What's wrong with my tomatoes?
I live in the desert southwest and for the last two years I have had problems growing tomatoes. The first year, we were hit with "curly leaf" where the leaves turned up and withered the plants, that did not set fruit. I confirmed this with local extension service. Last year, planting in containers ONLY, so as not to have a soil problem, once again my tomatoes curled up. I had an extension agent come to see them -- and was told that this was different, it was NOT curly leaf. What could it be?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

I assume you mean that your first-year plants had Beet Curly Top Virus, commonly known as "curly leaf." Beet leafhoppers transmit it to tomatoes and other plants, and they overwinter in weeds. It is not a soil problem. You should be able to plant in the ground again if you follow sanitary procedures and clear out all debris and weeds from the area. Start with disease-free plants. Also, sanitize your tools. And beet leafhoppers like sun, so try to move your plants to a part-shade area. If you are certain that the leafhoppers weren't the culprits last year, your plants could have Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, another problem here in New Mexico (are there ring spots on the leaves?). This virus is transmitted by thrips and could easily spread to container plants if proper sanitary procedures were not maintained and the thrip population has gotten out of control. Thrips can be reduced by using insecticidal soap but they never really go away once present. The very best way to prevent disease in tomatoes is to water adequately (but not too much) and fertilize to promote strong growth, and plant disease-resistant varieties (look on the plant label for V,F, N or T types). Do not plant your tomoatoes in the same spot every year to prevent the spread of overwintering viruses and pests.--Stephanie Hainsfurther, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Answered by BHGgardenEditors