Sweet 100 Tomato Plant Leaves Yellowing


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I'm growing two sweet 100 cherry tomato plants in 17 gallon containers. They were growing like crazy up until they started to grow tomatoes on the vines. Then the height of the plant pretty much stopped growing, which isn't too worrisome since its probably nearing 4-5 feet tall. This is my first year ever growing tomatoes and i'm really unsure of what is causing this to happen. I have 4 regular tomato plants growing also, which were starting to yellow but now are completely fine and growing many big tomatoes.

It started happening after we got rain for many days and I didn't water them due to that. So I thought maybe they were under watered, so I watered them more.. but now I see yellowing can be caused by over watering too. I've made sure to only water them when many inches of the soil are dry and I've started watering them with fertilizer diluted in because I thought they may have been under fed because I hadn't done that. So, after making those alterations, it's been over a week and I don't see them getting any better, possibly more yellow. One of them has got to have over 100 tomatoes growing on vines, but they are rather small.

We did have really bad squirrel issues with all of our plants, I tried sticking wooden skewers along the outer edge of the plants, which worked to an extent. I also had to put rocks on the soil so that the squirrels couldn't pick them up and dig into the roots. I have no idea if this would add to any problem, I didn't think so but now I just can't figure it out.

Any ideas from you avid gardeners would be greatly appreciated! These are what the plants look like..
 

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There are 3 possible things going on and they all three look pretty much alike. The first is overwatering, the second is early blight and the third is spider mites. From these pics I am going to say overwatering because of the heighth of some of the yellow leaves. Early blight starts at the bottom and goes up and spider mites cause more curling to the yellow leaves. The containers themselves may be the cause. You said you had a lot of rain. Perhaps the drain holes in the pot became restricted with mud and it didn't drain properly?
 
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There are 3 possible things going on and they all three look pretty much alike. The first is overwatering, the second is early blight and the third is spider mites. From these pics I am going to say overwatering because of the heighth of some of the yellow leaves. Early blight starts at the bottom and goes up and spider mites cause more curling to the yellow leaves. The containers themselves may be the cause. You said you had a lot of rain. Perhaps the drain holes in the pot became restricted with mud and it didn't drain properly?

I did have the containers directly on cement, so I'm thinking that may have been blocking the drainage holes in the bottom. Atleast somewhat, I lifted the containers by putting some bricks on two sides. Leaving plenty of holes wide open, as well as made some more.

Would you suggest me to do anything else? Or should I just let it dry out?
 
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I did have the containers directly on cement, so I'm thinking that may have been blocking the drainage holes in the bottom. Atleast somewhat, I lifted the containers by putting some bricks on two sides. Leaving plenty of holes wide open, as well as made some more.

Would you suggest me to do anything else? Or should I just let it dry out?
Your plants are now in a somewhat weakened condition thereby sending out an invitation to insects. What I would do is give them a good spraying of liquid seawood and molasses, on both sides of the leaves, once a week. I don't know where you are located but the weather is getting hot and spider mites will be showing up. Seaweed and molasses toughens up the leaf surface and helps deter the mites
 
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Your tomato plants are healthy.
These are just leaves which are old.
You could spray them with Epsom Salts in case they are short of magnesium.
It won't do any harm.
Strip them off to allow air to circulate.
 
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Your tomato plants are healthy.
These are just leaves which are old.
You could spray them with Epsom Salts in case they are short of magnesium.
It won't do any harm.
Strip them off to allow air to circulate.
Bees, it looks like we are going to have to get into the boxing ring over this. How can they be old leaves when they are yellow and turning yellow at the top and the bottom of the plant at the same time, plus it is affecting both large and small leaves?

PS. Send me some cucs. Possums ate mine
 
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Letting the plants dry out for a while will not hurt them. When you see the plant start to get wimp it is time to start watering in again. A little water is better than too much water. Have you tested your soil? In my area it has been very rainy more than usual, which means less watering of the plants.
 
