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My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Posted by ScooBoo 7b (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 13:06

Hello: (sorry this is so long for my first post)

This is my first season growing tomatoes and peppers. I am not sure if my tomatoes are spent or diseased. I know of some people in my zone that have already pulled their plants for the season.

I am using 5 gal buckets and 4 were purchased from an independent nursery, 2 from Home Depot (Bonnie). The 4 were transplanted at the beginning of April, the 2 were transplanted mid-April.

The Lemon Boy was a Bonnie that looked very healthy and well fertilized when transplanted. Of the slicing tomatoes it set fruit first and ripened first. It had very good production and the fruit looked and tasted good, but it yellowed very quickly and died about 4+ weeks ago.

The Mortgage Lifter was a is a Bonnie. Good production and still has a good amount of fruit on the vine but it is starting to yellow and dry up within the past week.

I have a cherry tomato variety that I believe was mis-marked as a Sweet 100 but I think I identified it as a Tumbling Tom. Very good production over the season, but it yellowed and is nearly dead within the past 2 weeks.

The Better Boy, Brandywine, and Yellow Pear still look okay. I also have a Sun Gold and another Better Boy in another location (same zone) that are still looking good.

After the first month they were all fertilized with Miracle Grow once a week. I have battled aphids for most of the season and white flies only for the past week or so. I used a homemade insecticidal soap (water, alcohol, and Ivory soap) for them as needed.

I also planted some peppers and once I figured out what was eating them (Asiatic Garden Beetles) they are starting to make a comeback. I will get some production from a Poblano, Jalapeno, and 1 of 3 bell pepper varieties (2 may not produce anything.)

Also I have cuttings from the Tumbling Tom and Better Boy that I will transplant this week. Will I be able to get a harvest from these cuttings?

I have pics of all, but didn't know if I could post more than one pic per post.

Any help or info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Pretty much what mine look like after a huge production the last 2 months. I say they are spent in the dead areas. The plant is taking all of the nutrients for the top and letting the bottom leaves die off. Normal life cycle.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Looks like too much plant for a 5 gal. bucket, But who am I to argue with success? The size of your plants would make anyone around here envious.

This post was edited by carogator on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 16:08


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Did you mulch ?

Did you remove the lower branches close to soil ?

Did you remove the branches with leaves that have yellow / brown spots ?

Did you fungicide ?

After the first month they were all fertilized with Miracle Grow once a week..

I think it was too much fertilizer.

This post was edited by Daniel_NY on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 17:00


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

DBrown2351 - thanks for the assessment. I wasn't sure what it was doing.

carogator - it probably is too much plant for a 5 gal bucket. It was actually two vines together when I bought it. The cage that I made is 9 ft and the plant is another 1-2 ft above the top. Believe me, I am surprised as anyone that they turned out as well as they have.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Daniel_NY - They are mulched and the lower branches are not touching the soil.

I cut out the yellowed leaves and did a copper fungicide treatment on the Lemon Boy with no luck in saving it.

The Tumbling Tom dried and died too quick to do much of anything.

I will treat the Mortgage Lifter with the Copper fungicide just in case.

I started fertilizing at the beginning of June and the plants stayed green and had good production until about a week or two ago.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Seysonn wrote here:

> I do prune lower leaves to about 18" of the ground…

You wrote:

> … the lower branches are not touching the soil.

I didn’t ask you about branches that TOUCH the soil. My question was:

> Did you remove the lower branches CLOSE to soil ?

I prune to about 20 in. above soil to avoid splashing the leaves from rain that can bring diseases

> They are mulched…

What mulch did you use ?

> … and did a copper fungicide treatment on the Lemon Boy...

* A * copper ? You mean ONE TIME ?

And ONLY on the Lemon Boy ? Why not on ALL your plants ?

> I will treat the Mortgage Lifter with the Copper fungicide just in case.

It might be too late. You have to use fungicide from the day you transplant and on a regular basis - usually weekly or more often after a rain.

You wrote:

> After the first month they were all fertilized with Miracle Grow once a week.

> I started fertilizing at the beginning of June…

So from June till mid-August, you fertilized with Miracle Grow… WEEKLY ???

AGAIN, imho, it’s too much fertilizing for a too long period.

Btw, I would never use the synthetic fertilizer Miracle Gro. I prefer organic fertilizers such as Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer (Neptune's Harvest) and Big Bloom (FoxFarm).

> I cut out the yellowed leaves...

I see MANY wilted branches / leaves that I would remove.

> ...had good production until about a week or two ago.

Like how many pounds per plant ?

