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Well, that's a good basic mix. It shouldn't lack magnesium in any way. Cutting back on the feeding - Tomorite is very high in potassium, which can thwart the take-up of magnesium, as Dove suggested - should be a big help.

Toms outdoors in the ground are less prone to these sorts of nutrient conflicts - though not immune to them - because the roots, in the ground, can effectively find what they need somewhere in the soil around them. Roots in containers are trapped and can only access whatever you give them. On top which there's the problem of nurtients leaching from the mix with every watering.

That said, there's also a leaf mould problem, and that is greenhouse-specific. It's why the outdoor plants are fine. I think you probably ran into a perfect storm of fungus and nutrient deficiency, Gard.




Re feeding the toms with Tomorite (or any other brand for that matter). I have only been feeding them once a week, at the recommended dose rate. If that is too much, how often should I feed them (bearing in mind that the outdoor toms, & one in the conservatory - as previously mentioned identical to those in the greenhouse - have been given identical treatment, without any problems)?

There is obviously something else going on - probably the mould you suggest - and I need a way to find out what. It's a mystery that I need to resolve, or it's likely to raise its ugly head again.

As well as spraying ES on the leaves yesterday, I also gave the greenhouse / conservatory toms a good soak (I used a mini watering can - capacity 0.7 litres - per plant. Does this qualify as a 'good soak'?), directly and carefully to the roots, without splashing. This is the first watering in 4 days. I'll check them again at the weekend.

I'll keep up a running commentary on what I'm doing, when, and any results - a sort of scientific experiment! Hopefully, this will help myself and others.

Thanks again,


The bottom line with feeding toms is that that they're not "hungry" plants. You'll see it said around the internet that they are but it's more of the misinformation that floats around the ether.

Container plants need more food than plants in the ground for an obvious reason. Every time you water a container plant you leach out some of the nutrients. They dribble out the drainage hole in the bottom of the container with the excess water. They need to be replenished.

The same doesn't apply to plants growing outdoors in limitless soil. Those nutrients stay in the soil - not forever, obviously, but they're present for the roots to access until they're exhausted and that can take months. Bearing in mind, also, that decent soil has a whole nutrient supply of its own to offer the plant.

So given that toms aren't "hungry" in the first place, you could safely feed container plants maybe once a month. Certainly not once a week. The roots would barely get a rest from the nutrients before more arrive. The plant doesn't need that, and, ultimately, it does more harm than good. There's an old tomato adage that more toms are killed by over-feeding than by neglect.

Most serious growers only feed their outdoor toms three times in a season. First, a week or so after planting; second, when the first fruit starts to set; third, late in the season to replenish the soil for the plants that are, by then, starting to tire. This presupposes decent soil in the first place and yours is more than decent.

Only you can determine, by observation, the container plants' water needs. Were the plants showing any signs of distress? Had the mix dried out completely? Anyway, four days sounds reasonable and far preferable to every day. A "good soak" means exactly that. Saturating a dry - not still damp - mix until water trickles out the bottom of the container.

One of the advantages of growing toms outdoors in the garden is that you can drive the roots down deep into the soil - both away from the warmth/heat of the surface, and deep enough to access the soil's inherent goodness. Infrequent but very deep watering is the way to go outside. I'm now watering mine - about 10 hours a day of baking Tuscan sun peaking in the high-30sC - very very deeply every three days.

You'd have to have the crook leaves tested to determine exactly what happened. Plants weakened in any way - by a deficiency, by over-feeding or over-watering - are more vulnerable to disease than plants healthy in themselves. As in humans, lowered resistance is an invitation to disease.

My guess is that the over-feeding and over-watering, combined with a possible deficiency, left the plant vulnerable to a disease that's very very common in greenhouses. You're heading in the right direction in terms of working against it happening again.




i have just watched beechgrove garden on iplayer and some of the tomato problems are due to lack of light this year, i dont know if this helps


Lack of sunlight will certainly hinder their development. To perform at their absolute best, tomato plants need 6 to 8 hours a day of sunlight. They will perform - produce - with less but the performance drops as the hours do.


