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Old July 25, 2008   #1
Tomatovator
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Default Check out these pictures. What is going wrong?

These pictures are of the leaves on my plants in Earth boxes. They look like they have been sprayed with black or purple paint (they have not been) and are curling. Any idea what is going wrong and how I can fix it?
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Old July 25, 2008   #2
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Default Here's a couple more pictures...

These were taken in natural light.
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Old July 25, 2008   #3
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Hmmmm...

Let me ask you a very important question before replying....

Is this ocurring predominately on new foliage or old foliage? (ie. bottom of plant or top of plant)

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Old July 25, 2008   #4
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Lee,
It is everywhere sort of random. There are some leaves that are not affected at all. The new growth has it as does the older leaves. If you look at the pic of the entire plants you can see where the tops look stunted a little with very small leaves. Also it is primarily affecting the earth box tomatoes. The ones in the homemade containers look pretty good.
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Old July 25, 2008   #5
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A couple of thoughts: sometimes temperature fluctuation will cause very young plants to show purple leaves. By this time of year that should not be a problem. Perhaps there is a fertilization balance problem. Something like a 10-10-10 or one of the very low nitrogen higher P and K liquid fertilizers used sparingly would help. I don't think you would need or want more N. If you have had lots of rain maybe they need feeding. Do you feed your lawn or use a weed killer and some of the lawn food or weed killer has gotten into the tomato growing medium. I see tomatoes on some of the plants, how about blossoms? Has all the energy gone into fruit production and the plants are beginning to show stress?

My best guess is that there is a nutrient balance problem that a bit of fertilization would help.
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Old July 25, 2008   #6
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See my reply to your thread in the General Discussion
section about phosphorus. That bronze color on that one
leaf could be a potassium deficiency symptom, too, but
the Bonide kelp should have mitigated that (kelp has more
potassium than any other major nutrient).

I had something similar looking on an Earl's Faux plant when
I first planted out into the garden. I made a tea of kelp,
alfalfa meal, comfrey, and chickweed, tablespoon of each
in a quart of hot tap water, let it soak overnight, strained
it into a gallon jug and added a tablespoon of fish emulsion,
a tablespoon of mollasses, and a teaspoon of humic acid
solution (chelating agent, mainly), filled up the rest of the
gallon with water, mixed well, and sprayed it all over the
plant until the leaves dripped. I poured the rest of the gallon
around the roots. That fixed it.

You may not have all of that stuff, but you do have the kelp,
and you probably have the molasses. You could try some clover
and/or chickweed from out in your yard in a blender with some
hot water (strain before using) to substitute for the other stuff
if you don't feel like chasing down the other ingredients. (You
probably would not need all of them anyway. I just had them
on hand already, so I could cover a lot of possibilities with one
mix.)

Your plants look pretty big, so I don't know if the nitrogen in
the fish emulsion would really be needed, but fish emulsion
does have quite a number of trace elements in it. (Maybe
cut that back from a tablespoon to a teaspoon per gallon
if you add that.)
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Old July 25, 2008   #7
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Quote:
If you look at the pic of the entire plants you can see where the tops look stunted a little with very small leaves.
Hard for me to see this really, but I don't like the sound of
this description.... between that and the last two photos
you posted, I'm going to guess Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus...


Let's hope I'm wrong and the others are right on in their
assesment.
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Old July 25, 2008   #8
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I have to agree with Lee. Looks like TSWV to me, too. I usually find it on newer foliage first.
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Old July 25, 2008   #9
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I ran out and bought some Alaska Fish Fertilizer and sprayed the plants today. I used 1/2 Tablespoon to 48 oz. water. If it is TSWV I don't think spraying this stuff wil make it any worse. By the way, about a week ago I added Lime to the water resevoir as several fruits had BER. Could this be a negative reaction to the lime? The main reason I think this is some sort of environmental problem or nutrient deficiency is that I have 16 plants in the ground about 30 feet away from these EB toms and they are fine. If it is TSWV how long will it take to wipe out the plants completely? Will I know in a week or a month? One of the affected plants has been showing these symptoms for about 5 weeks now but it keeps setting fruits and growing. Could it be physiological leaf roll?
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Old July 25, 2008   #10
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If it's TSWV, I can't tell you how long it'll take to kill the plants. When I find an infected plant in my garden, I yank it ASAP. Do you see any bull's eye type rings on any ripe fruit or deformed fruit with spots on it?
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Old July 25, 2008   #11
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Michele
The fruits did have some suffering with BER but that is pretty common in an Earthbox. I pull those when they are small. Only 4 of my 22 plants have this condition with the leaves. One is a Paul Robeson and it is loaded up with about 12 tennis ball sized tomatoes (and some smaller ones too). They look good. Another of the plants is a Neves Azorean Red. It has 3 really big toms at the bottom probably 14 oz. each and 6 or 8 golfball sized toms they also look good. The other 2 are hybrids, Steak Sandwich and Supersonic. They were the most affected with BER so I pulled about 10 toms from each plant a week ago or so. They are setting fruits as of today and the new ones are round and blemish free. No signs of deformed fruits on any of these plants yet.
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Old July 25, 2008   #12
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Well, let's hope it's not TSWV and your plants recover.
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Old July 26, 2008   #13
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Assuming that the lime was added to the reservoir in
moderation (a few tablespoons full rather than a few
cups full), I doubt that would have anything to do with
this problem. Lime breaks down slowly anyway.

If you had added huge amounts of lime for the amount
of soil in the containers, that could raise the pH so far
that phosphorus combines with calcium in the soil
and forms insoluble dicalcium phosphate, inducing a
phosphorus defiency. The plants would seem to stop
growing, too, if that were the case.
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Old July 26, 2008   #14
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PS: I had a few runty little plants with leaves on the top
that looked like yours this year. A couple of them were so
twisted up that I pulled them, and they had tiny little root
systems after 6 weeks in the ground (no wonder they were
small). Virus, herbicide drift, something in the soil, who
knows.

A few I left growing, and I did spray them with a
high-phosphorus blossom booster, wondering if
the problem was phosphorus deficiency, perhaps
induced by an especially suboptimal soil pH in
their locations.

The leaves did not untwist, and all that seemed to happen
was that they developed nice, healthy-looking flowers
on these tiny plants. I also tried compost tea, kelp+ tea, etc.
Lately I have been spraying them with a chelated mineral
solution and a mix of fish and Morbloom on alternate weekends.
They have put on a little growth, but they never really recovered
from what seemed at first to be a negative reaction to cold, wet
soil in early summer. They have fruit set (that looks normal
sized on the first one to set), but I don't think I will be saving
seeds from any of those stunted plants (could still be a plant
virus, possibly seed-borne).

There are not-stunted plants with no twisted up top growth
right beside them in the same bed that look completely normal
in every way, in some cases even the same cultivar as one of the
runty, twisted ones.
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Last edited by dice; July 27, 2008 at 01:05 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old July 27, 2008   #15
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Well, at this point I am becoming convinced that the plants have TSWV or some sort of ailment. All 6 plants are showing the same symptoms at different stages. The good new is that they are far enough away from my main tomato bed that the condition really can't spread anywhere else. I'm going to let them go just to see how long it takes for them to go down completely and to see if I get any ripe tomatoes from them before they do. They all have some full sized green tomatoes on them so why not wait a few more weeks to see what happens... Thanks for all the replies.
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