15 July 2008

Oh Hell

Disasters in our garden are never minor. Never. The first year it was groundhogs, drought, and incompetence. The second year it was squash bugs and black walnut poison. This year, well, we're not sure what it is but we don't like it. Below are some shots of a squash plant and tomato plant that are looking terribly suspect. We have a list of possibilities and what their causes are, but no solutions. Meg believes it may be some kind of mosaic virus on both plants, but can't say for sure.

If any of you know what the hell is going on and maybe know of a solution that doesn't require moving, we'd greatly appreciate it.



The squash leaves that look like this feel brittle and dry. The stems leading to the leaves look okay, and there is no insect damage on them.



The worst looking tomato leaves are towards the bottoms of the plants, and they feel tough and kind of leathery. No bugs on them, either.

19 comments:

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Oh jeez. Wow. I just don't know. But how's about I think lots of good thoughts for youse guys so you don't have to move? That'd be helpful, right? :-)

Briel said...

Not that all the doomsday scenarios couldn't be right, and I don't know about the squash. But...
My tomatoes sometimes will look like that for a few days. Someone told me it might be from uneven watering. I.e. rain. The heirlooms esp. do this. Then in about a week they're all normal again. So, just a hopeful note.

meg's mom said...

Oh geez, I'm not sure what's going on either. The white spots look a little like the powdery mildew that attacks my Phlox plants every year. But I'm not sure I've ever heard of it being on vegetables. Sure hope things turn around. Fingers crossed!

meg's mom said...

found these two sites that describe powdery mildew. Maybe it's not even your problem but worth checking out.

http://ag.arizona.edu/yavapai/anr/hort/byg/archive/powderymildewonvegetables.html

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7406.html

Cheryl said...

Hi! I often check out your site....am very fascinated in what both of you seem to accomplish.

I think that someone may have been right when they spoke of a mosaic virus. It looks similar to CMV...which is the cucumber mosaic virus.

Good luck to you guys and don't give up!

s said...

if it's not the virus: the yellow sections look like a potassium/magnesium deficiency. the squash, possibly a lack of manganese because of the brown spots. kelp is a good organic source to correct this deficiency. for the potassium, you can throw a pile of swiss chard or comfrey in a blender with hot water, then strain through cheesecloth. let it cool, then water the plants. epsom salts are a good source of magnesium, use 1 tablespoon in a gallon of water.

hope this helps. i've been enjoying your blog for awhile now.

Lewru said...

The bottom picture looks like physiological leaf roll - has it been rainy? It's been very wet here and mine have it on the bottom. They've grown out of it, though, and it hasn't affected production. Herbicide drift can also cause curling and distortion in leaves. Not sure on the leaf discoloration...

Katie said...

I would discount powdery mildew. Not sure about mosaic virus...

Our heirloom tomatoes have done the leaf curl thing too, and they're still producing...

Good luck

Kelly said...

It's not powdery mildew, I get that on my squash plants almost every year, but haven't yet this season (fingers crossed). I'd try the supplement for potassium/magnesium/manganese. s had good suggestions for that. Do you have a compost tea going? I forgot to make mine this year.

The tomatoes look like mine, and I do believe it's just from too much water and they'll bounce back. The leaves curl when they get waterlogged. I trim a lot of branches out of my plants, and that seems to help a bit.

el said...

Not sure what's going on with the squash, but my tomatoes do that when they get water then don't get water. A day or two later they seem to recover. Not that I am saying you don't have some spooky disease or another, I just wouldn't reach that conclusion until the things were absolutely dead. And they're obviously not so don't sweat it.

Vegmonkey said...

Hi, the tomatoes look like they need a damn good watering, my leaves curled up like that a couple if weeks ago.I could be wrong tho.

Alan said...

My tomatoes are doing the same thing. Posted a bit about what I've found. http://www.robertsroostecofarm.com/2008/07/tomato-leaf-curl.html
I'll look back in to see what you come up with.

Taylor said...

Sent this post to my dad, a plant pathologist, to see what he thought. Here's his response:

The last tomato twisted leaf looks like virus…which one? Could be tobacco mosaic , cucumber mosaic or spotted wilt. I had spotted wilt which makes “bulls eye” patterns on the fruit and also curls the leaves. The yellow spots could be nutritional. I don’t see fungal signs yet. Frankly nothing can be done except to prevent by planting resistant varieties, have a soil test, yada yada yada. Send diseased plants to the state diagnostic lab at the land grant university. Call your county agent for instructions on how to do that.

Melinda said...

Well, I was going to say tomato leaf curl, but the pathologist would know for sure! And you should send a sample to your local university master gardener or pathology dept. You can usually send it to them in plastic bag - they like it better if you also send them a photo of the whole plant.

The squash problem is not mildew - I've had that. It looks like a deficiency of some kind... have you tested your soil? That you have problems with both completely different species suggests to me that there may be a deficiency. Even if the two plants have totally different diseases, a soil deficiency could have made them more susceptible.

Melinda said...

PS if you don't want to go as far as sending something in the mail, you can usually email them. Most Master Gardener programs have a troubleshooting line via phone and email. Generally if they don't know how to help, they'll tell you who to contact.

Judy said...

Regarding your tomatoes: Look at all the plants. Do they all have leaf curl? Probably water stress - either too much or too little. Only one or two plants? Probably virus (transfer by sucking type insect, unless you have swarms of sucking type insects). Something-cide drift can cause leaf curl, but you would probably know if your neighbors were spraying, and they would have to be very close neighbors.
Regarding your squash: Looks like mosaic. When discarding, be sure to throw away, not compost.
Nice site. I'm bookmarking you.

alpineflower said...

Delurking to say quote this from another garden blogger about tomatoes: "They benefit greatly from an extra dose of fertilizer (hopefully organic, but whatever you have will work) right about now, after they have set a few baby fruits. In addition, about a tablespoon per plant of bone meal, and a tablespoon per plant of Epsom salts -- the kind you get at the drug store or supermarket to soak your turned ankle in. It is magnesium sulfate. If you have some coffee grounds, add a bunch of those, too. Slightly scratch it all into the soil near your plant and water in. Your tomatoes will thank you, and the bone meal and Epsom salt regimen helps to prevent blossom end rot, which is the heartbreaking condition of your tomato JUST ABOUT RIPENING, and then rotting on the bottom. Makes you want to cry, it does.

It's also a good idea to remove the bottom layer of leaves right about now. That helps to prevent fungal disease that might splash up from the soil, increases air flow around the plants which also helps prevent fungal spread, and lets more energy go upward to the fruits, more blossoms, and top leaves of the plant."

miriam said...

i showed the pictures to my friend who is a biologist---it's hard to tell from the pictures...but she said she's not sure about the tomato--but the squash might have a calcium deficiency---might add some bone meal. or it could be a tobacco mosaic virus ( which is bad and means to have to rip up the diseased plants because it will spread to everything in that family. keep us posted. check out my blog---i've got a post scheduled on the damage to my lettuce.

Kelly said...

So, as Meg stated in a later post, we decided to go with the Epsom Salt and just recently we also did some heavy pruning. The results are looking good. We have yet to get the soil tested and to be honest, I'm afraid of what we may find out if we do. I swear to you that we sometimes feel that the dirt around here is plagued. Well, that may be a bit dramatic, but I'm sure you all have had similar up hill feelings.

However, the magnesium boost seems to be working. I can't even begin to say how grateful we are for all your help. Thanks.