Tomato Plant Question
Every year I buy tomato plants (usually early girl and carolina gold) from a local provider. The plants grow fine and produce well (6-8 tomatoes/plant). Unfortunately just about the time my first tomatoes begin to ripen the plant begins to die starting from the bottom up. The leaves and stems yellow and dry up. The tomatoes that have already formed continue to ripen but there is no new blossoming. Is this normal or is there something I am missing? I do not fertilize or spray.
Frederick County Maryland
Tomatoes are susceptible to several fungal diseases such as early blight and/or septoria. Most likely this is what you may be dealing with. Go to the following links for photos and more information.
If so, look for resistant varieties http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/Tables/TableList.htm
Also, You can remove the lower leaves to slow the upward spread of the disease, keep plants well mulched to minimize soil splashing, water at the base of the plants, provide adequate spacing, and spray with an organic fungicide (fixed copper) early in the season to lessen spread of the disease. Fungicide treatments can help to protect new or un-infected foliage they are not curatives. Remove infected plant material at the end of the season. There is no treatment for the soil.
See our vegetable profile on tomatoes for planting, fertilizing, etc. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/tomatoes