First visit to GardenStew? Learn more Already a member? -> Sign in     Not a member yet? -> Register


Help with my droopy tomatoes?!? Pix inside -->


To hide these ads please register / sign in
Post Reply | Start New Topic | Register / sign in to view printable version of this page      




Magic Matt
New Orleans
Posts: 2
Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:17 pm   Post subject: Help with my droopy tomatoes?!? Pix inside -->


Hello! Thanks for taking the time to help me out! My tomato plants have been looking quite sad the past week or two, and I can't figure out the problem. I've thought it was over-watering, so I didn't water for a week. They did not improve. So I watered them liberally on Saturday, and again on Wednesday, and they still have not perked up.

I know that in order to correctly diagnose the problem, you'll need to know a little background on my setup:


I am a first time soil grower (I dabbled with an indoor hydroponics tomato setup several years ago), and live in New Orleans (read: very hot, very humid). I built a 9'x3'x1' raised bed in my backyard. The location of the bed in a spot that gets the most sunlight, which unfortunately is only about 5-6 hours a day (of direct sun). I put a layer of cardboard down under the bed, and then filled with soil.

I filled the raised bed with 10 cu.ft. potting soil, 6 cu.ft. topsoil, 4 cu.ft "premium garden soil" (i.e. Scotts), and 2 cu.ft of manuer/humus. I then broadcast about 2-2.5 lbs of 8-15-15 fertilizer and worked it into about the top 8 inches.

I stated my seed indoors around the 1st of March, and planted them around March 28 (they were sitting on my patio prior to planting). I planted 2 beefsteak tomato plants, 2 eggplants, 2 california bell peppers, 2 cauliflower, 1 serrano pepper, 5 celery, and numerous onion/red onion/green onion. Everything looked great for the first couple of weeks (aside from a few bug problems, which I believe I've controlled by using Sevin dust). The tomatoes have absolutely sky-rocketed in germs of growth in the past month. I've also watered them with some Miracle-grow about once every 8 or 9 days (at first just 1 gallon for the whole bed, but more recently I did 2 gallons).

I was originally watering my plants every day, sometimes 2 times a day when they were young. I've heard that tomatoes require about 1" of water a week, so I began to cut back the watering when I noticed the tomato leaves looked saggy. But they haven't returned since then (around 4-15). And just recently, my serrano pepper plant has began to droop a little too. I don't know if it is a true 'wilt', but it looks sad nonetheless. I've tried not watering them for a week, but after 5 or 6 days, I felt the soil (at about 7" deep) and it was dry, so I watered again.

Anyway, on with the pics:

Here is the cauliflower:
http://postimage.org/image/2pog1tbs4/

Serrano pepper:
http://postimage.org/image/2pohpco9w/

Bell pepper:
http://postimage.org/image/2pol0fd9g/

Tomatoes:
http://postimage.org/image/2pormkr8k/

http://postimage.org/image/2pouxng84/

http://postimage.org/image/2poy8q57o/

http://postimage.org/image/2pp37c6p0/



So, can anyone give me some advice? Am I watering too much? Not enough? What gives? I don't want to lose this crop because of my lack of experience......

Thanks a lot for anyone who can help!!!! I really appreciate it!




To hide these ads please register / sign in
Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden



carolyn

northern ohio
Posts: 5735
Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:20 pm   


Hi Matt, those tomatoes look ok to me. I'm not seeing what i would call droopy. Are they limp as in droopy? they don't look that way to me. Maybe you are seeing some acclimation stress. How hot has it been? Sometimes plants wilt down alittle in the heat of the day from too much exposure. If that's the case try putting a row cover over them to get a little shade.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden | My Blog



Magic Matt
New Orleans
Posts: 2
Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:32 pm   


Hi! Thanks for the quick response! It has been between 80-90 here lately. A cool front just passed through, so it has only been getting to about 83-85 the past couple of days. No rain either, with the exception of a couple of short, small showers (about 5 minutes each) a few days ago. As for covering them, I don't think that would be a good idea since they already get minimal sunlight. They get about 1 hr of direct sun from 9am-10am, then they are shaded by a big oak tree from 10am-12, then from noon - 4pm they get more direct light.


It gives me some hope that you think my plants look ok though Smile

But, I still think there is some problem going on. Maybe pest related, maybe nutrient/water related, or perhaps even fungal/bacterial.

The reason I suspect this is because of how the leaves (and even a few branches now) hang down (point towards the ground). If you look at the 2nd and 3rd pics under "Tomatoes" above, you'll see that the leaves are almost all pointed (or angled) down....some of them even curling under a bit. The wind was blowing when I snapped these pics, so the plants might not look as droopy as they do to me in person (since some of the leaves are being blown back upright).

Anyway, these plants just don't look as perky to me as the ones that I grew in the hydro setup several years ago - those plants reached sky-high everyday, looking beautiful. These, on the other hand, look sad to me. I know I have to be doing something wrong....but I just don't know what to do to correct it.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden



carolyn

northern ohio
Posts: 5735
Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:40 pm   


Check underneath the leaf/ves for aphids. They can cause curly leaves. Otherwise, I see a little insect damage, but nothing that I think looks strange. They look normal to me.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden | My Blog



Danjensen

England
Posts: 434
Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 12:35 am   


hey matt welcome to the forums.

Toms look ok wouldn't worry too much.

2 suggestions for you.

if your using soaker hoses (which it looks like from the pics) you might have to test how long enough watering is for example 30mins through a soaker hose might not put enough water into the soil for your toms.

My suggestion is to do your normal length of water and dig a test hole in between the hoses where your toms would be and see how dry the soil is. Repeat this until your happy your getting the best water penetration. if the soaker hoses aren't mulched over you might be losing alot of water to evaporation.

