Late last night I arrived home from my trip to the Pacific Northwest, delighted to see my boys. But as soon as the Bear and Tiger were tucked into bed, I snuck outside with a flashlight to inspect my other little ones: the tomatoes and coleus I planted before leaving on my trip a week earlier.
The coleus had become slug salad. Every plant has huge holes in it. Some are reduced almost to their skeletal forms.
So this morning, once I could see what I was doing, I scattered Sluggo across the bed, hoping that some can recover. (You can see the little pellets in the next photo.)
I do have a few more starts, but I’d planted the best, strongest plants.
As for the tomatoes? Even by flashlight, I could already see that their foliage was too yellow. By light of day, it’s now apparent that the potato-leaved varieties are most affected. I can’t spot any obvious insect pests. The few tomato plants that are still in pots look even more sickly, so I don’t think I repeated last year’s fertilizer-burn catastrophe. (Anyway, I only used manure and it seemed well-rotted, but it’s hard to be sure. I mean, it’s not like you can do a taste test on it!) Also, volunteer tomato seedlings in these beds appear a healthy green.
I’m thinking nutrient deficiency. (But why, with all that manure?) I tried dousing some of them with Monty’s Joy Juice to see if that helps.
In the meantime, here’s what they look like, in case any botanical medical detectives have a diagnosis for me! This one shows the characteristic yellowing of the potato leaves, plus some brown dryness on the far-right leaf:
Here’s similar yellowing on a regular-leaved plant. Oddly, a few plants have yellow leaves and purpling on the underside of the leaves, which I know results from phosphorus deficiency and should resolve on its own now that they’re in the ground. I’m really only worried about the yellowing.
Finally, here’s my strongest seedling – my prize Sungold, no less! – looking healthier than the first two but still mottled.
Oh, and all those silver maple seeds you see lying around the plants? They’ve sprouted into legions of trees in my absence. But that’s a mere nuisance that can be fixed with work. I’m not in despair over them. My tomatoes, on the other hand, make me want to weep.