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lakngulf
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Worth a Try

The past three years have been tough on me with tomato wilt. I have come to the conclusion that the roots of my tomatoes should not touch the existing garden soil. So how do I accomplish this? Black Nursery Pots?

This is what the plants look like as they are wilting away. They start off great, grow strong, put on lots of beautiful fruit, and then I guess the roots find the fungus, it shuts off their water supply, and they wilt away.
[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/2011_001_Greenhouse/IMG_0084.jpg[/img]

This is what I picked today off three plants that I pulled up.
[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/2011_001_Greenhouse/IMG_0081.jpg[/img]

So, maybe container planting will work. But it is HOT in Alabama and I want the containers to be in the ground a bit, so as to keep the pot temp down. I also do not want the roots of the tomato plant to "escape" the safety of the new dirt in the pot. So, I came up with the idea of putting some black plastic under each pot.

(1) I dug holes large enough for the 7-gallon pots, with a trench from each hole so the pots would not sit in water that is caught in the black plastic
(2) Placed the plastic double strenght under the pot, and ran it down the trench for the excess water to escape
[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/2011_001_Greenhouse/IMG_0087.jpg[/img]

(4) Placed pot in hole, and pulled the dirt around it.
[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/2011_001_Greenhouse/IMG_0091.jpg[/img]


We will see. This is a hot season for us, and the plants may find issues other than the fungus to deal with. Also, this defeats the idea of drip irrigation. But it is worth a try.
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

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gixxerific
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Is it worth a try? YES.

But will it work I don't think so. If the problem is in the soil that plastic isn't going to stop anything unless you totally isolate the pots fro the virgin soil. Those roots will find their way around that plastic. I know that is your tomato spot but maybe you need to move to a diff spot for a while. Or remove all the soil and start over.

I hope I'm wrong and good luck.

Dono

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lakngulf
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gixxerific wrote:I know that is your tomato spot but maybe you need to move to a diff spot for a while. Or remove all the soil and start over.
I hope I'm wrong and good luck. Dono
Actually, this spot was newly created last year for tomatoes. I put new top soil in the boxes, and was very successful with the crop last year. I have been able to get more than one year of tomatoes from new soil, so this year I placed about 8 inches on top of what was there and planted the maters. It did not work.

I will probably remove the soil this winter
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tedln
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I don't think you have a problem with your soil. I have plants sometimes that look like yours and they simply wilted in the hot, hot sun. They were not getting enough moisture. Thats one of the problems raised bed gardeners like you and me face. Water drops out of the raised soil quickly unless the bottom is sealed. If you decide to pull anymore plants, do it when they first start wilting and place them in large pots and water them well. You might want to set the pots in an area that only has morning or afternoon sun. See if they recover any with the additional moisture.

I also don't understand your statement that planting the plants in pots defeats your plans to use drip irrigation. I'm using drip irrigation on a few pots this year and they are doing better than most plants in my beds.

I'm using soaker hoses in my beds with good results, but even with soaker hoses; you don't get even distribution of water. The corners of the beds tend to be very, very dry while the inside of the beds stays moist. The water from the hoses simply moves straight down faster than it moves to the sides and corners of the beds.

I'm growing some beautiful hibiscus plants in large pots with flowers planted around the edge of the pots. I have two drip emmiters in each pot. The water in the pots goes straight down and out of the pots leaving the edges of the pots dry. The hibiscus in the center of the pots is doing great. The flowers around the edges struggle. I'm even using potting soil in the pots which is supposedly moisture retentive.

Ted
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lakngulf
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tedln wrote:I don't think you have a problem with your soil. I have plants sometimes that look like yours and they simply wilted in the hot, hot sun. They were not getting enough moisture. Ted
I wish that was the case. If anything, my plants get too much water. And plants side by side, one is doing great, the other one wilts.
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

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applestar
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How much compost are you making/using? I wonder if you could turn around your soil health with good compost. (Think of it as probiotics for the soil -- Picture Jamie Lee Curtis holding up a bucketful and praising it with her perky voice.... :lol:)

Have you read Teaming with Microbes or at least the Book Club Forum threads for that book?

You may also find this interesting. I was intrigued, though my budget didn't allow me to get any this year. 8)
https://www.mainepotatolady.com/product ... ategory=62

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lakngulf
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applestar wrote:You may also find this interesting. I was intrigued, though my budget didn't allow me to get any this year. 8)
https://www.mainepotatolady.com/product ... ategory=62
I may give donate $20 to see if that works. Maybe try in on one area. I had mentioned to my wife that Auburn University or some other land-grant college should study this stuff and come up with a solution that would protect the soil and be enviromentally friendly. Maybe someone already has. I will do some research on this product.

As to compost, I try to bring in fresh soil from some farmland that has been "manured", I mean "matured".

Worth a Try II

The tomato in the first picture on the OP has more wilted leaves, as do two other plants. As the leaves wilt you can see that each vine is loaded with nice size tomatoes. I picked the fruit from three plants on Sunday, but I am trying to leave the fruit on these other plants as long as possible. With our hot days I was concerned about the direct heat on the green tomatoes, with no leaves to protect. So, this morning, I placed some black nursery cloth over the tomato basket to offer a little shade to the plants. Another "worth a try" I guess. The goal is to help them ripen on the vine without getting burnt by the sun.
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

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soil
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so one plant grows fine and the other next to it dies? doesn't sound like a soil problem to me.

what does the root system look like when you pull up the plant.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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lakngulf
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soil wrote:so one plant grows fine and the other next to it dies? doesn't sound like a soil problem to me.

what does the root system look like when you pull up the plant.
Just like some plants in another area last year. The roots are healthy looking, with runners everywhere. I have been told the reason one dies then another is determined by when the roots of a particular plant get to the affect area.

I would love to know it was not the soil, but something I was doing.
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

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gixxerific
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The only way to know it was the soil is to get it tested. Which can usually be done pretty cheaply by you local Ag center.

You might be wise to run this route. Your soil may be bad or it could be good. Though it is as you know right to rotate crops especially ones like tomatoes that can spread bad things in the soil.

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lakngulf
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gixxerific wrote:Is it worth a try? YES.

But will it work I don't think so. If the problem is in the soil that plastic isn't going to stop anything unless you totally isolate the pots fro the virgin soil. Those roots will find their way around that plastic. I know that is your tomato spot but maybe you need to move to a diff spot for a while. Or remove all the soil and start over.

I hope I'm wrong and good luck.

Dono
Well, you were right

[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/July_2011/IMG_0141.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i854.photobucket.com/albums/ab104/lakngulf/July_2011/IMG_0142.jpg[/img]
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

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gixxerific
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If I was right, I am sorry. :( Sorry for your loss.

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GardenRN
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Don't know if you like fried green tomatoes..if not you can always use all those greens for half-sour tomatoes also! Easy to make but not everyone likes em. It's a jewish snack my grandfather told me about from when he lived in new york. He used to get them from some deli he stopped at on the way home from work. Not half bad! And very easy.
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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