Not a good weekend.

Although I'm following all of the advice, the problem persists unabated. On some plants the more serious form of leaf problem is approximately 2/3 the way up the plant. Most of the leaves are now completely yellow and the worst are more brown than yellow, and are hanging limp. How much of these affected leaves should I remove? If I take too many, I might not have any leaves left.

On one of the tomato plants, although there has been a good growth of flowers, the flowers/petals have dropped off and have left tiny pinhead fruits on all of the sets. These fruits are not getting any bigger. Research seems to suggest that this is 'Dry Set'. The suggested cause is the air being too hot & dry. This plant is right next to the door, which has been left wide open every day, and as for it being too hot and dry - the only sunshine I've had is the wet stuff.

The plant next to this one has yet another problem - 'Blossom Drop' - the flowers are breaking off at the nuckle. Suggested problem - dryness at the roots and in the air - suggested remedy is watering regularly spraying the flowers.

My one large tomato plant in the conservatory - well away from all of the other plants - not only has 'Blossom Drop', but is also developing a nice collection of lighter coloured spots over the most of the lower leaves. I haven't discovered what that is yet.

The way things are developing, I will shortly be an expert on tomato problems, but not on actually growing them, as at this rate, it looks like I will not have a tomato plant left.

Unfortunately removing diseased leaves is the only means you have of slowing the disease's spread. For that matter, the disease is defoliating the plant anyway, so it's one and the same thing. No one knows how many healthy leaves a plant needs for sufficient photosynthesis but the question usually becomes academic anyway if the disease has a grip.

Undeveloped fruit isn't uncommon. I've got some on a couple of my plants. It's a pain in the backside in one case because I need to save seeds from that plant this season. Blossom drop can have many causes - lack of pollination, too much humidity, too much fertiliser, and so on. I tend to get it here because of excess heat. When the temp is 42C+ for the plants, something's gotta give.

This could be a tomato annus horribilis for you, Gard, which would be a shame. Unfortunately it's part and parcel of growing toms. I've had more than my share.

Thank you for the comments Italophile.

It would be interesting to know if I'm the only one having these problems, or if others are sharing my problems!


Fungal problems, in particular, hit every tomato grower, Gard. They would certainly account for most of the tomato threads around here. Growing indoors only increases the chances of problems because it's an environment that plays into the spores' sticky, grubby little hands.

Hi my tomato leaves look like yours. I always get problems but not so early in the year. I think I grow them to close together as I have a tiny green house which is very old. I also share it with my cat. He likes to sleep in it ! 


Miss Becks

Gard, I'm going to add onto your thread with my leaf problem, as it has a great thread title and pictures, which people can use/compare for reference if they wish.

I have noticed the last couple of days my leaves getting sort of white/mouldy looking, and today shows signs of brown. On top of that, the leaves at the top have all started to curl inwards. They are in multi-purpose compost. My peppers now have little white spots on the leaves as well if this helps. They are next to each other.

I've added a few pictures. Hopefully someone will recognize what it is for me. Thankyou






 Thanks again.

Becks. xx


Becks, curling of the top leaves of toms is common, often caused by over-watering and/or too much fertiliser.

The peppers. It's hard to tell even after magnifying the photo, but the white spots don't look like scorching on the leaves. Are the spots powdery and on the leaf surface? Or are the spots sunken?

Do the toms - and the peppers for that matter - live indoors or outdoors? The toms have a leaf mould problem. It's a very good housekeeping idea to take off the lower branches to maintain at least a foot of clear air/space between the lowest branch and the soil.

The second last photo is a good example. The two lowest branches shouldn't be there. The second lowest branch - pointing towards the camera - is the diseased one and you can also see early signs of disease on the lowest one pointing away from the camera. Fungal spores will drop from the leaves to the soil. Maintaining at least a foot between the lowest branch and the soil helps against the spores splashing back up onto the leaves when watering.

In the meantime, all you can do is remove the affected foliage - including the branches that shouldn't even have been there! - and look for as much air circulation as possible.