This post was edited by Daniel_NY on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 21:19


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

The OP couldn't reach to spray the top ;-)


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 19:48

You did well! Even with fungicide sprays from the start, they can still get infected. I like to use Chlorothalonil, it works well. Once fruit appears I also use copper. Half my plants are showing signs of problems. Still going and produced well. No complaints. the other half have no leaf problems. So using fungicide from the start does help. I mainly make sauce, and my sauce tomatoes are all well and still flowering and producing ripe tomatoes.
Peppers are a little tricky, but some are easy to grow. Bell peppers are hard. Try growing some italian types, they are sweet and easier to grow.

If watering with miracle grow cut down to 1/4 to 1/2 dose. I like to give a full dose once a month, so 4 1/4 doses a month. Well I use organic and soluble fertilizers. So I usually only give about 1/4 dose a month. I also use calcium nitrate, and control release fertilizer.
I doubt the cuttings will produce, but it can't hurt to try.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Drew51 wrote:

> You did well!

What do you mean ?

> I like to use Chlorothalonil, it works well… Half my plants are showing signs of problems.

For something that works WELL, I expect protection for... ALL my plants.

How do you explain that half is ok, while the other half is not ?

Can we see pictures of the two "halves" of your plants ?


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 21:46

Well it's not my thread, I can show some photos I have
The plant on the right has some yellowing on the bottom, also is a lighter green. Probably from being in a pot, it's dark, roots get hot. the others are in root pouches that breath better.
 photo 006-9.jpg

This one also has some yellowing.
 photo 003-8.jpg

Yields are decent though
 photo 001-10.jpg


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 21:52

Here's another view. The plants in the black pots are Carmine Jewel bush cherries. Then 2 potted tomatoes, the rest are in root pouches. That's Jesse the wonder dog keeping all forms of mammals away.
 photo 021.jpg

I have some in raised beds too. These are doing great!
 photo 017.jpg

Another view of the potted plants. Peppers in the foreground.
 photo 016-2.jpg


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 22:01

Another view of the raised beds. Tomatoes are in the left beds. The back bed is a raspberry patch. the caged plant, which cannot be seen is a blueberry plant that the robins would not leave alone.
 photo 017-3.jpg

The blueberry yields well!
 photo 001-12.jpg

One of 7 blueberry plants I have.
I grow raspberries of every color
 photo 017-2.jpg

This post was edited by Drew51 on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 22:18


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 22:02

Some daily harvest photos
 photo 002-11.jpg
 photo 002-10.jpg
Can't forget the peppers!
 photo peppers033.jpg


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Are those Smart Pots ? Love them. I also like those 2 biiig black pots. Nice yield too.

Looks like you don’t prune either. Welcome to the club !

This post was edited by Daniel_NY on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 22:10


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 22:13

OK, you caught me, I don't really have that bad of a problem. i was just trying to make Scooboo feel better!
I did start to prune, but it was too difficult! I gave up!
Pole bean 2 day harvest
 photo 001-9.jpg

The fall raspberry crop is just starting. I saved about 1/4 of the summer crop for cooking.
 photo 005-5.jpg

I also grow blackberries here's my plants
 photo 022-1.jpg

This post was edited by Drew51 on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 22:20


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 22:37

If you look you can see the plants are a deep green for the most part. Using organics in pots and in ground really work well. Keeping the soil rich though is tough. This year my beds went down 4 to even 6 inches as the organic material was used up. I have a lot of work ahead of me restoring the organic material. I also though like using soluble fertilizer at times. Calcium nitrate really boosts calcium levels quickly. Ammonium Sulfate not only acidifies the soil for blueberries, it feeds the nitrogen crazy plants. Also with seedlings it's easier for me to use soluble. The major difference is I keep the organic enviroment alive. I add fungi and bacteria with MycoGrow, and use Biota Max to add different bacteria. You can see, well in some photos everything is mulched too. I use pine straw. I can get it free.

So any damage using chemical is usually repaired with the amendments. I hardly use chemical, only when it works better for me. I feel in limited use it is beneficial.
I use all kinds of organics, I vary products a lot. Depends on needs of plant group.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

ajsmama - I know right! I have to break out the ladder if I want to do anything with them.

Drew51 - Wow! All of that looks good, so what you are doing works! I doubt I will ever get that ambitious, but that is a spread to aspire to.

Daniel_NY - I trimmed branches and leaves near the bottom but I doubt it is 18" from the soil. They are also mulched to stop some of the soil splashing up. It is cypress mulch and I have heard the lecture, so you can save the keystrokes. : )

I read where someone here rotated between copper fungicide, neem oil, and serenade on a weekly basis. I couldn't find the serenade, so I started rotating the copper and neem when I transplanted. Once the plants got so big and was going through the copper and neem, I stopped. I haven't used either in 6+ weeks.

