with high quality soil - lots of mulch - not necessarily fertilizer -soil quality is the key !

Hope this helps - hang in there. Aloha

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 6:13PM
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