The Q&A Archives: Leaf Spots on Tomato Seedlings

Question: I started tomatoes from seeds inside under lights. When putting them outside to start hardening off, the leaves suddenly had brown areas on them. I brought them back in, pinched off the bad leaves, and the new leaves look fine. I could find no evidence of insects, and no description of disease matches. What happened?

Answer: The same thing just happened to me recently (after all these years of tomato growing!). From what I have uncovered, the brown spots are evidence of trauma. The tomatoes were stressed by too much light and wind too soon. I for one am guilty of starting the hardening off process on a day that was too windy for the tender seedlings and also, put them into too much sunlight. I tend to get impatient during the hardening off about you? The next batch is going to go out very gradually, starting out with 15-20 minutes at a time in a partially sunny location and bit by bit, moving into full sun for full days.

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