How do I fix this dying leaf problem?

dandilyun(z9 CA)July 25, 2011

Hello! I have learned a great deal form these forums, however, some of what you all say doesn't quite make sense yet. You speak a special tomato language I haven't learned :) I have been trying to grow tomatoes for 3 years now. This is my first time successfully growing tomatoes...yay! But I have two problems: splitting tomatoes, and now dying brown leaves. I suspect some sort of mite, but I am hoping that is what you all can help me with. Also, maybe a solution.

I had a heck of a start this year, late frosts and major earwigs, and replanted 4 times. Last time I replanted the tomatoes, I planted 6 or so Home Depot bought tomato plants in a 10x2 foot planter box. So before anyone tells me it's too many for that size, I know that now :) I honestly figured half of them would die again. It's a tangled jungle, and I have no idea how to fix it.

My whole garden is on the same timed watering system...4x per day for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, water is seeping out the bottom of the corners of the planter boxes. I don't know how the splitting could be from inconsistent watering...it's been a set schedule for 2 months now. I am in the high desert, and although it's been a fairly mild summer, it is very dry and is still getting up in the high 90's.

The picture shows whatever funky thing is going on with the leaves. The leaves are drying out in the center of the jumble of plants, and working it's way out. At first I thought it was just because it was all so dense, they were just going their normal course. Now, I see black dots and methinks something is amiss. Any suggestions for fertilizing, or debugging would be appreciated. Oh...due to the MAJOR infestation of earwigs this year, up until a month ago everything had been Sevined within an inch of it's life, so I am trying to avoid the Sevin for now because many of the 'maters are almost ready for picking and eating. I was going to put more than one pic, but haven't figured that out yet.

Thanks!

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behlgarden(9)

4X/day for 5 minutes ea? that is 20 minuts of watering what what type of irrigation? is it sprinkers? Sprinklers are bad. is it drip? I think its too much watering.

on pests, I am going to try BT that was suggested here on the forum with great success.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 5:04PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Depending upon how the water is supplied, could be waaaay to little.

So tell us what system you use.

Oh yes. Only way to tell for certain is to stick a trowel into the soil and see how, wet, moist or dry it is.

And how big are those planter boxes?

The guideline is to thoroughly moisten the entire rootzone with each watering.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 10:58PM
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dandilyun(z9 CA)

Thanks. The boxes are 2x10 feet. Yes, the plants are packed in there, If you read the second paragraph in my original post, I explain why :) Soil is moist in between watering, but not wet or muddy. We changed it to 2 12 min waterings, because a friend suggested that the short waterings didn't give the water much time to soak into the root area. We will see. IT is a drip system. By a drip system I mean that a hose runs down the middle of the box, and there are little hoses coming off of the main hose that were poked into the hose. They don't so much drip, as dribble. It's a constant small dribbling stream of water on each plant.

Behlgarden, thanks I don't know what BT is, but I will read around. That issue has me more concerned than the splitting tomatoes at this point.

Jean, this is the problem...half the people I talk to say it's clearly too much watering, some say it's fine, I am just a bad tomato grower (lol) and some say it's not enough watering. Splitting seems like it could mean too much watering. I am hoping that by cutting to twice a day, with a deep soak and extra that runs off, it will be better. IDK. Trial and error.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 4:12PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Sevin ?? Lots and lots of Sevin?? Then I think your problem is Tomato Russet Mite. Please go over to the 'regular' Tomato forum and go down the list until you see a post with title "Tomato Russet Mite". You might also look into my post about brown crunchy leaves. With the use of many broad spectrum insecticide (Sevin) you can scare up a whole host of mites.

The splitting comes when tomato do not have consistant soil moisture. Also some varieties are prone to splitting no matter what you do. I grow in containers with 'self-watering' AKA EarthBox. They have automatic watering system installed and I still get cracking on some varieties.

Don't give up!!

Cheers,
DL

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 2:57AM
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