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Old June 17, 2022   #16
paradajky
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Also, these plants are supposed to be single-vine and trained to strings, but I'm leaving suckers and forks for now in hopes it'll help eat up excess nitrogen faster.
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Old June 17, 2022   #17
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I do the same.
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Old June 18, 2022   #18
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Our New Virginia Governor has put forward many Programs with the Funding for me to help Farmers like you, from my Native American farming secrets. But that funding is not for my City of Hampton farmers like me, who use Extraordinary Skills to Farm in a City. Maybe a Virginia Farmer will see this Post and Invite me to be a part of them to get the funding as I need help without the money for Staff. I would have to made sure Native Americans would not mine giving away they farming secrets. But putting their Clinmet changes ways of Organic farming will be safe under our New Governor new programs that he backed-up with the needed funding. This Bill have Native
Americans Farmers all over it. Someone in Hampton will help me starting Monday that is a Blessing. If I was you for next year: you need to lat your land rest where you used all that Fertilizer and relocate your garden and have your dirt tested.
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Old June 18, 2022   #19
KarenO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paradajky View Post
7.2. A wee bit high, but I don't think it's the cause, thanks for the idea nonetheless!

“ this time”

I think maybe you are overthinking and over correcting problems that may not really be problems. :
Taiga is a droopy potato leaf heart the leaves sometimes form almost spirals.
Just let things grow is my advice.
It’s just the middle of June.
KarenO


I hope you are right, I will listen to you this time When this happened first two years ago, it took 4-6 weeks (maybe even 8, I don't remember) for the plant to return to normal, and even then, the fruit had poor texture. That was a grow bag, and I was watering daily, but I think the issue was that the mixture was channeling water so water wasn't getting where it should've been going to flush out the nitrogen. This time, they are in buckets. But, I'm letting it water from bottom up now, rather than top down, I think that's what caused this issue. Some leaves in a couple plants are beginning to look normal I hope. The taiga however, which is what I'm most looking forward to, looks a bit different now.. leaves are okay, but they are a bit droppy and the edge of them are curling inwards. I'm guessing I may have water-logged that mix early on, maybe I should drill holes in the side of the bucket to let it air out a bit (there are drainage holes in the bottom).


If this year turns out to be a bust, that'll be 3 years in a row.. maybe I should throw in the towel and wait until I have a house with an actual yard.
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Old June 18, 2022   #20
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My advice is to just let the plant grow. Tomato plants aren’t computer programs that you change the inputs and quickly get different outputs. They’re alive and adaptive, and also sensitive to changes in their environment.

Continuing to adjust fertilizer levels and pH is a recipe for disaster, especially if you aren’t able to precisely measure what those levels are. Gathering all the knowledge about growing tomatoes is hard. Gaining the patience required is even harder.
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Old June 20, 2022   #21
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What ever you decide to do: It's always good to let a family member learn of your problems if you decide to eat these tomatoes the plants produces. Please us plenty of water to wash as much of your Chemicals away every day. Your plant will tell you if it safe to eat. By cutting away the affected areas seeing the new replacements growing regularly without any problems should be a good sign.
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Old June 20, 2022   #22
paradajky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenO View Post
I think maybe you are overthinking and over correcting problems that may not really be problems. :
Taiga is a droopy potato leaf heart the leaves sometimes form almost spirals.
Oh, thank you for that regarding Taiga! I repotted my second, trooper plant which I accidentally beheaded a while back, and it is looking similar to Taiga. I don't think this one is hit with the excess nitrogen symptoms.

In response to

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshreter View Post
My advice is to just let the plant grow. (snip)
Continuing to adjust fertilizer levels and pH is a recipe for disaster, especially if you aren’t able to precisely measure what those levels are. Gathering all the knowledge about growing tomatoes is hard. Gaining the patience required is even harder.
and

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenO View Post
Just let things grow is my advice.
It’s just the middle of June.
It's really tough not to have a strong reaction to try to fix things quickly primarily because this has already happened to me before and waiting didn't make things better, and second, yes it's just june but I have limited time for sun given my circumstances - my neighbor's house will begin blocking the afternoon sun sometime in August as its trajectory changes into the second half of the year. This means I'm just barely going to get some tomatoes to enjoy. This is partly my fault having begun so late. This ultimately becomes a proof of concept for me and another lesson, to determine whether it makes sense to try again next year.

