curling leaves

dlboone(7)January 12, 2013

Hi all,

I think I may have a problem looming and I don't know what the "root" cause is. ;) What could be the possible cause(s) of curling leaves ? Aren't they supposed to be flatter? Do they need fertilizer or something?

I'm seeing this on some of my pepper, basil, tomato, and cherry tomato plants. Here's a picture of some of the leaves on one of my rainbow blend cherry tomato plants I started from seeds. Note how the tips of the leaves are curling under:

And here's a picture of the whole plant (recently repotted with some perlite mixed in and about 2 inches of drainage rock in the bottom):

Another note: on my red siberian tomato plants, I'm seeing a lot of loss of lower leaves and even some lower branches. Is this normal?

(Admitted first time, untrained but enthusiastic and committed grower here.)

Thanks in advance,
David

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Repot them again but remove and never replace the "drainage rock." It doesn't work the way far too many folks think.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 8:00PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Those container have drainage holes, right? I would add a LOT more perlite, too. 50:50 would not be too much.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 7:05AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Plant leaves curl in response to turgidity, the water pressure in the leaves. Too much, or too little, soil moisture causes a plants leaves to curl.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:02AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

refresh our memory on the light levels you provide..

kim is suggesting such might be related to repotting ... you interrupted water flow during such ...

didnt i recommend a PROFESSIONAL soil media??? .. on the blotchy yellow leaves post .. linked below?? .. you are still winging it ... [which is fine.. but leads to problem after problem ...]

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 11:13AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you are growing FULL SUN production plants indoors...

i dont care what kind of artificial light you provide..

they will NOT look like they do in full sun ...

your lights.. should be inches from your plant ... i see no light close to your plants.. which reinforces my theory ..

this is also supported by the way they seem to be elongating ... which means .. their form is not correct ...

ken

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 4:14PM
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dlboone(7)

Hi Ken,

Yes, I am still trying to make do with the potting soil I have, for now... I am looking into professional potting soil and see a lot of recommendations for fox farm ocean forest brand, but given your other advice about baking the soil to just under 200 degrees F for 30 minutes seems like it would also remove some of the value of the "beneficial microbes" that one would pay for using the professional potting soil (not to mention be extremely time consuming). So, I haven't pulled the trigger on a purchase yet.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:15PM
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dlboone(7)

Oh, and I'm using two 400W MH lights running 12 hours a day now. The pepper plants are trying to flower.

Thanks,
David

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:16PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Dlboone, you should know that ken is the only one who recommends the sterilization process. Unless you're reusing a potting medium over and over, it's probably not necessary.

I've grown hundreds of thousands of bedding plants from seed and have always used the product straight out of the bag.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 5:59AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

"kim is suggesting such might be related to repotting ... you interrupted water flow during such"
Nope. All I am suggesting is that the potting soil may be either too wet ot too dry.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 7:41AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

I've grown hundreds of thousands of bedding plants from seed and have always used the product straight out of the bag.

==>> and how many of those.. were grown on a light stand in your house.. next to the TV.. and while trying to watch a hockey game.. which you could NOT see thru the swarm of gnats ... lol..

in your house.. in your face.. a little prevention really goes a long way ... this isnt a greenhouse you can fumigate when every little critter comes along ...

i use the same media outdoors .. and i never sterilize it.. as i can use systemic chems outdoors .. if need be ...

====================

"kim is suggesting such might be related to repotting ... you interrupted water flow during such"
Nope. All I am suggesting is that the potting soil may be either too wet to too dry.

===>> agree ... but my point was a second variable beyond water .. and that was the transplant ....

they have to consider ALL variables.. together.. not independently ...

ken

ps: i understand using up what you have.. i am steering you for the future..

pps: when i used the oven ... i got a turkey pan from the dollar store.. dampened the media.. covered and crimped with alum foil .. poked one hole at the top ... and when it steamed.. i put it out on the porch to cool for future use... it looked like a huge Jiffy Pop fro the 60-'s.. lol ...

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:07AM
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dlboone(7)

Wow, Ken, thanks for all the encouragement. I think I'll go hang myself now. LOL

Yes, kimmsr, hopefully it's a matter of too much or too little water.

The plant in question has already grown about another 2 inches in height this week. Leaves still curled. I watered it Saturday and then yesterday, the leaves were still curled . Last night I watered it again. I'll keep an eye on it and if the curling remains, I'll wait till at least Thursday or Friday (keeping a check on soil moisture levels and droopiness of the plant) before watering again.

Not exactly growing these "on a light stand in your house.. next to the TV". Here's a picture of a part of my grow room:

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 10:51AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I haven't seen a fungus gnat in my home or my outdoor containers for 2 or 3 decades. Thay cannot/will not breed in the kind of very coarse textured, fast draining potting mixes I use.

I never use control products of any kind for fungus gnats....never have. It's simply not necessary with a good medium.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 11:45AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

wow on that grow room ... lol .. must be nice to have a spare room for such ...

next thing to think about..

buying some uniform pots ... crimminey.. your watering issue.. on 100 plants.. is confusing.. because you have 100 different pot sizes ... INCLUDING A 5 GALLON BUCKET .. lol ...

if you reduced that to say .. 3 sizes.. then the smallest might need water every third day .. with the proper media ...

and the largest.. every 6 days .. etc ... [depending on the plant size of course ..]

not that those numbers are hard and fast.. but you would learn faster ... it would become predictable ...

you would come to learn some predictability on when things need to be watered ...

again.. to repeat and rephrase for you ... the right media becomes predictable.. in pots sizes that make water management predictable .. you may or may not have the light intensity good enough [predictably strong?> ... but once you move beyond media.. water and light.. you are only left with fertilizing ... [and i am leaving out predictable heat.. since its your house .. and the only issue there is seed germination temps.. for the most part] ...

ken

ps: gold star of the day for the most uses of 'predictability' in one post.. lol ...

