The leaves on my recently planted tomato plants are developing brown spots on them and some of the leaves are starting to curl inward, however there is new growth since I planted them, which I find encouraging. Have I watered too much, not enough? Used too much Miracle Gro? Should I add something to the soil? Help please, they are like my babies.
Hardiness Zone: 6a
Eileen from Springfield, MA
Without seeing your plants it's hard to give a concrete answer or solution. Brown spots usually don't appear from over or under watering, or from the use of Miracle Gro, but can be a symptom of overhead watering, mites, a mineral deficiency, or even a fungus.
Bugs can be treated by using an insecticidal soap at 7 day intervals (if you're into organic means - which I am), otherwise there are various pesticides on the market. Mineral deficiencies can be solved as well, although if you're already using Miracle Gro, a deficiency isn't likely the problem.
Another possibility - early blight, which appears first as circular or irregular spots on older leaves. As they enlarge, rings will form, and often the spots will run together. As soon as you're sure that's what it is, you should start applying a copper-based fungicide every 7-10 days as directed.
The curled leaves could be a part of the above problem, or could be bacterial canker or curly top, neither of which can be cured. Plants have to be destroyed to protect those that are uninfected. I'd do some online research to make sure what you have before doing anything. (05/30/2007)
When leaves curl inward like that, the plants are stressed (or in need of water). Are the lower leaves turning brown and dying? If so, the brown spots are probably a fungus that the plant is taking up through the roots. I have that same problem where I live; it's common in the south where it's hot and humid. I always buy disease resistant varieties and rotate, but to no avail. Do not put the dead plant material into a compost pile if you have one, it'll exacerbate the problem.
You can talk to a nursery, but they'll tell you to buy stuff to drench the soil with before planting next season, and I try to stay away from that stuff and go organic. The plants will look bad, but will keep growing and producing edible fruit. I'm growing my tomatoes in hanging buckets this year. I've bought new soil to place in the buckets. This fall, I plan on covering my garden with black sheeting plastic to heat the soil, and leave it covered until planting next spring, to bake the soil and kill off any diseases, fungus, etc. (06/04/2007)
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