My Tomato Transplants Are Dying
(Rockbridge Baths, VA)
I started my tomatoes from seed. They were doing beautifully until a couple of weeks ago. I have been putting them outside on warm days. They are not happy now. They are not looking healthy at all.
The new leaves aren't even that pretty green. Leaves are turning yellow from the bottom up. The branches are beginning to wilt. Some of the leaves are getting speckled, brownish, and whitish colors. The plants are well watered, although I let them dry out between watering.
I used miracle grow vegetable garden mix when I moved them to bigger containers. The plants are now about 8 inches high and are in 4" peat pots.I have 72 of them! Please help! What am I doing wrong?
It is just about time for them to go into the ground but I am afraid if I do that it will be too much of a shock, since they are now looking so weak.
Desperate Gardener !
Dear Desperate Gardener,
Without seeing a photo of the plants, I'm believing that you have a fungus called tomato blight.
In your case, early blight is probably what you have. The symptoms of early blight are yellowing of the leaves from the bottom up. Also, brownish spots will develop on the leaves as well.
Most often it's transferred through infected soil. Not to say that's your case, but do think about areas of your growing
room, pots, soil, etc. that could have possibly been infected with the fungus.
If pots, soil, etc. are suspected, discard those items at once.
As for treatment, I believe at this stage you still will be able to save your seedlings. A protective fungicide that can be purchased at a nursery will be your best bet.
The fungicide will need to be mixed with water into a pump sprayer (the nursery will have that as well). With 72 plants, you'll most likely need quite a bit.
I do recommend that you purchase from a nursery over a home improvement store, etc....most often an employee at a nursery will be more apt to suggest a fungicide that is great for your area rather than an employee at a home improvement store.
Also, you should try to prune out some of the bad leaves or stems on your young plants. Discard them far away from your garden area!!
One last thing. Think about how you are watering your transplants. If using a watering hose, water at the base of the plant, not overhead with a sprinkler setting, etc. Water droplets hitting the soil while watering from overhead will splash up and onto the plant and will cause even more spreading of the fungus.
Use the fungicide as recommended on the bottle and we'll hope a turn around will come your way soon!!