If someone tells you tomatoes are easy to grow. Ignore them. They don’t know what they’re talking about. Then again, maybe they do. Maybe they’re tomato jedi. In that case, listen carefully to their sage advice and then send them this way.
As you can see, some random fungus or another has struck. The cold spring evenings and the torrential May and June rains that Philly suffered didn’t help. Fusarium or verticillium? Who knows and who cares — the result is the same: sad, sad tomato plants with a low yield. At this point, all that can be done (snipping affected leaves mercilessly) has been done.
A glutton for punishment? But of course. Here are a few notes for next year (additional suggestions most welcomed):
- Shop for disease-resistant varieties — don’t be suckered by heirlooms, as much as you love them.
- Start the seeds in mid March, using new sterile soil — no earlier!
- Wash and sterilize containers, purchase new drainage materials.
- Carefully harden off — no cheating!
- Plant early to mid-May (strip off the leaves that are submerged in the soil) — no earlier!
- Spray regularly with Neem and feed them.
- Continue to mulch, water in the morning, and do the anti-fungus-some-rain-but-not-too-much-warm-but-not-hot-weather dance.