Growing tomatoes in vegetable gardens is a very popular choice among home gardeners, as they can be grown quite easily. Also, caring for these plants is not very difficult. Basically, the main causes of problems with tomatoes are deficiency of nutrients in the soil, diseases, and infestation by fungi, pests, etc. You can identify these problems by simply observing the symptoms. Once you know the underlying cause, you can treat the problem as well. There are some problems which arise due to unsuitable weather conditions. Such problems, unfortunately, cannot be controlled. For all other problems, there are certain treatment options that can help you overcome them. Here are some of the basic problems that are faced while growing tomato plants in your garden
Damage by the Sun
When the tomatoes get over-exposed to the sun, it can cause damage to the fruit. Sometimes, because of high temperature, yellow or green-colored shoulders are developed on the fruit. Chlorophyll present in the shoulder area is not easily broken down. As a result, green patches appear in this region, which later become yellow instead of red. The solution to both the problems is to take proper precautionary measures so that the fruits are not exposed to the heat of the sun. Sun scald is one such problem which arises when there is heavy defoliation or pruning of leaves due to infestations of pests, worms etc.
Deficiency of Phosphorus
This can happen even if the soil of the tomato plant has sufficient amount of phosphorus. The reason is that when the surrounding temperature is very cold, the phosphorus present in the soil cannot be absorbed by the plant. Therefore, it is advisable not to plant tomatoes very early in the season. Plastic mulch can be used to increase the warmth of the soil. Usually, this problem is found in the early part of the growing season. It gets rectified as and when the soil temperature rises, and you do not have to add fertilizer to the soil.
Blossom End Rot
The early symptoms of this disease are slight tan and black spots at the blossom end of the tomato. The size of the spot increases and the fruit rots. This can happen if the temperature is a combination of extreme cold and excessive heat at the time of blossom set. Under such circumstances, deficiency of calcium can take place. It also occurs due to irregular supply of water to the plants, or excessive use of nitrogen fertilizers. In order to manage this problem, all the affected fruits should be removed. Watering the plants properly can prevent the problem from getting worse.
Tomato plants get affected by many different types of diseases. Here we have discussed some of the most commonly found diseases:
- Rot in Roots:
This is caused due to fungal infection. You cannot control the fungus that causes root rotting. Usually, these fungi develop if the drainage of the soil is not proper, or due to excess watering. So, this disease can be controlled by taking proper measures for soil improvement and adequate watering of the plants. You should not plant tomatoes or any other species in areas of the garden that have poor water drainage.
- Bacterial Canker:
The most common symptom of this disease is lowering of the leaves that are located in the lower portion of the stem. Brown-colored streaks often develop at the midribs of the leaves, which may later extend to the stem as well. Many other diseases have similar symptoms. So, to identify bacterial canker, a laboratory test is required. Once the disease is detected, the plant should be destroyed. The diseased plant should not be used for composting.
- Early Blight:
This disease affects the fruits, foliage, and stems of the plants. It is caused by a fungus. Usually, the symptoms show up when the weather is hot. Initially, it attacks the old leaves and black spots appear on them. Then, the affected leaves become dead and fall down. As a result, the fruit suffers sun scald. In case of a heavy infestation, even the stems and fruit come under the attack of the fungus. All the infected plants should be removed from the ground as soon as possible. The debris of the diseased plant should also be removed from the ground. There should be enough space between two plants to help in better air circulation. Sulfur or copper sprays will be useful in controlling further infection.
The most common problems and diseases that occur while growing tomatoes have been mentioned above. Following the solutions for the problems discussed will make growing tomatoes in your garden a simple task. Many of these problems can be eliminated if you follow some simple practices. Keeping the garden free from any plant debris, removing all weeds on time, regularly rotating crops in the garden, etc., are steps that will not only keep away infestations of pests and insects, but will also help yield healthy tomatoes.