Tomato problems

My tomatoes have some sort of disease. It's affecting Early Girl and Super Sweet 100 tomatoes and the symptoms are that the interior leaves yellow, then brown and die. The green leaves curl. The plants have lost vigor and drop fruit or produce poor-tasting fruit that ought to be bursting with flavor. Leaves in a late-intermediate state of failure show green on the veins and yellow creeping in from the edges giving way to brown. Yellowed leaves have holes, perhaps indicating predation, but there's not huge numbers of critters on the plants. Both of these plants came in from the local nursery, instead of being grown from seed as my later plants have been.

There are some aphids, but not in overwhelming numbers, so I think that's a result of the plants' weakened states. I'd put a picture up, but my crappy Samsung camera refuses to turn on due to low batteries, even though the batteries ought to be fresh.

These symptoms are consistent with fusarium and verticillium wilts, except the curled leaves. However, both hybrids Early Girl and Sweet 100 ought to have F and V resistance. Neither has T (Tobacco Mosaic virus) resistance.

I didn't pay too much attention to it, but the problem started before I left for Germany. Now that it has my attention, I've decided to take action by purging the plants.

The tomato problem solver suggests alternaria canker.


  1. Tomatoes can be problematic. Did you use the same area to grow tomatoes in previous years? Were they overwatered in your absence? And what "style" are you using to plant and train them? Replanting in the same area will yield the same results. Bringing in City or County mulch/compost can add to the problem, too. If the compost/mulch contains chipped wood from painted or coasted cabinets or Myoporum (a common groundcover) or residue from grass/weed killers you've wasted your time and poisoned your soil. Best to use compost made from your own kitchen clippings and leaves from your trees. I assume you are trying to grow organically.

    Here's a few tips:

    First, from your existing plants, remove and destroy the yellow and brown leaves and stems by clipping and clean those clippers before moving on to other vegetables (dip them in a bleach solution or wipe down with rubbing alcohol). Do not put bad tomato leaves in your compost pile. Do not put you bad tomato fruit in the compost pile. Do not put destroyed tomato plants in your compost pile. Put them in the trash.

    Do not replant tomatoes or other plants of the nightshade family in the same place as your "bad" tomatoes....for 3 seasons. So, don't plant eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, etc. in that spot.

    You can amend the soil, I would recommend Gropower 5-3-1 at twice the dosage because you are using it as a soil conditioner. Forget using any other product like gromulch or bagged products from Home Depot. Top the Gropower with Alfalfa hay and let sit until autumn (late September/early October) and turn over and plant the bed with cabbage or brussell sprouts, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choi, etc.

    Come on by and see my garden. I don't work for or have any association with Gropower or Alfalfa growers but I do grow a successful vegetable garden that provides all the fruit and vegetables that are eaten by my family...year round. Except carrots. I am a failure at carrots. Any suggestions?

  2. I think it's early blight.

    An informative web page is here:

    I'm guilty of using the same place to grow tomatoes several years in a row. I don't have a better or equivalent spot.

    One possible vector is the wood chip mulch that I purchased from Home Despot - it could have contained fungal spores.

    I used to put some significance on the fact that my nursery starts succumbed first. It turns out that this was probably because they were first in the soil. Celebrity (one of the nursery starts) had set fruit before the worst of it hit, so I've had a decent yield from it, but little to nothing from the others (Sweet 100 and Early Girl).

    My plants from seed (Sun Gold, one I forget, and Green Zebra) seemed to show greater resistance, however I think they will eventually all succumb. Until recently Green Zebra was the only blight-free plant, but I have noticed that it too was showing signs.

    No City or County mulch was used - I compost my own garden trimmings and kitchen debris, so that wasn't a factor.

    I was thinking that I might try to solarize the soil beneath a plastic sheet at the end of summer. I'd then plant a cover crop which I'd mulch in place. I'm not sure about that yet, so your suggestion to plant cruciferous vegetables intrigues. Why those?

    I'll give thought to using another location as well.

    This URL:

    Has reasonable information on early blight (except for the whole fungicides thing).

    Finally, I'd like to see your garden, but you haven't left me a link.