Tomato Plants Having Issues

kgolombApril 20, 2013

Hi all,

I seem to be struggling with my tomatoes (or so it feels like) this year. Last year was the first year I gardened at all and grew the plants from seed pretty effortlessly... I guess I got lucky! So now that I am having problems it is very frustrating.

I am growing three varieties (a cherry and two heirloom slicing). I grew the same cherry and one of the slicing varieties last year so only one variety is new. They are growing under the same conditions. I started them in one of those 36 cell trays, then as they got larger I transplanted them to 3x3 plastic pots. I did the same thing last year and used brand new pots this time. When I transplanted them I used Miracle Gro potting soil as I did last year. They are under fluorescent lights (again the same ones) and I turn them off from 11pm-7am.

The cherry tomatoes (with the exception of two plants) all seem to have the same problem. The stems of the leaves that were present on transplant started twisting and being all weird and eventually the leaves fall off (presumably since the stem is so twisted preventing water from reaching the leaves). The new growth is nice and green and normal looking at first but within a few days starts to fold up at the edges. The leaves are bumpy underneath and have light little dots.

The two slicing varieties are suffering from a different issue (but they are both having it). The leaves are turning slightly yellow and going on to develop very light (almost white) spots. I am wondering if perhaps this has something to do with the soil conditions or maybe too much light? Maybe it's the fluorescent lights? I can't see why it would be a problem since it wasn't last year but I don't know much about this still.

I have separated the ones having issues from the rest of the plants and put them in a sunny window for now until I can figure out what is going on with them. I grow extra and have one or two of each plant that is not showing any signs of problems yet so hopefully I can keep it that way. Does anyone have any insight? In the photo the plant in the middle is the cherry.

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Here is another of a different cherry.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:44PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I don't think the light is the problem. The only thing that comes to mind is that the mix looks really dry, and also the plants look a little under nourished. Maybe try to give them a good watering, and if you fertilize more than 1/4 strength.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 1:07PM
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They were sitting in a tray so I watered them from the bottom yesterday... It's moist just under the top layer. Maybe I need to water them more frequently though.

I just talked to my mom... I gave her one of each plant earlier this week. She isn't having any problems at all... Weird.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 1:12PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Did you happen to use MG with Moisture Control? The blue bag rather than the green and yellow bag?

Even tho the soil surface does appear exceptionally dry, they definitely don't need more water. There is so much leaf yellowing that it would be too much water rather than not enough.

Have they been outdoors at all? What is the average air temps in the room? Are they near a furnace vent? Is there any sign of pests, specifically spider mites?

Is it possible to post a pic that gives a side view rather than top down views and closer to the plant?


    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 2:46PM
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Nope, the bag is green and yellow. No moisture control.

They haven't been outside except for when I transplanted them to the bigger pots so maybe for fifteen minutes or so. No signs of pests, I looked at all the leaves (top and underneath) and didn't see anything. We have baseboard heat which is on the other side of the room entirely. The room is between 64-70 depending on the time of day (cooler at night) and the temperature outside. It's been exceptionally cold this year so far so the heat has stayed on longer than usual. It's about 68 in there right now.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 3:02PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Bottom up watering? That's fine if the mix is wicking water properly. With a consistent good wicking soil mix it should wick right to the top of the mix and appear moist. I'm not sure whether it's too much or too little water, but I would suggest doing a through soil probe to determine just how moist it is. I agree that they don't usually yellow and die from too little water, they usually just get a little floppy, and respond quickly to watering. I water from top down with a good draining mix, so when I see water running out the bottom I know it's watered. The mix drains well enough so I rarely, if ever, have to worry about overwatering.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 4:35PM
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Here is a side view. I am using my phone to take these so it's hard to get a good one especially since it was overcast. They're embarrassingly pathetic looking in person. I don't think I potted them deep enough and I'm sure the pots are already too small. Ugh.

Could too much fertilizer do this? Maybe it's the miracle gro??? Hopefully they can rebound from this. If I restart them now I think they might be big enough by the time it's okay to put them out.

This post was edited by kgolomb on Sun, Apr 21, 13 at 15:31

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 3:24PM
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