Working with the plants is a lot like navigating a big, slow boat. The results aren't immediate, and you have to kind of work with the flow.

I let things progress two years ago to see what would happen, and, it took 6 weeks or so to fix, and then the tomatoes weren't very good (mealy, some BER, low production, etc). 6 weeks puts me into August.

Attached pictures for laughs.. Start F1 tomato has begun exhibiting the leaf-stem curl now, previously it was one which I hadn't top-watered, so I'm guessing the roots have hit the tomato-tone fertilizer ring. Second photo is a more extreme result from Marzano Fire, probably due to its whispy nature. This one is sadly the most impacted of the bunch. The others are more mild now, thankfully.

Third image shows the limited space I'm working in for perspective, just put up the trellis, too I really ought to only be growing one or two determinate tomato plants, not 3 dozen tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplants hah.

The good news, I think some are beginning to show better. It's probably too late to try to repot them now and I'm getting lazy so at this point, I'll come back with an update in a few weeks hopefully positive For now, I have battle to do with hornworms, picked 8 of them last night and found 15 more eggs this morning wtf.

Thanks again for the help and advices!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg start f1 curl.jpg (178.9 KB, 108 views)
File Type: jpg marzano fire.jpg (187.9 KB, 109 views)
File Type: jpg trellis.jpg (136.2 KB, 107 views)

Last edited by paradajky; June 20, 2022 at 11:03 AM.
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Old June 23, 2022   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paradajky View Post
Oh, thank you for that regarding Taiga! I repotted my second, trooper plant which I accidentally beheaded a while back, and it is looking similar to Taiga. I don't think this one is hit with the excess nitrogen symptoms.

In response to



and



It's really tough not to have a strong reaction to try to fix things quickly primarily because this has already happened to me before and waiting didn't make things better, and second, yes it's just june but I have limited time for sun given my circumstances - my neighbor's house will begin blocking the afternoon sun sometime in August as its trajectory changes into the second half of the year. This means I'm just barely going to get some tomatoes to enjoy. This is partly my fault having begun so late. This ultimately becomes a proof of concept for me and another lesson, to determine whether it makes sense to try again next year.

Working with the plants is a lot like navigating a big, slow boat. The results aren't immediate, and you have to kind of work with the flow.

I let things progress two years ago to see what would happen, and, it took 6 weeks or so to fix, and then the tomatoes weren't very good (mealy, some BER, low production, etc). 6 weeks puts me into August.

Attached pictures for laughs.. Start F1 tomato has begun exhibiting the leaf-stem curl now, previously it was one which I hadn't top-watered, so I'm guessing the roots have hit the tomato-tone fertilizer ring. Second photo is a more extreme result from Marzano Fire, probably due to its whispy nature. This one is sadly the most impacted of the bunch. The others are more mild now, thankfully.

Third image shows the limited space I'm working in for perspective, just put up the trellis, too I really ought to only be growing one or two determinate tomato plants, not 3 dozen tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplants hah.

The good news, I think some are beginning to show better. It's probably too late to try to repot them now and I'm getting lazy so at this point, I'll come back with an update in a few weeks hopefully positive For now, I have battle to do with hornworms, picked 8 of them last night and found 15 more eggs this morning wtf.

Thanks again for the help and advices!
You have very good Pictures. I pray that my opinion of you telling a family member did not alert you or make you sad, or upset. Amen!! This communication fto a Caregivers is so important, It was put in a Bill in Congress.

