Re: [tomato] Fruit unripened and plants are withering

Margaret Lauterbach (
Mon, 14 Jul 1997 13:40:24 -0600

At 03:17 PM 7/14/97 -0400, you wrote:
>>My plants (4 different kinds of heirlooms) grew well, flowered and set
>>fruit, but the leaves started withering from the bottom up--turning yellow
>>and then drying up.
>Almost certainly early blight. Look for spots on the affected leaves with a
>bullseye look. Your choices are few: remove the yellowed branches and
>treat with a fungicide recommended by your local garden center (if you use
>chemicals). Keep the foilage dry by watering only at the base, thus
>discouraging additional fungus growth. As I understand it, the fungicide
>works better as a preventative measure than a corrective treatment, but it
>may keep it from getting worse and it will help prevent later fungal
>problems like late blight. Heirlooms may also be more sensitive to fungal
>disease-- my own limited experience says unless you have ideal growing
>conditions to stay away from heirlooms until you've got lots of experience
>with tomato cultivation, or at least grow them with VFN hybrids to maximize
>your chances of getting a harvest at all. Heirlooms taste great but are
>very sensitive to disease and growing conditions and can be a real headache
>if everything is not ideal.
>Good luck.
>Paul & Kathy Lasakow
>Norfolk, Virginia
>"One-fifth of the People are against everything all of the time".
> -Robert Kennedy
If heirlooms were sensitive to disease they wouldn't be around. They are
not proven to be resistant to disease because it is not economically
feasible for someone to pay a university researcher to prove it. I would
rather grow heirlooms (and do) than hybrids because hybrids have their own
alleged sensitivities. "That cold night," or "those hot days"...any excuse
for poor performance, and I've heard them all.

You can;t save your own seeds from hybrids and replicate the desirable
tomato. Seed costs continue to rise and rise. What happens if a disease
wipes out the parent strains of the hybrids? You'd better hope some people
are growing heirlooms and saving seeds. Margaret