Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's Been Nice Knowing You Opalka

We had such little time together, Opalka.  I feel like I hardly knew you (probably because I did not get a single tomato off of you before I pulled you).  This hurts me more than it hurts you.  You will be missed.

Yep, that's right.  I have euthanized my first tomato of the season.  My Opalka.  I have heard it is a nice paste tomato.  Unfortunately, I cannot vouch for that since I have never eaten one.

First casualty of the season.

I am surprised by this for a couple of reasons.

This is a new one for me. Any ideas what this is?
  1. I always get more than a few tomato diseases.  But they never take out a plant this early in the season.  Even the year I painstakingly started 14 different heirlooms from seed, planted them in the garden, and then learned what fusarium wilt was (sob!!) I got tomatoes.  I did not get a single one from this Opalka.
  2. Number one (above) is even more surprising because I am actually trying to control disease this year.  The plan was that they would last even longer this year, not die sooner.
  3. I have no clue what this disease is.  I am not an expert by any means but this one has me stumped.  From the get go the plant had somewhat droopy branches.  Not wilted mind you, just not perky and erect like the rest.  I thought maybe it was just the Opalka growth habit (and it may be).  Then it started showing black spots and brown veins on the top leaves.  These then yellowed and died.  This then moved down the plant.
  4. Even more perplexing, there is another tomato very close that is pretty healthy.
Healthy Snow Storm right behind the sick Opalka.

This is the second year I have planted Opalka and the second year it has done poorly.  Last year the tree trimmers dropped a huge limb in the garden and Opalka was one  of the casualties.  This year, disease.  I am pretty bummed because I have heard such wonderful things about Opalka.

How many times will I try to grow this one before I accept it is not meant to be?


  1. Ouch. 2 years in a row? It's hard not to take that personally. I've never heard of Opalka. Mine a further behind than yours. Smallish due to the cooler weather I guess. Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Tami- I put mine out much earlier than I usually do. I think they were out somewhere towards the end of March. The recommended day for us is usually April 15. Since our weather was so warm I figured what the heck?

  2. Well, I can tell you it's not Late or Early Blight, or Powdery Mildew... have you seen any pests on it? If so it could indicate what the problem was. I looks a little like herbicide damage. Any chance someone sprayed something too close to it? Or is it along a fenceline shared with a neighbor that sprays?
    (BTW, from what I could find Opalka is supposed to grow in a "wispy, droopy" way)

    Good luck figuring it out.

    1. This one is in the middle of the yard. We don't use herbicides and I have not seen the dreaded Stay Green lawn care truck roll up for my neighbor's lawn. I have had some tomatoes that are closer to their yard get hit with herbicide drift in previous years. The leaves distorted but they grew out of it. With this plant the leaves did not grow distorted. Also, I waited, hoping whatever this was, that Opalka would recover. It just kept going down hill :(.

      It does help knowing that the wispy growing habit (perfect description BTW) is normal for the plant.


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