Tomato Disease? Bush?
I have a few questions. Even though I've planted tomatoes the past couple of years, I don't actually know much about them like I'm sure most of you on here do.
The first concern I have is about disease or whatever is causing our tomato stalks to die every year. I start them from seed and they look nice for a few weeks after planting them out but then I start to see some yellow leaves which soon turn brown. Before too long I have many leaves turning yellow and then brown and also have brown, dying stems. The plants pretty much die from the bottom on up until there's barely any plant left at all. I don't know how to prevent this. I don't plant tomatoes in the same place two years in a row because I know you shouldn't (although I forget the reason). Last year I bought a fungicide and sprayed it on the plants, but they still died. I also kept the dead leaves trimmed off, although that got to be a task in futility as I had so many dying every day. We got very few tomatoes last year. I've tried Beefsteak, Super Beefsteak, Big Boy, Better Boy, some yellows, some heirlooms, and they all end up dying.
This coming spring I'd like to plant all bush tomatoes, not because of the dying off thing (because I suppose whatever killed the regular-sized stalks would kill the bush type too) but because for my husband and I, I think it would be nice to have more compact plants (the ones we've tried got huge before they died off). They'd pull the cages over and we'd end up pounding stakes in the ground to keep the cages upright, which isn't easy for us to do. I'm also hoping that maybe with more compact plants I could possibly avoid coming into much contact with the foliage. In 2010 I discovered that I have an allergy to the plants. I get a terrible rash and feel like I have poison ivy.
Assuming that Lowe's or Walmart carry bush tomatoes (I'm not sending away for one packet of seeds and pay as much or more in shipping than what the tomato seeds cost), is one kind of bush tomato any better than the others as far as being resistant to diseases (or whatever it is that keeps killing our tomato plants)? If I understand correctly bush tomatoes don't need to be staked, right?
TIA for any help you can give this tomato novice. :)