Tomato Plants is the only plants that can be Transferred or Transplanted with no dirt on the roots system in most all cases. In Emergency situation, you can also soak your plant in water for 30 minutes before transplanting them. Since I am a Organic Farmer, please try some of my Ideals before pulling or destroying your Tomato plants. You can also get your soil Tested as well. Everyone is somewhere else and I hope I did not hurt anyone feeling. My Husband and I are very Nice People, and we Love Everyone; even if we have to forgive them everyday.
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Last edited by MrsJustice; June 23, 2022 at 10:40 PM. Reason: Dyslexia
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Old June 29, 2022   #24
paradajky
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Incoming long post :p

I'm now back after a little over 1 week away. I spent down-time during travel researching this on the internet, and propose the following:
1. With certainty, the plants are stressed
2. Most likely issue: too much nitrogen
3. Less likely issue: medium is too water logged
4. Less likely issue: herbicide damage (i.e. "auxin")
5. Ruled out: curly top disease (all plants alive, not dead)

The good news, I seem to have many tomatoes, many blooms, no blossom drop, and no BER (yet).

Going to continue to update this thread as nothing more than future info for anyone who stumbles into this thread later. FWIW, I don't think there's a way to fix the situation at this point without a lot of work, which I don't have time for (e.g. bare-root the plants, etc). In retrospect, I probably should've quickly bare-rooted the plants, tossed the upper portion with fertilizer, and skipped the lowe's aged/composted steer manure. It's possible the ground cover bark or the sunshine #4 moss had some lingering herbicide, as they were not listed organic/omri.

Current status:
- twisting of new branches/leaves/stems continues
- a couple show extreme twisting at terminal point
- mature leaves unwind, and mostly point down
- thick, vigorous vine growth
- plenty of blooms
- many early nubby tomatoes, no signs of BER (yet?)

Here's the official 2022 planting history from my notes:
- seeds planted April 18, 2022 into 100% natural granulated DE medium
- transplanted May 14 into 4" pots with Sunshine #4 mix (lowe's version of promix)
- transplanted June 4 to final 5 gallon buckets that is made of 3 parts sunshine #4, 2 parts Gardener's/Kellog brand groundcover bark, 1 part perlite, 1/2 part aged steer manure from lowe's, 1.5 cups espoma dolomite lime (omri), and ring of 3-4 cups espoma tomato tone (omri) put near top, and buckets set onto rain-gutter grow system (variation of a SIP, self watering container, etc)
- June 20, I dug in 1/4cup espoma acidifier (sulpher) to half the plants (the duplicates of what I'm growing) as a test

Quick history:

The mix is based on Raybo's earthtainer measured to 5 gallon buckets. In 2021, I used that exact mix, with no steer manure. The plants struggled, and I had to supplement with fast-acting fertilizer. After watching several Larry Hall videos, I decided to add the steer manure (it's aged/composted according to the bag) and increase the fertilizer by one cup. In research, I have discovered the earthbox folks don't recommend using manure, as it may interfere with wicking component.

I first tried growing tomatoes in 2020, after spending time in 2019 researching, sewing some bags from weed barrier cloth to fit into some painfully holed buckets. These tomatoes grew well, but several of them exhibited similar characteristics I'm seeing now: thick vines, twisted flush growth. Other signed included mustant growth (stems forming from flowers, and flower forming at stem ends), few blooms, blossom drop, 50% BER, and mealy textured fruit. I actually think part of the problem in 2020 was the result of my medium of choice (3-1-1 bark, peat, perlite), which dried out quickly in the small 4-5 gallon buckets that were lined with weed barrier cloth, and that ultimately led to channeling and so insufficient/poor watering.

2021 was a disaster year for me, nothing at my house grew more than 1-2 ft tall and died. The above mentioned buckets of 2021 were done at family's house as an experiment.


Back to 2022. At final transplant June 4th, the seedlings were 4-6" tall. Today, 3.5 weeks later, they are about 2.5 ft tall, with very thick vines for such a young age.

The research leads me to believe the plants are exhibiting extreme "epinasty", which is caused by stress of sorts. According to a WG/houzz posting, epinasty is caused by plant stress. Symptoms include twisted stems that grow out to point downward. I found multiple other people on the internet posting to places like reddit, having similar symptoms, if one searches for "tomato epinasty" or "twisted tomatoes".

Stress can be induced by herbicide. This is often the first thing anyone suggests, as apparently, tomatoes are highly sensitive to herbicide, even a trace amount sprayed by a neighbor that gets blown by can impact the plant. However, from what I've read, the plants might not recover, and the growth ends up very poor. That's not happening here, so I'm tempted to rule this out, but not quite yet.

