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carriej
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What is going on with these tomatoes?

First, let me start off by saying I have never, ever experienced these kind of problems with my tomatoes. My tomatoes for the last two years were so beautiful, and I am about to chuck these ones in the bin and just buy from the garden center and consider it a lost year. I need to figure out something soon, else there won't be any left for replacement if I do chuck these ones.

So I planted several varieties of tomatoes, some defiant, some beefsteak, some tiny tims, some plum regals... Right from the get go I was getting some yellowing. I added some ferts, and they perked up again. I transplanted last weekend into bigger pots, into a mix of black earth + compost, same brand I have always used. It has been a struggle for the entire time I have had them, to try and keep them going.

My leaves are dying. I have been removing infected tissue, but the little plants just can't keep up. They were planted Easter weekend. They are indoors, with a grow light. I have never had this happen. The leaves are also very very pale and not dark green as they should be. My tiny tims are darker, but they have dark spots on the leaves as well.

Here are some pictures. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Image

Image

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brooksms
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Re: What is going on with these tomatoes?

I had a similar issue with a young tomato plant and someone mentioned magnesium deficiency. Try epsom salt?

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carriej
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Re: What is going on with these tomatoes?

I did add epsom salts just a couple of days ago, hard to tell if it has worked yet but I am feeling optimistic. I am just so shocked since I have never experienced this. I'm afraid they already might be stunted, as they seem to be very small plants for being 6 weeks old.

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brooksms
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Re: What is going on with these tomatoes?

I would start some backup plants just in case if you haven't already. Can't hurt!

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GardeningCook
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Re: What is going on with these tomatoes?

I don't want to be the voice of doom here, but your first pic shows a textbook example of Early Blight. Definitely pinch off those leaves & put them in the trash. With any luck, it won't spread to your other seedlings.
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carriej
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Re: What is going on with these tomatoes?

I kind of thought it looked like blight... But how the heck would I get blight from blight resistant seeds and sterile seed starter? This usually starts at the very tip of the leaves and spread inwards, however new leaves seem unaffected. It literally hit every single plant, all at the same time, so if it was blight they're already infected.

I started these in the house when there was still several feet of snow on the ground.

Unfortunately I think it's probably too late to start new ones now, we get frost in Sept. I'll have to either hope these ones turn around, or buy transplants. Seen some nice transplants today, but I always grow my own and I hate to give up on them. Might buy 12 transplants just to make sure I end up with some.

They are looking better though. Getting some green color. I ended up caving and getting some miracle grow tomato food and been giving them that, seems to have turned them around for now.

Here's some pictures of all of them. Still a few scraggly ones I don't expect to recover.

Image

Image

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applestar
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Re: What is going on with these tomatoes?

I'm not sure exactly what might be causing the gradual shriveling at the leaf tips. But I think one of the problems you are having is nitrogen deficiency. Judging by the size of these seedlings, their roots have reached the dryish peat (?) pot and there is N lockup going on where the pot meets potting mix. And possibly adventitious root tip die-off, too.

That's probably why the added fertilizer is helping, though you probably would have had as much benefit from an *organic* fertilizer. I would stay with veg fert with higher N (first number) or equal proportion for now instead of tomato fert with higher other numbers (middle? Last?)

Make sure the bottom of the peat pot doesn't dry out completely.
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feldon30
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Re: What is going on with these tomatoes?

Just looking at your pictures,a big red flag for me is the square peat pots. I really do not like peat pots as they compete with the plants for moisture and they stay damp, attracting mold and fungus. A lot of problems starting seeds can be traced back to persnickety peat pots/pods. I use plastic pots and have been reusing the same pots for 6 years now.

Also can you tell us what kind of seed starting mix you used? I've had problems in the past with different brands and even a bad batch of mix of a better brand. That year, I potted them up into a known good product -- Premier Pro-Mix, etc. -- and the plants immediately bounced back and outgrew their problems.
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carriej
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Re: What is going on with these tomatoes?

Thanks guys, I will get plastic ones next year. I have always used the paper pots and never had an issue in the past, but I'll try plastic next time.

I used Miracle Grow seed starting mix : http://www.miraclegro.com/smg/goprod/mi ... /prod70340

However, a couple of weeks ago I transplanted all but the cherry tomatoes into 3 inch pots with a mix of black earth, bagged compost, and earthworm castings.

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applestar
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Re: What is going on with these tomatoes?

Ouch that's a heavy mix -- "black earth" typically synonymous with top soil. So there is NO aerating aggregate material in that mix at all. When making a homemade potting mix, be sure to blend in 1/4 by volume of some kind of porous large chunk perlite, diatomaceous earth (UltraSorb), pumice gravel, or coarse (builders, masons, all purpose) sand, or composted bark mulch fines. Boiled Rice hulls is another alternative.

I think even in peat pots with theoretically air all around, that kind of potting mix would cause root decay. Try smelling the potting mixture -- if it smells stinky, then the roots are not getting the chance to breath at all.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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carriej
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Re: What is going on with these tomatoes?

They have only been in that mix for two weeks, and before that they were having the same problems. They actually look a little bit better now, but some leaves are going really crispy on me.

This black earth is a blend, I think with peat moss. Not sure if that would make a difference or not.

This is the same process I went through for the past couple of years, so I'm just kind of surprised it's not working for me this year.

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