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Is this Calcium deficiency or pest in Tomato (pictures)

Posted by pdrayton FL (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 5, 10 at 15:29


This is my first post, and I'm fairly new to hydro. I've read some books, notably Jone's excellent "Guide for the soilless grower", but I'm hoping that you guys with some experience can help me sort out my plants issues.

I've got some tomato plants as my learning plants. I'm trying a water 1inch flooded container, and then applying nutrients from the top. I'm using 50/50 mulched pine bark and perlite.

I put some organic nutrients in the mix in the form of cotton seed meal, dolomite, blood meal, bone meal. I've been applying a bit of fish emulsion and now some K2S04 as the flowers start forming.

HOwever, as you can see in the pics, there are spots on the stems - brownish spots. Other symptoms include new growth curling under, and the plants seem to wilt easily, even though my cheapo moisture meter says the material is wet. Overall growth is slow, but I'm not sure if that is because of the relatively high level of shade, or nutrients.

From Jones' book, Calcium deficiency leads to the curling under. But I don't know what the spots on the stem are. The plants seem to have some sort of disease (don't know what) early on, but a spray with neem oil but them back on track.

Any ideas? Suggestions? Pests? They're starting to bud, so I'd hate to lose them now.

I made some calcium sulphate and applied a dilute spray to the leaves today. We'll see...

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is this Calcium deficiency or pest in Tomato (pictures)

Hello Pdrayton,
It looks very similar to a fungus problem I was having while overwintering and cloning some Supersteak hybrids indoors last year.
Neem oil didn't work at all. Turned out all I could do to slow it down was to use an artist brush and magnifier to remove the tiny little white fly's that were spreading it.
I'm not sure but I think this may be the fungus referred to as early blight for which I've been told to try a product called Daconil.
Good luck,

RE: Is this Calcium deficiency or pest in Tomato (pictures)

I think so0metimes we overlook the simplest things. I'm thinking your plants may be root bound and need to be transplanted to a bigger container.

RE: Is this Calcium deficiency or pest in Tomato (pictures)

excessive nitrogen can also cause your leaves to curl under. Looking at your pictures, your leaves are not substantially curling under.
Your meals and dolomite are, I believe, in an non soluble form and will thus require some bacterial activity to make them available to the plants, so its very possible they're undernourished. also, if you're applying the fertilzer to the top and relying on wick action to keep the soil moist, it's going to take a lot longer for those fertilizers to break down.
Fish emulsion is a high nitrogen source (relatively speaking) and that combined with the insolubility of the meals and dolomite may well be causing the curling. how much (or at what rate) are you applying it? same question for the potassium sulphate.
the spots on the stem don't look to bad and could just be hardening off. Keep a close eye on them, but don't sweat it yet. Overall, your plants look healthy. Are the spots spreading onto the leaves?

RE: Is this Calcium deficiency or pest in Tomato (pictures)

Can anybody help me I cant figure out what is wrong with my tomatoes

RE: Is this Calcium deficiency or pest in Tomato (pictures)

from the pictures, those look lilke immature leaves. can you please describe what your seeing?

RE: Is this Calcium deficiency or pest in Tomato (pictures)

I had a blight problem with some plants I got from a nursery, hydrogen peroxide treatment helped greatly! New growth is healthy and green again. Can't hurt and the plants love the extra oxygen released during oxidation of stuff in the water.

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