Tomato Wilt


What could be happening to my tomatoes? I have a large vegetable and herb garden, and everything in it really flourishes: okra, peppers,strawberries, and lots and lots of different herbs. The garden has homemade compost in it. For two years in a row now, after being in the soil for maybe three weeks, my tomato plants begin to wilt.

The wilt starts at the very top new growth in the hottest part of the day, and in less that two days the wilt has spread all the way to the bottom so that the whole plant is wilted and as good as dead.
Meanwhile, all the plants around it: marigolds, peony, okra, peppers, etc. are doing beautifully. Even the tomato plant is growing like crazy with big healthy stems, bright green foliage, and lots of blooms. Then the wilt begins and the big healthy plant is gone within two days.

I water in the morning with a soaker hose. Is this too much water? Does it sound like a fungus. What do I do? It seems like I can grow anything BUT tomatoes. I planted the tomato plants in a different spot as last year, but am having the exact same problem. Could there be something in the homemade compost that tomato plants hate? It is primarily kitchen scraps and grass clippings. Could the pH be causing this?
Please help!!!


Hi Gardener,

What you have described sounds EXACTLY like the symptoms of tomato wilt disease.

Tomato Wilt Disease

Everything from them starting out healthy and growing well, to starting at the top and wilting all the way across the whole plant. Tomato wilt is a soil-borne disease that infects the plant's water transporting vessels. The vessels become unable to move water to areas of the plant, thus leaves, etc. begin to wilt. No matter how much water you give the plant, nothing can help...and they die within 2-3 days.

It's a fungus that most likely is in your compost. Reason being, if it happened 2 years in a row and you've moved locations, seems to me it would have to be in the compost you're using.

No treatment is available for tomato wilt. Tomato plants would need to be destroyed and you would have to stop using your compost. I have known gardeners who sterilized their compost, but at this point, I would get rid of it and start over.

Sorry for the bad diagnosis, but on the flip side, there are tomato varieties that are resistant to this disease that are available on the market.

Sounds like you're doing awesome in the other areas. Just keep up the good work, and try again!
Great job!!


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