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I have a home garden with tomatoes and peppers. The peppers grow great every year, but often the tomatoes end up discolored with dried out leaves.

I recently did a Manutec pH test on the soil and it came up as 8, so I added some sulfur to the soil around the tomatoes. If this is the issue, how long would it take the sulfur to take effect? Does anyone have other ideas about what the problem could be?

I am in Australia (Southern hemisphere), so it is the middle of summer and the tomatoes should be ready for picking in February.

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  • Looks like early blight. – RubberDuck Jan 11 '15 at 4:10
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    do you plant your tomatoes in the same area every year? Do your neighbours have the same problem? – kevinsky Jan 11 '15 at 23:53
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    I have planted them in the same spot for 10 years. I don't believe any of my neighbors have tomatoes, but I will check. Is crop rotation usually enough to correct this. – Brian Jan 12 '15 at 5:19
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One of the most common reasons of tomato plants shriveling up are fungal diseases.

The spores live in the topsoil and can get on & infect the leaves by falling raindrops. (Sounds complicated, but actually the "splashing" rain drops just propel the spores upwards.) Some kinds can even survive on porous substances like wooden stakes and re-infect new crops.

Common counter-measures are:

  • crop rotation
  • stripping the leaves off the lower part of the stem (a foot or so)
  • protecting the plants from direct rain (like this)
  • watering "from below", digging an empty flower pot in to the ground next to each plant and pouring the water in this helps, too.
  • spacing the plants with enough distance to allow for quick drying (think of morning dew)
  • cleaning or replacing equipment anually
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