[Market-farming] Tomato transplant disaster!

idyllwild farm idyllwildfarm at gmail.com
Sun May 20 07:49:53 EDT 2012

one thought that comes to mind is that you should bag some plants
and call your local extension and see if they can send them on to
the diagnostic lab at your land grant university...

On Sun, May 20, 2012 at 5:26 AM, Marlin & Christine Burkholder <
burkholders at glenecofarm.com> wrote:

> ** **
> *I am having what amounts to a major disaster in my high tunnel planted
> tomatoes this spring! I am having die off of plants transplanted three
> weeks to a month ago. Inspection of the roots reveals that about an inch of
> stem below the soil line has begun rotting and collapsing causing sudden
> death of the plant. I would estimate that I have lost upwards of 1/3rd of
> my plants in one house and it looks like I am going to lose more. I posted
> here one day last week and several responded that it is damping off. The
> damp off I am familiar with happens in the greenhouse soon after young
> plants have come up. I don't think you would see damp off of 18 inch to two
> foot tall plants, some of which had tomatoes on approaching the size of
> golf balls. I have heard of warnings about putting fertilizer too close to
> stems at transplanting. I had put about two tablespoons of "Plant Tone" (an
> all organic product) mixed in the soil around the top of the roots at
> transplanting. I have done this for years and never had trouble. Once about
> 15 years ago I had a similar problem when I transplanted tomatoes through
> plastic mulch into ground that had one foot tall red clover plowed down
> about a week or two before. I figured that that was triggered by too much
> bacterial activity in the soil breaking down the clover and also attacking
> the tomatoes. The soil in one high tunnel had been amended, tilled, and
> plastic mulched last fall and did not have an excess of freshly decomposing
> organic matter in the root zone. The other high tunnel had not been mulched
> and was planted to over wintered spinach last fall and it had lettuce
> plugged into it in very early spring. I had seen about 5% die off of
> lettuce soon after transplanting to some similar type of root rot but it
> was nothing to be alarmed about. There is some tomato loss in that house
> but not nearly as bad as in the plastic mulched one.
> Now I am wondering what the heck is going on and what should I do about
> it! I'm thinking of buying some replacement plants and soaking the roots in
> some sort of fungicide before putting them back in the holes. I would also
> spray fungicide at the base of the plants that are still living. I would
> rather not use something chemical. We do have an abundance of forage
> mustard growing in other areas of the field which was planted for the
> purpose of natural soil fumigation. Would it work to make up an infusion of
> it and spray it on the soil? I need to pick some brains here!
> Marlin Burkholder
> Shenandoah Valley
> Virginia*
> ** **
> ****
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