Tomato Family Problems in VA Beach

dxjpriceApril 22, 2006

Hi all. I've had 12 mixed heirloom tomatoes and about that many peppers and eggplants in the garden for about 4 weeks now. I used WOWs to keep them warm, and just fully opened them up the past week or two as the plants got too big. Over the past week, all my tomato-family plants have started a downward spiral. It started with symptoms of over watering, but it's moved on to look like something a bit more sinister now. All my tomatoes have rolling leaves, with the tops being curled and rolled, with slowed growth. The Brandywines look like they're on the way out, and the Black Krims look like they might recover. All my peppers have turned light green, are exhibiting severe leaf roll, and most have prominent, raised veins. Some central leaf veins are even turning purple. My eggplants are in pretty sad shape as well. Their growth suddenly slowed to a crawl, and their leaves are turning light green with mottled yellow. All my other plants, which include snap peas, Napa cabbage, broc, Danish cabbage, and huckleberry, are doing great. This is my first year gardening in VA, and I might have set things out a bit early, but the WOWs kept everything very warm until I popped the tops open lately. I'm worried about a virus (TYLCV) or pesticide residue since the soil I filled my beds with came from a nursery that uses municipal compost. All my neighbors seem to use lots of lawn chemicals, and many bag their clippings for collection. Maybe some Clopyralid made it through to my veggies. Any out there in VA Beach having similar issues? Has anybody had problems with VA Beach municipal compost? I'd really appreciate any comments. Thanks.

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gardenpaws_VA(z7 NoVA)

What are your air temps at night? All the plants you name are in the same family, it's true, but they are also heat-loving plants. Are the lower leaves as affected as the upper ones? If they aren't, it might be temperature. If they are, then your 'contaminated compost' becomes more plausible. Myself, I'd bet on some imbalance between temperature and nutrient availability, until I knew more.

Hope you get a local grower to chime in on this one, as I'm mostly trying to make good guesses.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 11:23PM
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Robin, the best way to identify the problem is to take samples of the plants to your local extension office. They should be able to check for diseases or insect infestations that could be causing your symptoms and they may also know if there has been a problem in the past with the municipal compost. Also, a soil test is a good idea. The extension will have soil test kits for your that you send off to VA Tech or will let you know if there is a local lab that can do it for you. Overwatering, underwatering, cold nights, chemical drift from a neighbor's spraying, these are also things to consider. Without actually handling the plants and maybe looking at them under a microscope, it's always chancy to try to diagnose problems.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 1:29PM
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