Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tomato Issues. Damn. Wilt?

I arrived home Sunday from our camping trip in Big Sur and, of course, ran out to the garden right away.
I was laughing at myself a bit because, really, how much can change in 2 days? Right?
A lot, really.

Upon first look everything is robust and beautiful.

But upon closer look, some of the plants seem to be wilting.

Their leaves are twisting and turning brown.

This plant is wilting, while the plants on each side still look completely fine.

Even the stems have some damage on them.

While I was poking around trying to figure it out (while mothering 2 cranky kids, so it took quite some time if you can imagine) I found the first unripe tomato! And something else... thrips? I don't even know if we get thrips here? I've never seen them and I've been gardening in this area of California for 15 years and in this spot for close to 10 of those.

I'm at a complete loss at the moment. This year has been my most challenging yet. The weather was so wet and cold for so long, and now the berries have Septoria and the tomatoes have?? I have no idea. I thought perhaps blight but the tips of the upper stems seem to die off before anything on the bottom. And the plants showing the most damage are in completely fresh composted soil. I'm fairly certain the soil is complete with nutrients. I read that tomatoes can in fact get Septoria also, so perhaps it is that even though they live on the opposite side of the garden? I found a pretty nice site from Cornell University listing a variety of tomato ailments. Who knew there were so many? I've grown them so easily in the past without complication. Sigh. I'm leaning towards Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, which is spread by thrips. I'll need to spend some time researching it, but I have found a few good links such as this one showing some examples of wilt and this one showing a photo of what thrips look like. I'll be investing in some sticky cards for certain. I've pulled the worst plants and plan on spending those little moments here and there when possible doing some pruning.

Completely open to suggestions and ideas!



Check out this information from UC Davis:

I would spray with pyrethrum to see what I could salvage. Read the label; but I think 1 application per week for 3 weeks might get those nasty bugs.

Here's something else to pile on to your pile of woes - check out your blog layout. The photos are off their frame and the text is jumbled on top of itself.

My Ugly Garden said...

So sorry about the tomatoes. So frustrating. Could the people out at Earthbound Farms have some info? When we visited, they seemed like a helpful bunch.

As to wonky layout. I'm not having trouble viewing your blog with Google Chrome. Possibly a browser issue, but I'm hardly an expert in that field. Wishing you the best with your tomatoes and that you had a nice camping trip.


Shauna said...

:( Such a bummer!!! Although I really appreciated the links you provided (especially the one w/ the pictures of the thrips) because it might have helped me figure out my own plant problems.....

No problems viewing your site for me either- although I did notice that recently some words in your posts are highlighted..? Is that intentional?


Okay - on a different computer your layout looks fine and does have the highlighted words. The layout problem must be with my other computer. I have been seeing a few other reports of wilt. Troubling.

Anonymous said...

It is unbelievable that all this damage can happen in 2 days. I’m sorry for your tomatoes; I hope you will be able to save some.
No idea what could help…

Erin said...

Thanks for that link Maybelline. I'm going to hold off on any sprays and just accept that this year may not be my year for tomatoes. I've pulled a few more plants over the weekend as the virus spreads. I have watermellon seedlings needing a home so they are going in the place of the toms. Fate?

Thanks for the kind words everyone, I'm feeling ok now. It has been hard... to say the least.

My Ugly Garden -- we love the Earthbound Farms Farmstand! I talked to an organic farmer friend of mine and she thinks I should let it be, esp since I'm not depending on the plants for income. She was telling me a story of a year she had a terrible red aphid problem and she didn't spray and then then the ladybugs were able to come in and save the day!

I've learned some lessons. I'll take those lessons and learn from them and do things a bit different next year! Just goes to show even after years and years of gardening there is always SOMETHING new to learn!