Yellow Lower Leaves On Tomato Plant

Q: Last summer, the lower leaves on my tomato plant turned yellow and the limbs fell off. I treated them with copper sulfate, which did some good. I looked for help on the internet and read that adding baking soda to the soil kills fungus. The article did not say how much to add. This year, after tilling baking soda into the beds, I planted Better Boy tomato plants. Ten days later, they were dead. I replaced the soil with fresh topsoil and planted new plants. The new tomatoes are growing slowly and look OK. My patio tomatoes, however, do not look so good. My guess is I used too much soda. Any suggestions on how to correct this mess? 

A: The fastest and easiest thing to do is open your wallet and buy new soil for your beds and containers. Baking soda has not been shown by any research to have an effect on plant diseases. It changes soil pH but this is a minor effect. It would be best to have your soil tested. Call your local Extension office (800- ASKUGA-1) to get information on how to submit your soil sample. When you have a report, give me a buzz and we can discuss what can be done.

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