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Tomato blight

I have been raising heirloom tomatoes the last few years and, the last season or two, have had horrible problems with what looks like fusarium wilt. Last year there were new varietals I planted that no one even got to taste, because the fungus took them while they were still in blossom.

I've tried commercial copper-based and homemade fungicide, and nothing seems to curb the wilt once it sets in — other than monitoring infected plants and clipping away the diseased, yellowing portions, but that only treats the symptoms. At best it helps the plant limp through to the end of its natural lifespan.

I realize some of the plants might have been brought home already contaminated, what can I do about that going forward?

Also: if the spores have become endemic to my tomato beds (probably safest to proceed as if they are) what can I do to treat them now, to kill the spores before spring planting?


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 15th, 2017 03:16 pm (UTC)
Is it blight or wilt? If it is fusarium, it lives in the soil, and there is very little you can do other than don't grow tomatoes, eggplant, peppers or tobacco for ten years - or get resistant varieties, and that lets out heirlooms. If it is blight, a baking soda solution (typically contain about 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved into 1 quart of warm water. Adding a drop of liquid dish soap or 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil helps the solution stick to your plant) sprayed on the plants AND THE SOIL will kill it, and you keep on with it every two weeks until your plants are clean. There are also some old farmers out here (homesteading, and yes, I grow heirloom tomatoes exclusively) that use "old bleach water" spray to knock down the blight. Either one works by changing the ph of the plant/soil so the blight dies. Too much baking soda solution can burn the plants in sun, or kill them, so spay lightly on a cloudy day. Spray your soil now.
Feb. 15th, 2017 04:11 pm (UTC)
rotate your crops. dont grow the same thing in the same place year after year. generally a 4 year rotation is recommended (when things are healthy). and not just tomatoes, but everything in the tomato/solanaceae family including potatoes, eggplant, peppers, ground cherry, petunia, tobacco...

be aware that plants marked as having resistance - it is only *resistance* and not a guarantee that the plant wont get it. if your soil is heavily infected, the disease can overwhelm even a 'resistant' plant.
Feb. 15th, 2017 10:05 pm (UTC)
You have to rotate out your tomato beds every 3 or 4 years -- the disease gets into the soil from insects and finally reaches a critical mass of enough organisms to kill your tomato plants.

The best and easiest thing to do is plant your tomatoes in a different part of your garden or, if that's not possible, raise them in containers for a couple of years. 2 years or so is enough to let the disease organisms die off in the soil.

I did this when I could have a garden, and it worked like a charm. Just rotate your tomato patches.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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