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 1:21PM
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dlboone(7)

Hi Rhizo_1, Thanks for the comments. I understand that I most likely brought the fungus gnats into my grow room by using some already infested Miracle Grow moisture control soil I bought at Lowe's that apparently holds the moisture far, far too long for my use case, then continually overwatering. (Learning experience - the hard way. So eager, yet so uneducated.)

Yesterday I bought 3 cu ft of Sunshine Advanced Mix #4 and 6 cu ft of Fox Farm Ocean Forest, with the goal to mix them 50%/50% and use Fox Farm liquid trio fertilizers during the bloom phase.

I called my pest control provider - Moxie Pest Control and they informed me they don't cover gnats!! :(

So, I'm back to trying

  • letting the plants dry out extremely well between watering

  • applying crumbled mosquito dunks to the tops of the soil of all plants inside

  • attacking the adults with sticky fly paper ribbon (yuck!)

  • praying (never hurts ;)

  • and considering if some room fogger might help without hurting or contaminating the plants and their fruit

  • I also heard a suggestion yesterday to mix 50% water with 50% rubbing alcohol and spray around the plants and on the soil for a contact killer. Not sure on this one either.

According to what I read in another forum about the Mosquito Dunks, it takes at least 3 weeks to start seeing results, so maybe I haven't been patient enough yet. But, I'm worried about introducing new, professional potting soil to the room when there's already an infestation problem.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I think you might just need to do a bit more reading. You're kind of on the right track...

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 9:29AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The dunks should be crumbled up in your watering can, allowed to dissolve, and applied on watering day. I'm not at all sure how beneficial Bt will be if left on the surface.

Forget about the fogger. They are so toxic. And the alcohol mist would not be something I would recommend for fungus gnats.....just not effective.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 6:03PM
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dlboone(7)

Thanks purple and rhizo. I read elsewhere that BTi is stable both wet and dry and that dissolving in water was not required. Not sure what to believe but since the dunks are shipped dry, that sounded logical. On the other hand, if dissolved in the watering solution it also makes sense that the beneficial bacteria would go wherever the water goes. Bought some Fox Farm "Bug Be Gone" with Pyrethrin yesterday and sprayed good after the lights turned off. (Heard Pyrethrin breaks down under ultraviolet light.) Helped some.

At this point, I'll try anything.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 9:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The active ingredient in the dunks need to get into the potting medium volume where the fungus gnat larvae are. They don't come up to the surface to graze.

Bt-I (Bacillus thuringiensis-Israelensis is a larvacide and works in an aquatic or semi-aquatic environment where the target insect inhabits. The little, squiggly fungus gnat youngsters have to feed on the Bt for it to work.

The dry shelf life or stability of dry mosquito dunks has nothing to do with how it must be utilized.

Bt-I can also be purchased in granulated form or in a liquid (Gnatrol) .

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:56AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

According to what I read in another forum about the Mosquito Dunks, it takes at least 3 weeks to start seeing results, so maybe I haven't been patient enough yet.

==>> i said in the first post [i think] .. that you needed to learn the lifecycle of your pest ... from egg to larvae to flying adult.. it should be obvious ... that a soil application of the dunk.. will have no effect on those flying around ... the question would be.. will it linger and kill new eggs? .. old eggs ... and/or larvae ... your scheme has to attack the whole range of the cycle ...

======================

But, I'm worried about introducing new, professional potting soil to the room when there's already an infestation problem.

==>>> yes ... you need to basically repot EVERYTHING ... thereby reducing 99% of the problem IN YOUR MEDIA ... interrupting one of the cycles of life above ... and this is why getting rid of those 5 gal buckets would help cost-wise in potting soil ... and then attacking from the air going after another of the life cycle ...

this idea is basically known as IPM ==>> INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT ....

as i said.. PREVENTION really.. really avoids the CURE ... i lived this IN HOUSE nightmare once .... i remember it well ... once was enough ...

think about this ... if you had two lights ... set one up elsewhere ... temporarily ... repot about half and place them in the isolation room ... and then do the other half ... isolate them..

let this room hang dormant for a week [no plants.. air bugs die] .. then move them all back into the favored room ... maybe the basement????

lots of exercise .. some cost.. but what options do you have.. you can keep asking us the same question ... over and over .. but when it all boils down,, you have poor media.. and you are trying to fix that with every cure under the sun.. but new soil ...

i wish you luck.. i shudder every time i remember living thru it ...

ken

ps: as i recall ... i had this large light stand.. with removable shelves.. i took all the shelves out and kept them in room one ... and moved the stand to the other side of the house to room two .. i was a bachelor.. i had many extra rooms.. lol ..

then i went to work.. repotting hundreds of pots of plants.. working in the third room.. the utility room ... and sending the repotted ones to the isolation room ...

it took me a few evenings after work.. but it got done.. and the plants survived w/o lights for a few days... as in my case.. it was an either or situation ...

ken

did i show you these pix elsewhere??? an idea of my 4 level plants stand.. and the hundreds of pots that i had to repot ... one thing for sure.. i was an expert repotter by the time i was done.. lol ...

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:58PM
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