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I'm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. And I haven't tested my soil. I have them planted in a ProMix potting soil. Which said moisture holding on it. I'm not sure if that was the best idea either? As I said.. This is my first try at everything besides peppers, It's certainly a learning experience lol. Any suggestions or opinions I definitely appreciate and need.
 
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I'm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. And I haven't tested my soil. I have them planted in a ProMix potting soil. Which said moisture holding on it. I'm not sure if that was the best idea either? As I said.. This is my first try at everything besides peppers, It's certainly a learning experience lol. Any suggestions or opinions I definitely appreciate and need.
If I remember right ProMix is slightly acidic. If so do as Bees said, drench and spray with Epsom Salt. Also drill a hole big enough for your finger about 1/2 way up from the bottom. See if the soil is wet, not damp but wet. I think you are too far north for spider mites but not sure, ask you nursery. Be patient. Nothing in gardening happens instantly. Are there any plants that are not in pots? If so how are they doing?
 
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I didn't even attempt to plant any plants directly into the ground because I know we have a relentless squirrels around here. The neighbors love to feed them and they think everything is theirs, and consequently.. destroy everything. I figured if I put them in the ground, I'd have much less control over how much they could terrorize my little plants. Despite even the rocks and sticks, they still manage to randomly dig in my bean and pepper plants. Hardly touching the big tomatoes, which i'm assuming is because the sheer size and bushiness of them. So no unpotted plants sadly.

I drilled a finger sized hole in them, the bigger of the two cherry plants (the one with the pictures shown) feels very slightly moist, but on the dryer side now. Yesterday from above the soil did seem to be drying more than the littler one. I would assume because it has a substantial more foliage and tomatoes on it. The smaller one feels moist, not at all on the dry side. However, neither of them at this point feel particularly wet. I would imagine the increased amount of drainage holes, as well as lifting it off the ground and cutting back on watering all helped.

So, I guess my question would be now.. How should I be gauging when to water them? Should I judge that from the top few inches of soil or should i stick my finger in those midsection holes to know when? I was also pondering buying a soil moisture meter to help when know to water, do you think that would be worthwhile? If I did, should I stick the meter into the midsection hole or from up above? When watering these bigger tomatoes is there any certain amount of water I should stay around to be on the safer side? Perhaps less water but more often?

So many questions, I know lol. Again, thanks so much. I will purchase some Epsom salt today too, hopefully that also helps. From what I've read, to do this I would mix say.. a tablespoon of Epsom salt into a gallon of water. What part of the plant should I spray with this mix or should I just use it to water with?
 
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First of all do not go out and by a moisture meter. You already have 10 of them. With the holes you have in your pots all you have to do is stick your finger in the hole, pull it out and blow on it. If you feel a cool sensation the plant does not need watering at that time. What I think happened was that with all the rain, plus the previous waterings your plants became a bit waterlogged. Let them dry out until in the early mornings they are a little bit wilted. Tomatoes like dry feet and by doing this you will slightly stress the plants. When they are a little bit wilted in the morning water them with 1/4 cup epsom salts along with compost tea or liquid organic fertilizer at 1/2 the recommended dose. If the yellowed leaves start to curl and get brittle on the edges cut them off. If your problem is overwatering and a lot of rain, your soil has probably been leached of most of the needed plant nutrients. It would not be amiss to give them a copious amount of dry organic fertilizer at the same time you are applying the Epsom salts and liquid fertilizer. Remember, you cannot overwater a plant but you can and will kill a plant if you water too often
 
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Chuck, you are beyond helpful. I got the epsom salt and put some liquid fertilizer in. But.. I guess now my only issue is.. I just don't know how much water to give it. I absolutely do not want to over water the poor things again. I've read that they should be watered at the base of the main stem in the center. Is this correct to be doing? Should I be watering all of the surface of the soil also? I have a gallon watering jug, I gave the dry larger plant about half a gallon in fear of giving it too much like usual lol. My initial feeling is that I didn't give it enough, but that also got me to where i was before. I can stick my finger in the midsection hole and it doesn't feel anymore moist. But then again I am watering at the center. So would it just take a while to disperse or should I really be adding more water at a time into a 17 gallon container? Might be a silly question!
 
