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What’s Wrong With My Tomato Plants?

Love growing tomato plants, but frustrated by how quickly they can suddenly turn bad and wilt, brown up or even die? Learn to recognize some of the common problems with tomatoes before they “go south”.  Below is selected information from the Colorado State University Extension Office. For their complete list of Common Tomato Plant problems, Click Here.

Quick Facts:

  • Tomatoes are an easy and popular vegetable to grow.
  • Tomato problems may be caused by nutrient deficiencies, diseases, fungi or insects.
  • Assess the symptoms, then make the appropriate treatment.
  • Good cultural practices can reduce or eliminate many problems.

In general, for healthy tomatoes:

  • Improve garden soil by adding organic material such as compost.
  • Use disease-resistant varieties.
  • Eliminate competition from weeds.
  • Keep the plant growing vigorously with proper water and nutrients.
  • Keep the garden clean of plant debris.
  • Rotate crops.
  • Space plants for maximum air circulation.
  • Monitor for pests.

Failure to follow one or more of these steps can lead to pest problems. To manage pests, identify the source of the problem by assessing the symptoms.

Common Tomato Problems

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Phosphorus deficiencies  occur early in the growing season when soil is still cool. Phosphorus is abundant in our soils but may be unavailable to the plant when the soil is too cold. Don’t plant tomatoes too early in the season. Use plastic mulch to warm the soil. Once soil temperatures rise, the problem usually corrects itself.



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Tomato or tobacco hornworms are large, green or gray-green caterpillars with white to tan v-shaped or dashed markings on their sides. A green to reddish horn protrudes from the hind end. They are voracious feeders, stripping leaves from stems and even eating unripe fruit. Pick them off by hand. The caterpillars are susceptible to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), as well as to many common vegetable insecticides.



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Early blight (Alternaria leaf spot) is caused by the fungus Alternaria solani. Symptoms become prevalent during the hotter months. This disease produces brown to black, target-like spots on older leaves. If severe, the fungus also attacks stems and fruit. Affected leaves may turn yellow, then drop, leaving the fruit exposed to sunburn. Sanitation is the best control. Remove all diseased plant tissue on the ground, as the fungus overwinters on leaf debris. Do not plant tomatoes in the same place next year. Space plants farther apart to improve air circulation. Avoid overhead irrigation. If the infestation is heavy, sulfur dust may help protect new leaves from infection.

For the complete list of Common Tomato Plant problems, Click Here.

Simple Tip: Poll Says Mother’s Day Gifts Should Focus On Family
The Simple Solutions Diva herself, Laura Morey!

Going crazy trying to find the right gift for Mom on Mother’s Day? Stay away from store bought gifts and lean towards more meaningful family time with her, says an informal poll by, the site for simple solutions and ideas for the home, kitchen, garden and more, asked Facebook followers one question:

What would be your IDEAL Mother’s Day Gift to receive? (Just pretend you could have anything without feeling guilty!)  Answer Options Were:

  • A Store Bought Gift
  • A Homemade/Child-made gift
  • A Family Experience (like a family outing or Brunch/Dinner out)
  • A Personal Service (like a mani/pedi or spa treatment)
  • A Day To Yourself (To do whatever YOU want)

Out of 51 responses, 22 people responded Family Experience, with Personal Service a close second, with 17 responses. A Day To Yourself came in at 7 responses, with Homemade/Child-made gift sneaking in 5 responses.

Highlighting, perhaps, the fact that Moms value time, relationships and rest, absolutely no one selected A Store Bought Gift.  Far from a scientific poll, the results did offer some fun personal comments from moms:

“A big honkin’ gift card so I could buy all the other things on the list (and the day to myself to spend it)!!!!!”

“I believe I would enjoy the Spa treatment deal since my eye brows now look like caterpillars.”

I would like a maid, personal chef, nanny, and a driver. Is that too much to ask?”

“Cards and gifts were fun when the kids were little. Now I’d like a day to work on mini/dollhouse projects.”

“When my kids were little I would have cherished the homemade gift, but now that they are much older, and I work full-time plus some, I would love a day to just BE.”

Join Laura Morey, your Simple Solutions Diva, each week on Saturday where she features a new video highlighting simple ideas, recipes, or products that can make life easier.  “Keep it simple, make life easier, and enjoy your time.”

Spring Project Ideas: Home Depot’s Project Round-Up

Laura Morey Launches New Website –

Simple Solutions Diva is a home-life/lifestyle tips source. Represented on the web through: (launched October 2012)
• Facebook (Facebook/Simple Solutions Diva)
• Twitter (@SimpleSolutionD)
• Pinterest (SimpleSolutionsDiva)

Once a week, Simple Solutions Diva posts video blogs (vlogs) focusing on various Simple Solutions for around the home, kitchen, garden and more. Vlogs will appear on website and Facebook pages; links will be provided on Pinterest and Twitter. Topics include:

Simple Recipes Once a month, our vlog will feature a simple recipe that is easy to make, requires few ingredients, or is just too yummy to pass up. Most recipes will be seasonally driven.

Simple Gadgets Once a month, our vlog will feature a great product that is simple in design, makes doing something around the home simple and easy, or is time-saving for the user.

Simple Ideas/Simple Products Our vlog will feature ideas or products that are time saving, money saving, or simple to do. These may include gadgets or kitchen products, or they may just be suggestions on how to do something a simple way.

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