The plant in the pic is the Mortgage Lifter that I have not cut out the yellow so I could post the problem here. The Lemon Boy was the one where I cut the yellow out and sprayed with copper and about a week after that with neem, but it steadily yellowed and died. I believe I was still spraying weekly at that point.

I just watered for the first month since the potting mix had compost (and peat and coir-peat), then in May I fertilized with a full dose of MG 10-10-10 weekly. When fruit started to set in late May I switched to MG Tomato Food 27-27-27 weekly. I used MG since I had the 10-10-10 on hand and it was something that I was familiar with. I may use organics next season.

I didn't weigh any of the fruit so I do not know how many pounds per plant, but I have ate myself silly, have about 12 pints frozen and have given lots away to several family, friends, and neighbors.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Drew, please provide links to the products that you use...


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

I agree with what DBrown said. The plant in the middle is tired and spent because probably,it is not getting NEEDED water and nutrients. In a 5 gal. bucket in zone 7B GA, probably it would need to be watered twice a day and fertilized every other day ( 1/4 to 1/3 strength). I know, I have gardened in zone 7B in GA for many years.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

  • Posted by Drew51 5b/6a SE MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 6:30

I was trained as a lab rat (medical technologist) So I'm a little anal. Some of these products are cheap, not sure they do all that, but the combination of things seems to work. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Biota Max: Read benfits tab, not just for lawns

MycoGrow : Best Mycorrhazae product out there.
Organic fertilizers, I use the Espona products or Dr Earth. If you buy enough products on Amazon, shipping is free. Also they now have the Amazon smile program, where .5% of purchase price is donated to the charity of your choice.
Micro life is an excellent product out of TX, but it is expensive to ship. I got it on sale. I mostly wanted the azalea product for my blueberries. Another very good organic fertilizer Grow More
Worm castings are essential- free shipping.
Root pouches are great. They are inexpensive, allow for air pruning which means a 30 gallon root pouch gives roots as much room as a 60 gallon pot! You can see my plants are greener in them. All plants get the same water, fertilizer, etc, the only difference is the container.
I also like to use alfalfa meal, high nitrogen, cheap, free shipping
I like to use a control release fertilizer as insurance. Dynamite is the best, lasts 9 months. Has micronutrients. Cheapest place I could find, large amount! They do make an OMRI Certified Organic form (expensive), but I use this the regular sttuff.
Daniel thanks for the liquid fertilizer products, I could use them to replace soluble. Also could you show me the html codes to do the links. my posts would look neater!

This post was edited by Drew51 on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 9:09


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

ScooBoo, I didn’t think my ADVICE you'll interpret as LECTURE…

Drew, tx for the linx. I’ll check them one by one.

The HTML code is:

< b >< a href="URL" >TEXT< /a >< /b >

Remove the blank spaces before and after < and >.

If you want to quote in Italic, the code is:

> < i >< /i >

As above, remove the blank spaces before and after < and >..

I suggest you to edit your post. It would really look neater.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Daniel_NY - I appreciate your advice, the lecture comment was about the cypress mulch. I have already seen someone here or on another site lecture someone else about not using cypress mulch, so I didn't need to read it again.

seysonn - thanks, I'll see what I can do with it for the rest of the season.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

ScooBoo, can we see a picture of your plant NOW, and what steps did you / plan to take to fix the problem ?

This post was edited by Daniel_NY on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 11:41


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Daniel_NY - I cut out the dead spots as best I could and plan on taking seysonn's suggestion of watering twice per day, fertilizing at 1/3 strength every other day. I also sprayed with copper and will alternate with neem next week.

I have about 20 tomatoes on the vine now, so if I can keep this alive until they ripen I'll be happy.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Looks good ! Hopefully you'll be lucky...

Remove IMMEDIATELY leaves with yellow / brown spots, but do NOT remove new suckers; they will feed your tomato fruits.

I would continue spraying copper instead of changing to neem oil, but digdirt says it's ok to alternate fungicides... He knows a lot, so most likely he's right.


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

ScooBoo, how's the tomato going ?

I'm also wondering if it's not too late for a foliar feeding ?

This post was edited by Daniel_NY on Tue, Aug 26, 14 at 19:56


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RE: My First Time Growing Tomatoes. Are They Spent or Diseased?

Daniel_NY - The plant is hanging in there, no new dead spots since I cleaned it up and started watering and feeding more. Of the 20+ tomatoes that I had on the vine about half of those became ripe enough to pick this week, so I have about 10+ left on the vine. Thanks


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