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My plants are dying from the bottom up

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Posted: 8/11/2014 5:33 PM

My plants are dying from the bottom up 


For two years now I have planted tomatoes cucumbers beans and squash and they start great. But, the plants are dying from the bottom up. What I mean is all the leaves are dying and falling off. I used top soil, garden soil, fertilizer and nutrients all mixed together. And still they are dying before the season is up. I don't know what to do. I do understand this season is a bust. I just don't know what to do to fix it. Can anyone give me instruction? crazy Unable to fix HELP!!
I am a novice gardener and am in zone 6. Michigan weather is unpredictable and I planted late this year,2014. I looked up the USDA hardiness zone and it listed me as 6a.

Last edited 8/23/2014 10:29 PM by loveofpets

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Posted: 8/11/2014 6:27 PM

Re: My plants are dying from the bottom up 


Are the leaves drying from the tips and edges? If yes, it might be salt burn from too much fertilizer, that would require you to flush the "salt" out with much water. If that isn't the problem, then hopefully one of the other gardeners here can come up with a solution.

Suggestion: Please attach a "signature line" to your username that contains your location and USDA hardiness zone. That way we can all tell where you're from and maybe be more precise in a solution.

High desert grass and shrubland, zone 5, cold desert of Northern Nevada. 
Reporting live from the deadly Forty Mile Desert of Nevada.
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Posted: 8/12/2014 7:10 AM

Re: My plants are dying from the bottom up 


What kind of squash? Summer like yellow straightnecks or crooknecks? Or zucchini? Or are they vining winter squash like butternuts? Summer squash have a relatively short harvest period before they succumb to any number of environmental issues. High humidity lends itself to powdery mildew. Lack of mulch helps mud splash up on them spreading other things. Then there are worms that will burrow into the fruits. Or squash vine borer that will burrow into the stems. The trick is to get them in early, grow them fast, and be done with them by the time all tat other stuff sets in. Winter squash are a little less likely to contract powdery mildew because they are more spread out. Air gets to their leaves better. They're less likely to have worms in the fruits because their rinds are tougher.

Cucumbers also have a short harvest season once they get going. If they are grown up on a flat trellis, air can get in and help prevent powdery mildew. Grown up on tomato cages, they are more tightly clustered together. Allowed to ramble on the ground, they have mud splashing up on them. It's hard to say how long that harvest period is, but 3 to 4 weeks is pretty good. Then plant some more and wait for the next round.

Bush beans take about 2 months to start producing. Then they'll produce one major initial crop and one more major crop a week or 10 days later, then they're pretty much done. They're bread to do that. Pole beans will take longer for that initial offering, but they will be more constant with production over a longer period of time. Without mulch, mud will splash up on them and they could catch something and shorten their life span. So plant pole beans early, mulch, and they'll start producing earlier and for a longer period.

Tomatoes are hit and miss. If you get resistant varieties, they'll have VFN or other letters on the labels that indicate that they're resistant to verticilium (?) wilt or a virus that might be in the soil. Mulching will help any tomato be more resistant to anything that might splash up on them. But they're in the soil, and mulch might not be enough with certain things. Some soils are just sick and can't be saved.

You can get antifungal sprays and some other sprays that are helpful with some things. But timing and mulch on certain plants is also key. I wouldn't mulch bush beans because they're done so quickly. Everything else would benefit from some kind.

If all else fails, do a soil test and tell them what you're looking for. Or ask where you can take a plant for evaluation. Or maybe you can take good pictures and show someone at the extension office. They're good people and very helpful.
--
Chris Behrens
Pendleton, SC (near Clemson, SC)
USDA Cold Zone 7/AHS Heat Zone 7
thatcompostguy@hotmail.com
National Home Gardening Club member since 1998

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Posted: 8/23/2014 10:34 PM

Re: My plants are dying from the bottom up 


Thank you for contacting me. i think that the dirt splashing on the bottom of the plants are causing the problem. I wanted to post some pictures but I don't know how in these messages. Believingbanghead that this is the problem what do I do to stop it from happening next year? frown
I am a novice gardener and am in zone 6. Michigan weather is unpredictable and I planted late this year,2014. I looked up the USDA hardiness zone and it listed me as 6a.
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Posted: 8/25/2014 10:54 AM

Re: My plants are dying from the bottom up 


I was told by a tomato plant grower to remove all the leaves below the first clusters of tomatoes.
Zone 8  Columbia, SC
Composting & growing organic vegetables here since 1975

Mother Earth is so kind...you tickle her with a hoe and she rewards you with a laughter of harvest
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Posted: 9/3/2014 7:56 AM

Re: My plants are dying from the bottom up 


I just happened across your question a bit late, but I am also in Michigan, and where I live there has not been enough rain this summer, or quite a few previous summers for that matter, to sustain the garden plants without quite a bit of supplemental watering. From the sounds of your original post I wonder if you are doing mostly container gardening? When plants dry up from not enough moisture they will drop their bottom leaves first because water gets pulled to the top of the plant by the nature of how plants grow. If you are growing in containers you most likely need to be watering them daily if there is not plenty of rain. If they are dying from splash back it would be some sort of disease and would be visible on the leaves as some sort of mildew, either black spots or powdery white stuff.
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Posted: 9/9/2014 11:02 AM

Re: My plants are dying from the bottom up 


I was told by a tomato farmer that it was a fungus caused by too cool and wet weather.
msecrest
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