Ask a Question forum: Tomato Disease? Help!

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South Florida
danielfulloa
Jan 23, 2018 6:56 PM CST
Thumb of 2018-01-24/danielfulloa/3610b6

I bought this tomato plant a few weeks ago and I noticed a few days ago that its lower leaves are developing something. The leaves are getting yellow and have spots. Other than the lower leaves, the rest of the plant looks pretty normal. I'm not sure what it is. Is it early blight? What could have caused this and how can I fix it? Its a Husky Cherry Red, being grown in homemade compost. I water daily if not every other day. It gets plenty of sun. Im quite new to this, so please excuse the lack of knowledge.

Thank you

-Daniel
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jan 23, 2018 7:48 PM CST
It is normal for tomato plants to lose their lower, older leaves as they grow.
Porkpal
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 23, 2018 8:49 PM CST
Hi Daniel, and welcome. That's why we all come here, to get and share knowledge. No need to apologize and the only dumb question is the one you didn't ask.

Your plants looks pretty darn healthy to me. I agree with porkpal that those lower leaves just have some normal "age" spots and will probably drop off. The plant will shade them out pretty soon anyway.

Just a word of caution though, about growing in homemade compost, it may get a bit too compacted in that pot over time, and this causes the root system of the plant to not get enough air when the soil dries out a bit. For future reference, use a good sterile potting mix for growing anything in pots. It's quite a lot lighter and more porous than straight compost you made yourself.

Signs of soil compaction are if you pour water into the pot and it seems like it goes whizzing right through and out the bottom. IF it starts doing this, you must take the plant out of the pot, loosen the root ball, soak it until the whole ball is wet, then re-pot in a bigger pot with potting soil. Tomatoes are very resilient plants, so it won't hurt it to do this.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jan 23, 2018 9:42 PM CST
The only thing I can add is that the soil is WAY down in that pot. Fill it up! Tomatoes will root along their stem and become healthier, happier plants. The soil should be almost to the rim of the pot - you are wasting root space. Fill it up! Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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South Florida
danielfulloa
Jan 24, 2018 1:12 AM CST
Thanks to everyone for the replies, you have been very helpful. Regarding the sterile potting mix, how would you fertilize that and how often?
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 24, 2018 10:44 AM CST
Most potting mix comes with some fertilizer added. What's in your home made compost will be all used up by now, so you need to get some slow-release veggie fertilizer pellets to mix into that soil, too. If you use a good quality timed-release product you'll only have to remember to put it on about every 3 or 4 months.

Your tomato plant will very likely peter out around May or June anyway, so one application may carry it through for you.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
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kittriana
Jan 24, 2018 6:50 PM CST
Agreed the tomato plant should be in a 5 gal bucket, planted DEEP, go light on fertilizer for maters or you get all plant and no tomatoes. If you are using purchased soil, dont add fertilizer yet. Florida has been cold lately and tomatoes like a temp (and soil temp above 60*. Do watch the calcium as not having any would possibly give you blossom end rot). I do need to check that soil temp for tomatoes again...I do know they stall in 90* and up temps...fertilizer should have a LOW nitrogen %...
kitt
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jan 24, 2018 7:18 PM CST
The other common blossom end rot cause in container tomatoes is inconsistent watering.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
Container Gardener Canning and food preservation Dog Lover
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Zuni
Jan 24, 2018 11:52 PM CST
I also agree they look fine. But, it's early, even for Florida. Are they warm enough?

Tomatoes are a specialty of mine, sort of. I agree with the others that what you could do, is remove the lower branches, and add soil, or simply put it into a bigger pot.

What I do with tomatoes, is I keep removing bottom branches, and keep burying them deeper and deeper. As seedlings, I do this when I transplant. When I first transplant them, I put them deep into the pot. Then, as they grow, I remove bottom branches, and add more soil.

It's my opinion that tomatoes are all about their root systems. There will just be a slight delay in productivity by removing bottom branches and adding more soil, or repotting them deeper. Then, when the root system is big and awesome and you can leave them alone - they will reward you with tons of great tomatoes.

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