What else can happen??? Some help, please-pics

sherribabyJuly 14, 2006

I have yet another tomato issue. I think that the rain we've had in the northeast may have contributed to some of this year's problems but now I must deal. Here is a short history of this year's tomatoes.

I planted in soil that hadn't grown tomatoes before. pH is around 6.5. I put composted manure in the bottom of each hole (now i think maybe too much nitrogen there but too late). Plants are about 18" apart and i have them trellised with twine that wraps around the plant's main stem and is attached to a post running horizontally down the row of plants at about 5 1/2 ft. high. I have fertilized twice with miracle grow (no negative responses from organic nut, please - i'm ok with miracle grow on my plants) veggie fertilizer which is 15-30-15. Oh yeah-plants were planted into solar mulch (basically black plastic from Johnny's) and I am using the drip hose system from Johnny's also so the leaves are only getting wet from rain and dew.

Background should be complete. I noticed on plants that I purchased from a local nursery that I started to get what was diagnosed here as septoria leaf spot. It did spread to my other row of tomatoes slightly. I read all of the arguments as to what I can do and I decided to go with the daconil. I applied yesterday. One tbsp in a gallon of water, put it in a spray bottle (old windex bottle) and sprayed all over the leaves on every tomato plant. This was after removing all of the affected leaves from the bottom portion of the plant.

On my better boy tomatoes, which are the ones that started with the septoria, I now have about 40 little tomatoes from the size of a pea to the size of a golf ball. Yesterday everything looked ok but I was mostly concentrating on the leaves. This morning I found a couple of problems:

on one plant my little baby maters were split and one is both split and misshapen!! :(

I was just on the tomato problem solver post and see that this may be caused by cool weather when the blossom sets which may have been possible cause we had cool, rainy days over the last couple weeks. We have had a bunch of sun too so I didn't think it was that bad.

Here's another question-could I be watering wrong? The people at Johnny's told me that they run their hoses (same that I purchased) for 6 hours every day but I should probably do 4 hours. That sounds like a LOT! Remember these are just drip hoses that emit.15 gal/hr from holes spaced 12" apart. The instructions said to run them like 6-8 hours but that seems like way too much to me. I have one section exposed (not covered in plastic) and it seems to soak into the soil at least 6" in less than an hour. I've been leaving it on an hour every morning unless we've had rain. 2 days ago we had 4" in one afternoon so I haven't run it yet since then.

Anyone know anything about the irri-gator?? Can my watering practices cause the cracking? Oh, wait. I also have that damned leaf roll thing going on in the older leaves which I thought came from too much water.

So, basically -

do you think I'll be ok with my septoria now that i'm treating?

what is happening to my fruits and how do i correct?

how can i figure out what is equal to 1" per week from my drip system?

And anything else you think I need to know, except for another organic argument. Thanks in advance and I apologize for the length of my post-I tend to get wordy :)

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cbars(z5b6a MO-Kansas City)

do you think I'll be ok with my septoria now that i'm treating? YES - maintain a regular treatment schedule.

what is happening to my fruits and how do i correct? No way to correct what Mother Nature has done. Your mater was crippled by weather extremes although some varieties have this problem no matter the weather.

how can i figure out what is equal to 1" per week from my drip system? Not familiar with your type of irrigation but my guess is that you are watering way to much. Let things dry out a little and then run a little experiment. Run your irrigation system for 4 hours. Pick a place in between mater plants and dig a small hole to see how deeply the water has soaked into the soil. Adjust your watering time up or down depending how deeply the soil is wet. I would look for water to soak in 10-12 inches (just a guess). We always told people to water infrequently, slowly, and deeply to get the best results.

I would think you would only need to water once, maybe twice, a week unless you have really hot (90+) weather.

Hope this helps and yes I am tired of the ORGANIC argument!

Good luck,


    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 11:03AM
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I guess the correct question should've been "how do I prevent?", not correct. I don't want all of my fruits to crack open! that would be horrible. :(

I did test it to see how long it would take to soak through the soil and it was only about 30 minutes which I thought was no time at all considering Johnny's and the instructions both said upwards of 4 hours. I am going to see how long it takes the soil to dry out, though.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 2:11PM
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Just trying to give it a little bump.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 9:15AM
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torquill(z9/sunset15 CA)

I wouldn't be running the hoses for four hours -- maybe two hours, once a week, but the plants have to be eased into that sort of schedule. If their roots are distributed for water every two days, run it for a half hour every two days and see whether anyone complains about it. If they get droopy by the end, tack on another 15 minutes.

There's no way to avoid that sort of cracking and catfacing; it goes away as the weather evens out. The best thing you can do is make sure they have even moisture in the soil -- which brings us back to irrigation. :)

Seriously, it tends to be the first, malformed blossoms that do the catfacing, and once the plants get into the swing of things it'll go away.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 12:33AM
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