Tomato Woes, Part I

Brown Black Cherry Leaves

Any experts out there? Anyone who can tell me what kind of ailment this might be? I’ve visited all my usual diagnostic haunts but haven’t come up with anything terribly promising.

Maybe leaf tip burn caused by over-fertilizing? Or maybe it’s the complete opposite and it’s a nutrient deficiency?

This chocolate cherry was planted in organic potting soil, augmented with a handful of worm casings and a couple of crushed eggshells. It has received near-weekly doses of water mixed with fish emulsion fertilizer and a couple servings of diluted milk.

Or, maybe it’s just damage from the gale-force winds and the chilly nights that the little blue deck has been enduring this month?

Should I lay off the weekly feeding? Should I feed them more? Should I stop obsessing and trust they’ll heal themselves? (Riiiight) Help!


4 thoughts on “Tomato Woes, Part I

  1. I asked my new BFF Mike McGrath from You Bet Your Garden to weigh in on yr tomato woes, and here’s what he had to say:

    1) people worry too much.
    2) people fuss too much.
    3) yes, she’s overfeeding. And # 1 and # 2
    4) “and a couple servings of diluted milk.”
    Milk? EXCUSE ME? No cookies??

    What is wrong with you people???

  2. Hi! I’m a Philly container gardener too (Spring Garden/Fairmount area – I have a completely bricked in 1st floor back patio). I’m growing 3 tomatos from seed this year, and planted one in its final home outside on May 8 right before the crazy winds because it was twice the size of my other seedlings and I had no space for it inside anymore. Right now, most of its lower leaves look very similar to your picture there. Kinda limp and the tips are all dead/brown/crumbly. But up top, maybe the top 1/3 of the plant is growing pretty normally, and everything looks nice and green and healthy. I’m chalking it up to a combo of transplant shock, cold and wind, and I’m just leaving it be for now, especially since the top of the plant looks pretty good. My other 2 tomatos (planted just last Saturday) are looking great, and were in the exact same inside environment, same outside potting soil, seeds purchase from the same place, etc. so I’m doubting its some kind of disease. But I’m pretty new to this – this is my first year growing from seed, and only the second year of my container garden!

    I would maybe skip a week of fertilizer just to give the poor thing some time to chill out and recover, and reevaluate the situation then. But that’s just me. Keep us updated!!

    1. Thanks for the comment! The tops of my plants look pretty great, too, and have already begun to flower. Like you, I’m thinking “sit tight”. I also emailed the Penn State Philadelphia Extension — if I hear anything, I’ll let you know. I think you planted your seedlings at a much, much better time. Next year I’ll really have to stick with the May 1 or later deadline. Good luck!

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