The Tomato Apocalypse continues. My backyard is the nightshade version of The Walking Dead... minus the overt child negligence and constant Bad Life Choices. And, sadly, it looks like I’d have a better chance surviving the zombie apocalypse than I would ridding my garden of this pandemic.

Another wilting plant, just as the tomatoes started to ripen. Its neighbours were uprooted and disposed of as soon as they started wilting but I am going to leave this one and see what happens, especially because I never waited long enough to see any symptoms in these guys besides the wilt. Maybe allowing the disease to progress- since I seem to be losing my plants anyways despite of all of the precautions I’ve been taking- will allow me to better diagnose just what the heck is going on here.


The Tomato Wilt Apocalypse

I lost 3 of my tomato plants recently to what I think may have been fusarium wilt. As per the Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada: “as first fruit begins to ripen… one shoot often dies first. Fungus enters from soil into roots, goes up into stems, and plugs them so they wilt”. That’s pretty much what happened, and very suddenly.

I pulled out the first plant that showed symptoms for fear that it would infect its neighbours. Two of them got it, anyways, and it looks like a third might be en route to Wiltsville as well.

Uncle Google has told me a few things about this, although I am not sure what’s true in all of it:

  1. Remove affected plants as soon as possible and dispose of them far from the garden (ie. in the garbage, or burn them).
  2. Do not plant tomatoes in that spot again, as the soil remains infected. Some sites recommend chemical sprays, but I’m not into that.
  3. Do not reuse stakes.
  4. Disinfect your hands and gardening equipment between tomato plants.
  5. Try to avoid getting the leaves wet when watering (i.e. water them right at the base) and try to prevent them from touching the soil.
  6. Mulch at the base of the plant to avoid soil “splash-back” onto leaves when watering.

I am still not sure what happened, especially since there was no “dropping off” of lower leaves first, or leaf discolouration. Some sites also state that over-watering can cause wilting- but the plants around were happy and thriving so I doubt that this was the case.

HAPPY ENDING: The lady at Ecology Park (the best spot in Peterborough) took pity on me when I asked her about this and gave me 4 (free!) plants of a breed of tomato called Defiant, which is supposed to be resistant to the micro-organisms that cause this silliness. I planted 2 in containers and 2 in the spots where the old tomatoes were, just as a test.

I lay them to rest at the side of the house










Ah, Garden Drama. 

R.I.Peas: So it turns out that overheating is a thing

I accidentally toasted my dill, pea, and pepper seedlings. It was clear and sunny with a high of 19 degrees Celsius. I brought my sprouts outside with their clear plastic lid on tight to really give them some juice. I thought, “plants like warmth and sun. Therefore, if I near-incinerate them in this plastic box of death, they will surely be happy and grow for it”.

Dead Dill Pubes

At the end of the day, I brought them back in to see that my robust seedlings had wilted into sad little dead green pubes. Oops. I feel awful. I feel like that jerk who leaves his dog in the car with  not so much as a window cracked while he shops for 6 hours at Linens-N-Things.

I asked Uncle Google about this and he told me that greenhouses for tropical and fruit plants should range between 60-80 F (16-27 C), while houseplants, plants for leaves or roots, shrubs and overwintering plants tend to prefer 45-75 F (7-24 C).

I should never be allowed to supervise children

The folks at Gro Domes greenhouse systems say that “it takes but one hot hour to destroy all your work. It is better to leave your greenhouse open, and have it be a little cool, than to kill your plants with heat”.

I’m going to leave some of the poor little guys to see if they bounce back. While replanting the rest, I brainstormed some puns to honour the memory of my fallen friends. I thought of “R.I.Peas” and “Rest in Peas” and then I realized that’s basically the same thing. Seedling Fail and Pun Fail, all in less that 24 hours.

LESSON: In greenhouse conditions, prop the lid a bit or leave it off entirely for ventilation, and make sure there is some shade if the sun is blazing.