The Q&A Archives: Water Damaged Tomato Plants

Question: I have a vegatable garden with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, peas, green beans, and eggplant. A week ago we had a heavy rainstorm which caused my garden to flood above the rows. I dug a trench and let it drain as much as possible. However, the rows were submerged for 3-4 days. The water is gone, but some of the tomato plants have withered, can they come back or are they a lost cause? Robert Williams St. Augustine, FL

Answer: If the plants were healthy before the rain, they may pick up after a few sunny days. It's possible, however, that being submerged for such a prolonged time damaged the roots. Whether they can recover from that damage, only time can tell. It seems,so often, like there's either too much water, or not enough water! If you have a heavy clay soil, you can improve its drainage by adding lots of organic matter when you till up the bed--leaves, grass clippings, compost, etc.

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