Miss Becks

Hi Italophile,

Well, you haven't mentioned the 'B' word, so that's a relief! They are all outside permanantly now, but I move them round to get the sun when it's out. But always keep them close together. Do I just pull/tear those branches below off, or should I do a clean cut with my secataurs?

The pepper leave spots aren't powdery, but are a little sunken. When you lift the lift, they are a little translucent. You can just see them on the other side. But it's only that one plant. The other 5-6 haven't got it.

I'll spread them all out a bit, as in the evening, I move them next to a wall by the house, all bunched together on a table. They've only been outside a couple of weeks.They were all sowed later than usual from seed.

Glad the curling leaves are ok though. I only ever fed them once, with a tomato feed, and it wasn't a lot. Maybe 30ml's at the most. They haven't flowered yet as they were late starters, so haven't bothered with the feed, as advised on the forums.





Always use secateurs or scissors to remove branches or even just foliage. Make a nice clean cut. Removing by hand can tear plant tissue. 

When you say the "B" word, you mean Blight? As I've posted here before, "Blight" has become a generic term for fungal disease. There are only two real Blights - Early and Late. You have neither, the symptoms don't fit yours. But it's clearly some sort of fungal disease. I'd keep as much space between at all times - including nighttime - to aid air circulation.

I thought the pepper spots might be early symptoms of something like Powdery Mildew but they're obviously not. PM spots are powdery on the leaf surface. Do they in any way resemble the spots visible on the less-affected lowest branch (pointing away from the camera) in the second last photo?

Miss Becks

Just took some pics of the affected leaves for you of the pepper plant.







 Hope these help. yes, I did mean Blight. I saw the brown on the tomato leaves, that's what made me think that.



It's definitely necrotic tissue. Is it my grubby monitor or are there some brown crusty bits developing within the margins of some of the larger spots?

Miss Becks

I don't think it's your monitor. Might be my camera. Only a cheap and cheerful thing. I've just had a look, and there are no crusty bits. When you rub a spot it's totally smooth all over. I did see a tiny little mite on a leaf though. About the size of a spider mite, but yellowy orange.

An update. Since my comments on 16/7/12, I have removed all of the badly affected leaves, leaving only the top healthier section. This seems to have stabilised the remaining leaves on all the plants (they are no worse). However there is no obvious new growth or sets.

I replaced a greenhouse tomato plant (the one with the dry set) with an outdoor tomato plant yesterday. I will keep you informed as to how they get on.

It has been suggested that temperatures for greenhouse tomatoes should not exceed 25 degrees centigrade. Yesterday, with the door and all of the vents wide open, new painted shading, and the greenhouse floor well damped down, it got above 49 degrees centigrade. Without installing insulation and air con, I'm unlikely to keep under 25 degrees. Any ideas?

My conservatory tomato plant started getting white spots over the lower leaves, but they were actual spots, not the blotches on Becks peppers. I cut off the affected leaves straight away and the problem seems to have stopped.

Something I have noticed with the very recent blaze of sunshine is that anything in pots, especially in a greenhouse or conservatory, start to wilt very quickly. The smaller the pot, the quicker they dry out. Large to very large pots are far less prone. Thus far I have managed to rescue several plants (giving them extra water) before they went past the point of no return. Be vigilant, but don't over water, and keep them away from a window. They will scorch if they are too close.

With the lack of bright light and sunshine we've had this year until now, I'm afraid all our plants (even the outdoor ones) may be very soft and susceptible to scorch - shading in this sunshine will be important!

Insomnia1973 wrote (see)

I don't think it's your monitor. Might be my camera. Only a cheap and cheerful thing. I've just had a look, and there are no crusty bits. When you rub a spot it's totally smooth all over. I did see a tiny little mite on a leaf though. About the size of a spider mite, but yellowy orange.

Possibly a Red Spider Mite, they're pretty much an orange colour and they love peppers. Here are a couple:

I've been wondering about insect damage because the spots don't look particularly fungal or bacterial. Have a look on the undersides of the leaves. It's usually where they hang out.