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Yellow leaves on Brandywine

I am a very new gardener, and I bought some brandywine tomatoe plants from a local nursery. They seemed very healthy and green and not root-bound when I bought them. I transferred them to larger pots with straight compost (is this bad?) for about a week before putting them in the ground.

I have two questions:

(1) They seem to have lost the vibrant green color they had when I brought them home--they are a light green now. Is this a bad sign?
(2) About a week after I put them in the ground, the bottom leaves of all of the Brandywine tomatoes started to turn yellow. I also bought some Bradley tomatoes and gave them the same treatment, and they don't seem to have this problem (yet). Is there any hope?

Here in zone 7, it's been pretty cool lately with some heavy rains on and off. Root rot? Fusarium wilt? I've got a great book (The Vegetable Gardener's Bible) but no experience!
 
Hi, afibert & Welcome! Three possible scenarios:

(1) Either straight compost transplant mix burned roots or soil was just too heavy and "suffocated" or "drowned" roots. Causing leaves to yellow and/or fall off or;

(2) You planted them out too early. Weather is still so unpredictable (as you already noted). I'm in 6B/7 (central Jersey), and I won't plant mine out till at least Mother's day or later. (Managing to keep em happy right now in greenhouse...don't think they wanna be moved! Smiler

(3) Plain ole "root disturbance". Each time you transplant something, no matter how experienced you get, some plants will suffer more transplant shock than others. Also, Brandy's can be pretty finicky. Maybe cause they're heirlooms and more susceptible to lottsa things. (But they're worth it!)

Possible suggestion to nurse yours along: Don't add any more compost. Spritz leaves with compost tea (if you can make your own) or some liquid kelp or fish/kelp mix (can get either at MOST better nurseries); make little greenhouses for plants (cut out gallon milk/water jugs; make little "Hoophouse" (search Forums about how to make this & compost tea). You wanna keep soil warm.
I think that's the main culprit here. [u]Soil too cool and wet[/u]. An indispensible tool for me has been a soil thermometer. You don't want that soil temp to go below 50 (for 'maters, anyway).
Keep us posted how they're comin along. Smiler And, someone's always here to answer any follow up questions you may have. Good Luck!!!


gardenz
 
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Thanks so much for taking the time to respond! Your thoughts are a big help to me--I can't even tell the difference yet between a stressed plant and a diseased one. When I have more questions, I'll definitely be back!

afilbert in Middle TN
 
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My tomatoes--all of them, not just the Brandywines--are doing terribly!!! This includes the four more I planted since my original message. They have now all developed an insipid yellowish-green color, and the bottom leaves continue to turn yellow. There aren't that many leaves left to pinch off! They have grown very little since we planted them almost four weeks ago.

We had a storm a few days ago with very heavy rains and very high winds. It dumped a lot of water. The tomatoes seemed to descend even further after this experience (in that they seemed to lose color). I noticed this morning that they had dirt caked on the undersides of their leaves and on their stems, which had been there now for several days. I washed it off. I'm sure this has happened before, as we'd had the same types of storms recently, and the plants are still very small (four to six inches tall). Is this significant?

Please forgive me--I have not yet taken your advice to add compost tea or use mini-greenhouses. At this point, I want to know if there is any hope. Since the tomatoes have been stressed for almost a month now, should I pull them up and start over? How can I make sure this doesn't happen again?

Thanks for your help! If I can manage it at all, I really, really want tomatoes this summer!

PS--My bell pepper plants seem green and happy. Also, a neighbor's tomato plants seem to be growing well (they're taller).

PPS--My dirt looks like the moon (dry and somewhat cracked) several hours after I water. Is this normal?
 
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