Second suggestion

you might want to try is to dig a 5" pot next to the plant. and fill that with water, it gets the water straight to the roots.

typically i go along with the watertering can and fill the pot with water. that way i know all the water is going to the root not evaporating. I plan to use this method with my soaker hose setup this year. Its a great way of getting the feed to the roots as well.


So test the soil first to check if your getting enough water penetration if your not with your usual watering methods. It might be the reason your plants are drooping.

Find the right watering time for soil penetration. then see how your toms react.

hope it helps

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden | My Blog



chocolate

Australia
Posts: 716
Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 1:06 am   


Hi, are you sure you have the right pictures up? Wink Those vegetable plants are some of the best I have seen,remember as leaves grow they get heavy and naturally drop down,keep on gardening....you are doing a great job.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden



mart
NE Texas
Posts: 1537
Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 3:35 pm   


I am in Texas and well familiar with heat/humidity and what goes with them. Are you looking at your plants early morning or mid day. They look fine to me except a bit leggy which will probably correct itself. Mine to the same thing in mid day heat and that is normal. One thing I would suggest to prevent later problems is to allow the soil to dry a bit between waterings. It will not hurt the plants if soil is only barely moist or a bit dry. Then when you water, do it deeply. Its hard for you with a raised bed to do this I know. (I would have stuck the plants in the soil rather than a raised bed). But keeping the plant roots constantly wet or soggy is not good. Just damp is fine. It will help hold water better and more consistantly if you add some loam to your bed or just some of your native soil.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden



carolyn

northern ohio
Posts: 5735
Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 4:09 pm   


If moisture is a problem due to the raised beds, a little "SOIL MOIST" granules mixed into the soil will add a lot more moisture in between watering, also. They absorb an enormous amount of water. Think "diaper" like holding ability. I've even been tempted to tear apart a diaper and experiment with the stuff inside to see if it works in the soil the same way. I really think the stuff is the same stuff, just in a different granular size.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden | My Blog



mart
NE Texas
Posts: 1537
Posted: Tue May 03, 2011 12:46 am   


I have actually done that with pot plants except I use cheapie kitchen sponges and tear them up to add to the pots !! Works pretty well !!

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden



carolyn

northern ohio
Posts: 5735
Posted: Tue May 03, 2011 1:44 am   


Matt, looking at your pictures again and noticed you had your plants planted on little mounds, That would tend to dry out pretty quick in the heat. You might want to try pulling some of the mulch, from in between the rows, up onto the mounds. Covering the soaker hose wont hurt it, either. You'll conserve even more moisture for your plants that way. (your soaker hose will hold up better out of the sunlight, also.) Cool

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden | My Blog



ntjones

Posts: 31
Posted: Tue May 10, 2011 3:58 pm   


Those tomato plants look fine to me, but get rid of the side shoots that have started to sprout, also it might be a good idea to give them a little extra support with a bamboo cane, but other than that I don't think you have much to worry about, in fact I would say based on the photos you have provided everything is looking rather promising.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden



Coppice
SE-OH USAian
Posts: 348
Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 1:57 pm   


You have some very minor leaf-miner damage. Which if they were mine I might do nothing about.

IMO they don't look droopy to me.

How many hours of sun do your tomato-babies get?

Try sticking a finger into soil to check for how moist (or dry) soil is.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden



carolyn

northern ohio
Posts: 5735
Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 2:04 pm   


Hey matt, I agree with ntjones, DO pinch out the suckers on the bottom, I think the rule is "starting below the first set of blossoms, pinch them out all the way down to the bottom". This will give you better air circulation and hopefully less disease later in the season. Lots of tomatoes are susceptible to the blight, especially in hot and HUMID regions.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden | My Blog



RJ

Oakland, Michigan
Posts: 36
Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 2:07 am   


From growing up on a farm I've seen 20 years of tomatoes. Your plants look fairly healthy, unless the pictures are deceiving. The leaf structure and color look good. The stem and main stalk look healthy. I don't see any yellow spotting on the plants. How many hours of direct sun do the plants receive a day? You said you used 8-15-15 that's good. Tomato leaves do have a slight droop normally. Try checking the plant when it's in full sun, if the leaves feel warm it's not getting enough hydration. The pictures may be deceiving to my eyes. But the growth looks well too. Since you used good soil, good fertilizer, and if the plants get 8 or more hours of sun a day they should do fine. You can try as a supplement (in case of soil deficiency) 1 table spoon of Epsom salts per 1 gallon of water. Tomatoes do need magnesium and sulphur in the soil. just watch out for yellow/brown spotting on the stem or leaves. That is a sign of disease or fungus. One thing if you did not know it, soil can be banked up around the main stalk. Tomatoes will sprout Roots quickly from the stem when in contact with soil. When ever I plant I use 1 foot tall plants, break off all but the top few leaves and bury the stem. Out of a foot tall plant 8 inches of the stem is buried. Then you quickly get not only the base root but 8 inches worth of quickly growing stem roots. Just don't bury the leaves. I hope your plants do well, there's nothing like a good ripe off the vine tomato.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden



RJ

Oakland, Michigan
Posts: 36
Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 2:26 am   


I just looked at the pictures again. You have some kind of disease on The lower leaves. I've never seen this Type before. If they were my plants I would remove the leaves and stems that appear to be Damaged.

Back to top
Profile | PM | My Garden

To hide these ads
please register / sign in


Join GardenStew for free today!



Ways to share this page (copy and paste codes):
Simple link:
Forums:
HTML:






     Sponsored Links