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by Ken Comeaux
Q. I planted 10 tomato plants and every one has wilted. I have tomatoes on a few of them, but I don't think they will ripen. Last year, the same thing happened to them. I did plant them in the same spot so maybe there was a disease that got them this year. I have two that are in a pot and those seem to be doing well. I grow them from seed and they are organic seeds. Can you tell me what may be the problem?
A. Sounds like your tomatoes are suffering from either fusarium wilt or verticillium wilt. Both are caused by fungi that live in the soil. That's likely why your container tomatoes are thriving while those in the garden are suffering.
Both fusarium wilt or verticillium wilt show themselves with yellowing leaves, which eventually drop. Stems may streak. Verticillium victims may wilt during the day and recover overnight.
On the other hand, if your plant has contracted bacterial wilt, then the plants wilt suddenly but remain green.
Right now, there is no chemical treatment for any of these three diseases.
The best course of action is to destroy affected tomato plants. To avoid the same scenario the next time you plant, rotate your crops and choose resistant varieties. You'll recognize those types of tomatoes that are resistant to these diseases because they will have the capitals "V" (for verticillium wilt) or "F" (for fusarium wilt) after their names. (For a complete explanation of tomato disease resistant codes, click here.)
Good luck and happy gardening!
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