Another cause of stress may be water logged soil, which leads to excessive ethylene gas, which results in twisted growth. Certainly possible, given the high-peat based medium, and the self-watering system. I measured this with my moisture meter, and get strange results.. some buckets show dry, others show wet, and a couple show moist. No correlation between intensity of twisting. Additionally, if this were the case, then I would think we'd see a lot more people having this kind of issue who grow in containers with a thick medium like peat.

Too much nitrogen can also cause stress and similar sypmtoms, according to U Missouri. In fact, the description matches exactly what I experienced in 2020. "The most likely causes are nitrogen being too high and potassium being too low. Nitrogen should be in the range of 4 to 5.5% in the leaf tissue. High nitrogen will also cause missed flower clusters (flower abortion), vegetative shoots at the ends of flower clusters, and a curling under or "balling up" of the tops of plants." In this case, I'm seeing the curling, but so far, no bloom drop and it'll be another 4-6 weeks before any tomatoes are ripe to tell how the texture is. I can try to take a sample from some buckets and send in for a soil test.. it costs $75 to do it, but I'm not sure how to get the soil, how deep to go in the bucket, and how not to destroy roots in the process. I may leave this for the end, to see whether I should reuse this soil next year. This post here on reddit is pretty clear to the excessive fertilization issue, and similar to what I experienced in 2021.

What I wonder is whether other forms of stress can cause such growth? My plants are in the area that gets most sun, and, there are glass railings at the patios above which reflect down and cause strong sunlight pockets for a couple hours mid-day. The plants do "wilt" during this time, and seem to show the curling worst in the afternoon, while early morning they appear much healthier and on the road to recovery. Note, I cannot move the tomatoes from this place.

That's what I've got now. I've got more pictures, but have to get to work, will upload later. For purposes of documentation and in the hopes it helps someone in the future, I'll update this thread as anything interesting develops.

Last edited by paradajky; June 29, 2022 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
paradajky
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Two more observations I forgot to bring up in the long post:
- prior flower sets were showing up every 3rd leaf branch, a couple were after ever 2nd
- some flowers had extra leaf growth from the stem (see photo)

On July 3rd and this last weekend, I top watered with half-dilution Agrothrive fruit and flower. Today, 7/11, now 5 weeks past transplant, the tomato plants appear to be overcoming the issue, and a few tomatoes have become shiny, which means color change and ripeness, woohoo! There has been some blossom drop, mostly on Amalfi, followed by Benevento, fortunately, nothing else. No BER. Flower sets now appear after every one or two branches. Yay! I really hope those first fruits have good texture and not mealy.

Plants are approaching 4ft, near the top of my trellis system. I'm a little worried whether lower-n-lean is going to work given how thick the lower vines are, not flexible at all. Eeep, gonna be a mess. Any tips?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg leaf from flower.jpg (118.6 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg beginning to look normal.jpg (83.5 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg beginning to look normal 2.jpg (160.7 KB, 46 views)
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #26
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Some good and bad news, now 7 weeks out.

  • some BER on a few of the tomatoes, picture shown is worst of the bunch, others are less impacted
  • the Benevento and Amalfi Orange tomatoes have a lot of blossom drop, and no tomatoes beyond the first flower tier. The first flower tier tomatoes are large and looking great so far, and if the latest blooms drop I am considering just topping these and taking them out to make space (and will try again next year, correcting the soil mistakes)
  • my first tomato to begin color change is maglia rosa! 49 days from potting
  • several of the maglia rosa fruits in this setup appear to be much larger than what I see in the pictures of its thread here; the ones growing on my patio (not pictured) are closer to what I see in the thread - taiga has not had any blossom drop and continues to set fruit; the first fruit is giant and I think it was due to a fused blossom

My conclusion is now leaning towards what was earlier concluded by others more knowledgeable, the steer manure is to blame, and not my fertilizer ring.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg maglia rosa.jpg (196.5 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg mega taiga.jpg (93.1 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg mega amalfi.jpg (83.3 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg BER example.jpg (98.3 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg BER example 2.jpg (120.8 KB, 25 views)
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