I’ll save the post-mortem for another day, when I have more definitive information. Today, I am just mourning the premature death of my tomato plants, once again.
From what I can tell, my four plants have been attacked by at least two types of fungus. One fungus starts with brown spots that turn the leaves yellow (shown in main photo above). That’s most likely septoria or gray leaf spot. The other fungus leaves visible white splotches on the tomato leaves and stem (shown at left). It also affects the plant from the ground up. Lower leaves turn completely brown and die off. My two full-size tomatoes have one fungus, while the cherry tomatoes have the other.
Getting these fungi again is frustrating for a couple of reasons. First, one of the benefits of planting in containers is supposed to be fewer diseases. Many fungi are present in ground soil. I used fresh bagged potting mix when I planted these tomatoes. Second, tomato fungi traditionally spread when the leaves get wet from watering or it rains. I’ve been very careful to never moisten my tomato leaves and it hasn’t rained once since I planted.
To top it all off, I also have caterpillars munching on my tomato leaves. It’s been very tough to spot these bastards, especially when they are small. I tossed the one shown here down the garbage disposal after I snapped this photo. That was satisfying!
I haven’t given up on my tomato plants yet. I’ll aggressively remove the affected leaves (once I positively identify the fungi). Even so, it’s frustrating. The tomatoes were growing really well before this setback. Ultimately, I think it might be better to tear up the plants and start fresh with something else. Maybe lettuce.
I bet those greens will get eaten by aphids.