I have had several people asking about tomato and tomatillo crop problems.
photo credit: sleepyneko
Most problems seem to be relating back to the weather. Many places have had irregular weather, either too hot and dry or cold nights.
Without seeing a photo I can only guess but here are a few of the more common tomatillo growing problems.
1. If few flowers are forming on your tomatillo plants or the flowers drop before setting fruit, possible causes include:
· Excess nitrogen
· Too little sun
· Nighttime temperatures above 70 degrees F or below 50 degrees F
· Drought stress
Stress seems to cause more problems to the tomato family than other problems and it’s easy to over look. Here are a few possible solutions to your problems.
Avoid soil amendments with soluble nitrogen and make sure plants get a full day of sunlight. Keep the soil evenly moist throughout the season. Mulch covers on top of the soil around your tomato plants with help keep soil moisture even.
At planting time, use a balanced, granular fertilizer that’s made for tomatoes. During the growing season, treat your plants to a water-soluble fertilizer. I use a compost tea for my tomatoes. If you don’t use compost tea, you can ask for advice at your garden center
2. Dark, concentrically ringed spots that cover the lower leaves and stems are a sign of early blight. To control the spread of blight, you can use an organic Garden Dust, available in most garden centers. It’s also important to not get water on the leaves when watering and not handling plants when they are wet. This will also cause early blight to spread.
3. Water-soaked patches on fruit that turn brown, dry and papery are a sign of late blight. The stems might also have blackened areas. To control late blight, spray plants with compost tea, or follow the same program of control as for early blight.
4. Cracks in fruit are usually caused by uneven watering. This tends to happen the most in late summer if you have a dry hot spell that changes to a cool spell. If you use mulch to keep the soil evenly moist you should not have this problem.
5. Yellowed, distorted and curled leaves are usually a sign of an infestation of aphids. Check for signs of aphids on the undersides of leaves or on new growth. Aphids are easily combated with a strong jet of water or an application of neem oil will get aphids under control
Distorted leaves could also be tobacco mosaic virus. This virus causes young growth to be narrow and twisted. The leaves become mottled with yellow. If your plants have tobacco mosaic virus they will need to be removed and destroyed.
Note: do not add infected plants into a compost pile. It’s best to burn them.
Tomatoes and tomatillos are favorites in many gardens but they do tend to have disease and stress related problems.
photo credit: bhamsandwich
Keep them evenly watered, add fertilizer during the season and keep weeds down around the plants. With a watchful eye, they should grow and produce well.
For more information on how to grow the tomatillo check this link: Garden tips: How to grow the Tomatillo, the Tomatoes cousin
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