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If it helps, the larger sweet 100 cherry plant is 4.5 feet tall and 5.5 feet wide all around. It's like a big bush lol.
 
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Bees, it looks like we are going to have to get into the boxing ring over this. How can they be old leaves when they are yellow and turning yellow at the top and the bottom of the plant at the same time, plus it is affecting both large and small leaves?
PS. Send me some cucs. Possums ate mine
Sweet 100s are vine tomatoes, and in the UK they would be grown with one central stem, and the side-shoots would be removed.
Krys' climate allows the tomatoes to grow multi-stemmed, (that's why his tomatoes are small) but the central leader is the oldest part of the plant.
Look at the leaves, apart from yellowing, there is hardly a mark on them and most of them are on, or close to, the central stem.
This is not consistent with disease, or with pest predation.
If the plant had been overwatered to the extent that there were that many yellow leaves, some would have dried out and be a straw colour.
So what we have left is age, or possibly, a nutritional deficiency.
I'd have thought, after producing so many tomatoes, that a nutritional deficiency would have shown up in them (cracking, blossom end rot, failure to ripen, or somesuch), but Krys makes no mention of problems on the fruit.
Still, a spray with epsom salts will do little harm, so that's why I suggested it.

Container load of cukes on the way, Chuck! :cool:

Krys: what are you feeding your tomatoes?
 
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Yeah, there is between 50-60 vines on the large plant growing. Each vine seems to make about 15 tomatoes. Some of them just began to ripen within the last week. So all seems on track in that category.

I have a liquid fertilizer that is a 16-19-29 mixture for tomatoes, again I'm entirely new to this and I'm not sure if that's optimum? I just started giving them this about 2 weeks ago when the yellowing started to take over, it freaked me out so I picked up some "tomato" fertilizer that is mixed in with water.

From what i've gathered, nitrogen encourages foliage growth and helps with chlorophyll production, phosphate helps the roots/flowers/fruits, and potassium helps the other two work better and thickens the cell structure and such. And at this stage, I needed something with a lower nitrogen count, and higher count of the other two. Truly, I wasn't so concerned with if it was organic fertilizer or not and I do not believe it is.

Good/bad?
 
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Please read the threads in the Organic Gardening forum on this site named Fertilizers and Fertilizing- What difference does it make. Also the threads about soil and soil fertility. There are many threads there I think you will find quite informative
 
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Yeah, there is between 50-60 vines on the large plant growing. Each vine seems to make about 15 tomatoes. Some of them just began to ripen within the last week. So all seems on track in that category.

I have a liquid fertilizer that is a 16-19-29 mixture for tomatoes, again I'm entirely new to this and I'm not sure if that's optimum? I just started giving them this about 2 weeks ago when the yellowing started to take over, it freaked me out so I picked up some "tomato" fertilizer that is mixed in with water.

From what i've gathered, nitrogen encourages foliage growth and helps with chlorophyll production, phosphate helps the roots/flowers/fruits, and potassium helps the other two work better and thickens the cell structure and such. And at this stage, I needed something with a lower nitrogen count, and higher count of the other two. Truly, I wasn't so concerned with if it was organic fertilizer or not and I do not believe it is.

Good/bad?
Your fertiliser is OK as long as you intend to ditch the soil in your buckets after use.
Personally, I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole.
I make my own tom feed, but you can buy something like this
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Growth-Tech...993&sr=8-2&keywords=organic+tomato+fertiliser
I'm sure Chuck can help with US propietary organic brands.
 
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Yeah usually when the leaves turn yellow it is due to some pests that are killing the roots or they are getting too much water. I have had this happen in my garden on varies plants and it is kind of annoying because I won't water them and there will be like zero rain. I guess my soil is just good enough at trapping water.
 
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