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Did I kill my plants?


 
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daigo75
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree


Joined: 23 Feb 2009
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:11 pm    Post subject: Did I kill my plants? Reply with quote

Hi all,
Today I came back home to find a disastrous scenario: around 60% of my tomatoes and peppers are dead or dying... They were perfectly fine until yesterday, growing well. Since they became bigger, I moved each plant into a separate pot. Following some advice I received, I also fertilized the pots a little with some organic fertilizer. This evening (one hour ago), I found many plants dead, dry as sand, or collapsed on themselves. Peppers were inside the house, while tomatoes were in the small greenhouse outside. The only common denominator was the fertilizer, which, in the dead plants, was near the stem. I carefully inspected the "casualties", and I found out that the ones touched by the fertilizer is dark and very thin. The root underneath, instead, looks "normal". Shocked

Now, my fear is that I inadvertently killed my plants and that such fertilizer should not come in contact with stems (I really didn't know). I wonder if there's any possibility that the plants will recover in some way, or if they are doomed. At the moment I removed all the fertilizer, piece by piece, and the soil is clean again.

If there's nothing I can do I will just go on cursing for the weeks to come... After all the time I spent to carefully grow all the plants, losing the vast majority of them when trying to help them growing is REALLY disappointing... Evil or Very Mad

Maybe I'm too "emotional", but I was really happy to be able to make all these plants grow (very first attempt, never had a vegetable garden before). Losing them in less than one day is incredibly frustrating!
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Import
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree


Joined: 20 Sep 2008
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I KNOW the feeling! Here you were trying to do good by adding the ferteliser and the blooming plants went and DIED on you. Look at the bright side - NO smell.

The plants that has shriveled up is probably beyond saving! I normally use a diluted tomato feed after I transplanted my seedlings - not the normal solution, but about a third to a half the solution to water ratio. I normally put a slow release fertilize in the soil before I transplant to the garden. but one needs to be careful not to kill the plant by having too much "goodness" in the soil.
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Liparis
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 651
Location: Co. Meath

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could be the fertiliser, especially if you were a wee bit heavy handed with it. But, it could also be one of, or a combination of factors. THe peppers were in the house doesn't say a lot, were they on the window sill? If so, you have another common denominator, especially if your weather was the same as here; brilliant sunshine and temperatures hitting 18c. Both lots of plants could be suffering from heat. Sun blazing through glass is deadly. My greenhouses are fully shaded with an 18" fan running 24 hrs, the temperature still reached 30c. A couple of hours with that sun would do untold damage. Another thing to consider is, while the fertiliser could blacken the stem at soil level, this is also a main sympton of stem rot, caused by a fungus and the fungus can be water borne or compost borne. The other symptom that makes me think stem rot is the thinning of the stem where it's going black, also at soil level. Tomatoes etc are better treated with a fungicide at this stage until planting out in their final positions, but you still need to keep an eye on them.
There are several species of stem rot fungus which attacks various types of plant. If you aren't sure 100% that it isn't stem rot, then treat it as such. Burn your plants and compost, don't, for goodness sake compost them, and start again. Stress such as watering plants with cold water during cool periods can set it off. Benlate is a good all-round fungicide.
Bill.

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daigo75
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
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Joined: 23 Feb 2009
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:00 pm    Post subject: Wow! One more survivor! Reply with quote

I had to dispose of dead-dead-dead plants, but one of them was giving some signs of hope. While the the stems was black and dry in the middle, the topmost part was still "almost alive". It was no more than 2 or 3 cm high, though. So, in a desperate attempt to save its life, I cut it from the rotten stem and I put it into a micro-container with water (actually it was a mini marmalade jar my girlfriend got from a hotel). I then put it on a windowsill, with my girlfriend insisting that I would be disappointed. Sad

Today I checked, and the little tiny branch has SEVEN roots! Shocked
Leafs are still yellow and weak, so I'm not sure it will go much further. However, let's not forget that a big plant was born from a seed even tinier than a branch. Wink

Now I put this strong willed survivor in some lightly watered compost. If it will survive, I will give it a special place. If it will die, I will admire it for trying. Very Happy

This said, I love gardening more and more, plants can give so much satisfaction (or maybe I'm just too emotional).
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michael brenock
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 12 Aug 2008
Posts: 1275
Location: cork

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if you transplanted the seedlings into a potting compost then there was no need to feed them with liquid feed. more than likely your problem is with temperature and humidity not feeding. try and keep the seedlings in a temperature of 50-55 deg c and always sow them or space them thinly.
Never feed a plant in distress but keep it warm. benlate may work once but resistance soon builds up to it. i have not used it for over 30 years.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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