Pitch the earlies, or persevere?

jackie_(z6 PA)May 5, 2006

After five years of growing heirlooms without a hitch, it seems my tomato karma has turned I've had a dozen earlies out in WOW's for a few weeks (safe planting date is 5/10). Our weather has been weird (hot/cold/hot). Yesterday was 85, but the forecast is for a cool weekend with lows in the upper 30's possible. I've been opening & closing the WOW accordingly. Yesterday I moved the WOW's off entirely because of the heat.

A few show signs of mild sunscald, which doesn't overly concern me. Two of the plants had what I believe is powdery mildew (not sure, never had it before, see pics) and the undersides of the leaves on the first plant were seriously purple (see the veins). I yanked those two plants, but I'm concerned for the others. Since it's still early enough in the season, I'm wondering if I should just pull all the early plants and start over. The plants that are hardening off properly under the carport look fine.

Questions: If this is powdery mildew, is the probable cause too much humidity in the WOW's or something in the soil? I did add some compost from the city center that may be suspect. Since I removed the two plants showing signs, will I be safe treating the rest with a fungicide? I'll be planting out my full crop next weekend. I'd like to stay organic, but I'm not opposed to some Daconil if the situation warrants it. I have the option to pull everything and start over, but I'd hate to lose the earlies... I had visions of a Sun Gold BLT on Memorial DayÂ

Any advice appreciated!


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cbars(z5b6a MO-Kansas City)

IMHO - all that you have is sun scald. To bad you tore out your plants because they were probably okay.

Don't take this the wrong way - sometimes we need to stop, take a breath, and then proceed on a logical course. Panic is your last option!!

Also, I seem to remember that you had cold weather just a week or 10 days ago. My family is still in western Pa. Drastic changes in temperature will cause your maters to look off.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 3:46PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I also agree that it just looks like they got a little sunburn and also maybe some windburn. Sometimes when you put them out, they get kind of purple if the climate outside is a lot different than what they are used to. They seem to snap out of it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 8:00AM
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