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tomato problems in az-help

Posted by allenstu 85207 (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 13, 04 at 11:02

I have some heirloom tomato transplants that have had bad trouble. Long story short I think I am overwatering. The new growth is stunted and the leaves are curling under really bad. The leaves really have never come uncurled and I guess I don't think they will. The leaves are green but stunted and curled. They have the proper nutrients and I have flushed the soil once to with clearex to make sure of no salt build up. There are in about 12 gallon containers. I have checked the soil with a moisture meter and even after a week they are still moist. It does have great drainage just large containers. What do you guys think. I live in mesa az in Las Sendas. LEt me know. ANy help is appreciated. allen

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: tomato problems in az-help

It is ususally too hot during the summer to grow and product tomatoes. As the weather, cools you can get a fall crop before the onset of winter. Basically you need to remember to treat AZ summer like most people treat the winter,very little thrives and survial is the best goal.

RE: tomato problems in az-help

I am getting plants from many places. Some develope growing problems within a week of planting. I dont believe it is the soil because the closest plant could be ok. It is just some plants and it could be from the same store. The plant grows good at the beginning then after a few weeks after the plant has reached a height of about 2 ft the top leaves began to curl and are small. These plants become stunted and blossem fall off. As I said the plant next to it is doing fine. Any suggestions? This all happens before the hot weather sets in.

RE: tomato problems in az-help

Bob, I live in southern Nevada, and in fact I can look out the front of our property and see your state, (Lake Mead area). I currently have (8) 35' rows of heirloom tomato's growing and all are doing well. Here's what I've done, and hopefully it will help: When I started we had nothing but sand and creasote bushes. The soil is/was very alkaline, sandy, and of very poor quality. I believe in growing organically so I began by adding tons and tons of composted horse manure. I also grew cover crops and turned them in. I've been doing this continually for the past (5) years. This has improved the soil structure greatly, and now it is rich and very earthy smelling. All of my vegetable rows are on a Netafim drip irrigation system to conserve water. Blossom drop is common when the temperature gets up there, (like right now). In order to have success with maters in the desert you must get them in the ground very early. I transplanted 1' tall plants the first week in March, and even that was too late. This is the first year I've tried heirlooms so I'm not sure what the success rate will be, although I have quite a few tomato's on the plants. Some of my plants are experiencing leaf curl but it doesn't seem to affect them.

This is the first time I've visited/posted to this forum and unfortunately it doesn't seem to get much traffic. I asked some questions earlier today and no-ones responded. Might I suggest you visit the tomato forum, as well as the soil/compost and mulch forum. Both of them get high traffic, with a lot of helpful people on them. Hope this helps.

Sandhill Farms
Overton, Nevada

RE: tomato problems in az-help

Could be overwatering, maybe you need more sand or perlite in your planting mix. Could also be curly leaf virus. When our tomatoes get it, they are stunted, the leaves all curl, and the tomatoes don't taste good. This year my potatoes had it (I think, same symptoms anyway), but the taters were good eating in any case. I got my tomatoes covered back in March with shadescreen, and now we are inundated with delicious fruit. We have picked over 100 lbs from our 8 assorted vines so far. Wife made 5 quarts of salsa from our garden tomatoes, 6 varieties of peppers, and leftover Grand Canyon Sweet onions on Sunday, which we took to work with us, and made a lot of folks happy at Mesa Public Schools. The one variety that is not producing would be the Brandywine heirloom variety. It was hit hardest by the last frost, and to date has not produced a darn thing.

Shadescreen is recommended to reduce curly leaf virus (spread by a bug), and seems to help if you get it on early enough. We did have a volunteer tomato sprout in between rows, to which we added the water from the onions, after harvesting them, which is uncovered and doing great. Already picked a bunch of big ones for fried green maters (our first, they were good), and gave away a lot of them to friends for the same dish. Now it seems their biggest setback is sunburn, although I am sure the birds will decimate those when they start turning red. Our main row has shadescreen on top and birdscreen on the sides, and is producing mightily.

As previously stated, once it gets hot the plants stop setting fruit, but if you can nurse them through the summer (good luck) you may be eating them for Thanksgiving dinner, as they will keep flowering until they take, if healthy. If you have the virus, you may need to get a few new plants. I believe there is a GardenWeb forum for container gardening, and the folks at the Arizona Gardening forum may be helpful as well. Good luck, there is nothing better than a homegrown tomato, so don't give up!

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