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Three Tomato Problems: Help SO Appreciated!  Toplef10Three Tomato Problems: Help SO Appreciated!  1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Three Tomato Problems: Help SO Appreciated!  I22gcj10Three Tomato Problems: Help SO Appreciated!  14dhcg10

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Three Tomato Problems: Help SO Appreciated!

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Post  NatalieWatersSeum 6/26/2015, 8:36 am

Greetings. I am slightly obsessed with getting my tomatoes right this year after one great year and one horrible year of square foot gardening them. One major lesson I've learned this year is that I need to inspect my babies a couple times per day! 

I just recently successfully got rid of the aphids that destroyed two plants. I removed those plants and the day after I planted two new ones (in different spots, using Tomato Maker) the veins turned purple like this. None of the problems I've read about online seem to fit quite right. Here's a photo: 

Problem #1
Three Tomato Problems: Help SO Appreciated!  Img_5111

Problem #2 is that some of my leaves are starting to curl. It seems as though there are a million different reasons as to why they may be doing this. Any thoughts? It has been warm the past couple of days and I don't get much of a breeze in my garden. I've been watering every other morning if it hasn't rained, by hand, with a watering can. How much to water is a bit of a mystery to me though -- my Mel's Mix seems dry on top, wet lower. Here's a photo:

Problem #2
Three Tomato Problems: Help SO Appreciated!  Img_5112


And problem #3 is that I seem to have a new friend (aka pest)? This seems like the easiest problem to fix, but as long as I'm here and have a photo, thought I'd toss it in for fun. Smile 

Problem #3
Three Tomato Problems: Help SO Appreciated!  Img_5113

THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH in advance. I'm on my way to being a real expert, trying to solve one problem at a time!!! I hope to be able to help others someday. 

Natalie in Minnesota
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Post  Razed Bed 6/26/2015, 10:00 am

I am no expert, but I do have a tomato book that shows some of the problems that can arise.

#1--Have you had a bought of cool weather or long periods of overcast skies and lack of sunshine?  If so, this will correct itself once it warms up and/or gets sunny.

It also can be a sign that your mix is a little low on phosphorus.  Consider your compost blend and try to determine if you might be lacking in phosphates.  Manures are rather high in phosphorus.

#2--There are multiple possibilities that cause tomato leaves to curl.  Some indicate some form of virus, while hot and dry weather can cause it as well.  You indicated it had been warm there, but warm in Lift Bridge country can be chilly in other parts of the nation.  My brother-in-law just up the road from you on WI-64 has said his garden is going gangbusters with all the rain and moderate temperatures they have had.

You can apply a milk & water spray on your tomatoes, and it should be a broad anti-viral remedy.

#3--My monitor, eh my old eyes, does not allow me the opportunity to get a great view, but it really does not matter putting a name on this nemesis.  The key is to get it to pack its bags and move across the St. Croix River without polluting the St. Croix River.

You mentioned aphids in the past, so I thought of a remedy an old farmer told me.  Boil rhubarb and take the water and mix with dish soap and hot chili oil.  Strain it into a sprayer and spray the leaves.

Good luck.  Stillwater is one of my favorite places to visit in the summer.  We take from Dunn County in Wisconsin as our shortcut to the Cities and frequently stop in Stillwater to browse.
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Post  camprn 6/26/2015, 12:50 pm

Having grown tomatoes for a few year this is what I am seeing in your photos:

1) nutrient deficiency most likely,

2) What type of tomato is this? Some varieties do naturally have curly foliage. I see a little chlorosis and are the purple leaves from this plant? possible curly top? but I really don't think so...
 http://homeguides.sfgate.com/causes-tomato-plants-purple-41716.html

3)Probable leaf beetle damage and looks like a tear, not a bite into the foliage, 

Regardless, the wounds are healed on the leaf. If  you do not like the look of it, just pinch off the leaf.




  • Did you make the Mel's mix with the 5 different sources of compost? 
  • Has it been raining a lot?
  • What are the temps at night?
  • Have you fertilized at all?

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Post  NatalieWatersSeum 6/26/2015, 4:49 pm

Thank you so much for the responses. Yes, Stillwater is a beautiful place to visit and live!!!

To answer some questions ... 

The purple veins are on a Fresh Salsa Hybrid F1 and 4th of July (no curling on those). 

The leaf curling and the holes are on a Sweet 100 Cherry, Roma and Sugary (no purple on those). 

My best looking plant right now is called Container Choice, which is in a pot, not my SFG, but I think that pot has the same MM. 

I did make my MM with 5 different forms of compost initially. This year I supplemented with the Miracle Grow "Really Good Compost" and after a quick Google, maybe this is my problem. 

Official highs have been in the low 80's, but gets up to 90 in my garden due to a lot of sun and not much breeze. Lows are in the mid-60's. We've had LOTS of sun. 

Up until this week it was raining a lot. This week is the first week I've felt the need to water every other day. My MM is really dry on top, but wetter lower down.   

I have fertilized regularly (according to the bag) with Tomato Maker, which now I realize is not organic. I need to figure out a better option. 

So, with the beetles -- how do you recommend I get rid of them?

What else should I do at this point to improve the health of my precious babies? 

Many thanks again!
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Post  camprn 6/26/2015, 8:48 pm

The flea beetles will be gone soon on their own.

Maybe water every third day and let the roots streach out a bit. Sounds like you've had plenty of rain, maybe too much. They don't really care for wet feet.

Night temps are good.

If you are looking for a fertilizer tomato-tone or garden-tone. Or you could try top dressing with homemade or good quality compost. High summer is going to kick in and all will be well.

For next year, remember to feed the soil (MM) not the plants. Generally speaking.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Post  sanderson 6/27/2015, 2:15 am

I Binged MG "Really Good Compost." 100% composted yard waste. No composted farm manures, veggies, or seaweed, or worm castings, so they really shouldn't call it Really Good!" It seems it could count as one of 5 compost for blending. ??

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Post  camprn 6/27/2015, 5:54 am

Agreed Sanderson.

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