Tomato leaves curling and my failing mulch method : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

Does anyone know why tomato leaves would curl, with no color change or wilting? I was thinking nematodes, but I dug up some potatoes and found no evidence there. Any help would be much appreciated.

Also, the mulch method is making me want to pull my hair out because of the weeds!!! I don't think this method is successful unless you bail your own mulch and you put down a layer of cardboard underneath. Does anyone have any ideas for saving my garden?

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (, June 14, 2001


What comes to my mind what curls and kills the leave of tomato plants is a tobacco virus. Is there someone who uses tobacco products touching the plants or even getting close to them? Is someone growing tobacco in your neighborhood? Tomato plants are terribly susceptable to tobacco and nicotine and their viruses.

-- Laura (, June 15, 2001.

LBL, I agree with the virus thing too, when you purchase tomatoes, whether it be transplants or seeds, get the kind with the most virus and disease resistance you can find, the tags will refer to VF and VFN resistance and such stuff right on the name label. These varieties have been developed with natural disease resistance, and it sure does work!!! We have awful humidity here, and the tomatoes would always get the viruses without the natural resistance type.

I have always used large pine bark mulch, it is the only kind that doesn't drive you crazy with weeds! The initial cost is higher, but I have had it on the garden for 8 years now with only slight additions, and there are NO WEEDS at all, and NO TILLING required. I simply plant as soon as the soil is warm enough and danger of frost is past, and have tons of earthworms to do all the tilling that is needed! I have the garden 6 foot wide and 100 foot long, so I do not walk on the soil and compact it. There is no wasted space since I do not have to till it, I plant "wall to wall".

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, June 16, 2001.

Tomato leaf curl- do you actively 'de-sucker' your plants? I'll only sucker mine once or twice at the beginning of the season and then leave them alone. I had a leaf curl problem similar to what you are describing when I would sucker them heavily. The plants would eventually recover. Just an idea,if the virus suggestions didn't pan out.

Mulch-I've always used a double layer of B/W newsprint under a 3"-4" bed of 1-yr old straw with good results. When I started gardening I'd use fresh straw and the seeds in the straw would germinate and create a bigger 'weed' problem than the weeds themselves. The extra year allows most(NOT all) of the seeds in the straw to germinate and die. Hope that helps

-- StevenB (, June 17, 2001.

I have been so very blessed with my tomatos that I haven't had the leaf curl...yet. On the mulch, what Steven said;). I also find that the finer the mulch the less weeds come up. If you are using straw it isn't a bad idea to run the mower over it, in a non weedy area or in the garden itself and then put it down. There will usually be some pernicious weeds that get in there anyway. I've had pretty heavy mulch on this for four years, and super heavy for a year, and I still have some nut grass make a showing. It gets yanked out tomorrow!

-- Doreen (, June 17, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