Tomato Dirt Newsletter
Issue #12, July 2011

Dear Tomato Dirt reader,

Welcome back to Tomato Dirt! Once or twice a month, we’ll send you this newsletter packed with tips about growing tomatoes and using them.

Tis the Season for Tomato Fungus and Tomato Wilt

The first blush of tomato success in the garden has passed. Now, nasty little diseases are popping up in tomato patches everywhere.

How can you figure out what ails your tomato – and then know what to do about it?

Try this:

  1. Look at the leaves
  2. Look at the overall plant

Leaves can give you tips about tomato fungus.

  • Dark, concentric spots on leaves and tell-tale rings can indicate early blight.
  • Blue-gray spots on leaves that turn brown can mean late blight.
  • Round, yellow spots on leaves with tiny dark dots in the center can indicate Septoria leaf spot.
  • Dark spots with a gray center and yellow halo can mean your plant has gray leaf spot.

To treat fungi, have a good biofungicide or fungicide on hand. Follow label directions. Re-apply every 7-10 days or after rain.

The overall plant can show you if it’s got tomato wilt.

  • If leaves turn yellow, brown, wilt, and fall off mainly on one side of the plant, it may have fusarium wilt.
  • If plant wilts during the day, recovers at night, and has yellow and browning on leaves in a V-pattern, it may have verticillium wilt.
  • If the whole plant wilts but remains green, it may have bacterial wilt.
  • If leaves turn yellow, brown, wilt, and fall off, growth is stunted, and walnut trees are nearby, the plant may have walnut wilt.

To date, there is no chemical treatment available to treat tomato wilts. Prevention is the best control. Rotate crops and plant resistant varieties!

Tomato of the Month: Celebrity Tomatoes

Photo: Reimer Seeds

About once a month (maybe more, maybe less), we’ll publish a fun profile of a specific tomato variety. That way you’ll get to know different tomatoes better. And you may even be inspired to try to grow some of them yourself!

This month, check out Celebrity Tomatoes. This 1984 All-America Award winner set a new bar in multiple-disease resistance.

That means Celebrity was specifically bred to withstand a “Who’s Who” list of tomato diseases. Find out which ones …

Tomato of the Month: Celebrity Tomatoes.

July's Tomato Tip: Bumps on Tomato Stems

Those bumps on your tomato stems are called root initials, (or adventitious roots or tomato stem primordial). They are the earliest stage of development of a tomato’s roots and they pop out as nodules along stems.

Root initials are the result of stress. They’re not harmful to plants. But they’re a tip off that your plant is struggling in some way – perhaps from under-watering, over-watering, an internal injury, humidity, or root damage.

If root initials are near the soil line, simply pile up an extra bit of topsoil around the base of your plant. Initials will develop into roots and strengthen your plant.

Learn more about root initials, what causes them, and what to do about them. That’s it for now. See you next month!

Until then, happy gardening!

Kathy with Tomato Dirt
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P.S. You know a tomato is ready to pick when it’s turned color evenly on the vine and is a tiny bit soft to the touch. Check out other tomato harvest tips. Enjoy your crop!

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