Monday, August 13, 2012

Question: Tomato Blight?

Is there a plant doctor in the house?



Just a few weeks ago, my tomato plants were beautiful. They were large, healthy, green plants loaded with fruit. I dreamed of many jars of tomatoes lined on my shelves this winter.

Now the leaves are mostly dead. Only the leaves on the tips of the stalk are green. But they have spots and look sickly.



My dreams of prolific tomatoes dashed, I am just hoping that the tomatoes on the stalk will ripen so I can have enough for a little sauce.

Is this blight? We have had rather wet weather the last weeks. Could that have contributed to the problem? I know it is too late to save the plants this year, but do you know what I should do to avoid the problem next year.

I have heard that Epsom salts help prevent blight. Is that an old wives' tale or truth?

Help!

27 comments :

  1. I am no expert. I don't even like to touch dirt!!! But.... My bag of epsom salts mentions using it in the garden. So it's probably not an old wives' tale. :)

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    Replies
    1. I have the same thing every year. I believe it is actually septoria and not the dreaded early or late blight. Copper sprays can control it. I have read that potassium bicarbonate can control it as well ( a more natural option).

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  2. I think it looks like blight, you can use the green tomatoes to make green tomato chutney, or strip the leaves off and hope for the best. I live in the UK and have almost given up on growing tomatoes as they seem to get blighted every year due to damp summers. Not sure about epsom salts, that's a new one on me!

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  3. Mine are doing the same thing. :( They are LOADED with green tomatoes.

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  4. Epsom salts is not an old wives tale, or if it is, it's a true one! Epsom salts are a source of calcium, and tomatoes like and need calcium to prevent dry rot on the bottoms of the tomatoes. I know some will sprinkle some in the hole when they plant tomatoes (work it in the soil a little) or else work 1/4 cup or more into the soil around the plant after it is planted.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, epsom salts do not provide calcium, they provide magnesium, which allows plants to use calcium already in the soil.

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  5. I had that one year and the tomatoes never ripened. They simply rotted. But there was a wide-spread blight that affected much of the Northeast here. Did you Google anything about a blight in the area? It's amazing what you can find by doing a Google search. ;)

    So sorry... If you would live around here, I could refer you to a place where they sell canning tomatoes for $10.00 a bushel. We have a very small garden since we live in the woods so that's what i usually do for tomatoes.

    ~Starla

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  6. I think there's a spray you can get from the gardening section, not sure of the name. I was also told that the following year when you plant put the Epsom salt in with a layer of dirt then your plant. I hope your still able to get a good crop!

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  7. From the looks of the plant above I would say it is beyond saving. I would pick most of the green tomatoes off and lay them on a porch rail or sunny windowsill to try to to ripen them. Consider making fried green tomatoes or green tomato relish or maybe green tomato pie filling with them. It is definitely a blight. Cutting off the effected leaves early on and spraying with a milk water mixture to healthy leaves helped mine.

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  8. Looks like blight, I added epsom salt when I planted mine this year and dont have any blight. I actually have the biggest plants ever. Also watered them once a week with epsom salt water once they started having flowers. I also strawed around my plants so not sure which helped the most. this is taken from a Home remedies book ~ Add 1 t. epsom salt to each plant when planting and then once flowers show water with 2 T. e. salt and 1 gallon water mixed. Do this once a week it helps with blight.

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  9. I thought it was just my plants....they look just like yours. I'm thinking its because of the lack of rain and the heat.

    Coleen

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  10. I'm going to agree w/canned quilter that it's blight. Pick the tomatoes and remove ALL of ther affected tomato plants and any and all leaves laying on the soil. Do NOT put them in a compost pile. It will only spread the blight. Next year plant the tomatoes in a different spot as the blight can live on. You could try laying heavy, clear plastic and solarize the soil to get rid of it but still move the plants next year.

    Unfortunately yes it came from the wet, rainy weather.

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  11. And here I would love to get rid of my tomatoes, because I don't need them or have enough time to do them this year, but I live 5 hrs. from you! The blight hasn't been here, yet.

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  12. Blight is a mold spore. Spores can become airborne, So I would want to get rid of the plants safely and cleanse the soil. I am not an expert but perhaps garlic, or clove oil.

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  13. I use epsom salt on my tomato plants...they seem to be doing fairly well...we are having the opposite weather here in Calif though...heat wave!!!

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  14. I ordered some calcium supplement from "Gardens Alive" last year 'cause the same thing has happened to us two years on a row. I heard on a gardening show that calcium strengthens the tomatoe skin and helps avoid "bottom rot". So far this year we've only had a few little problem spots. My plants are loaded too. I did use a milk bath since we happened to have milk. In a hose end sprayer 16 oz milk, 2 tsp. baking soda, 2 drops of dish soap spread distribute on top and under leaves at 2 oz/gal. This concoction helped my cucumbers that were suffering with white mold and hopefully will help my Jacob Cattle beans that are also having a rough time with mold. I'm sure it's because of all the humidity the past couple of summers. This problem started about 3 years ago and we keep trying to rotate crops to see if we can stop the problem, but it doesn't seem to help, thus the calcium and milk bath. I will not be happy if the tomato plants die 'cause they are loaded with so many tomatoes and we really need a good crop this year. I am having great harvest of pole beans. That's probably cause they get more air circulation, but where the foliage was thick last year we had some rot even there. This is the best advice I have and I'm not sure if it works, but that's what we are trying. I've also heard powdered milk works the same as regular milk. There's some sort of enzyme in the milk that fights fungus. Hope something here will work for you too.

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  15. That is such a bummer,

    My tomaotes have not been infected by that sort yet.. but I am glad to know I am getting educated on this sort of thing.. Thank you ladies for your input.. I am sure Gina is appreciative of the advice and I am sure appreciative of the learning..

    Jeannie

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  16. I also meant to add.. If you enjoy fried green tomatoes... there is that way to.. YUM!

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  17. Go to Gardens Alive and order Soap Shield. Spray after every rain from spring on. Also put down a thick layer of newspaper and straw around the plants. Prune all foliage that will touch the ground and keep then up in cages. Fertilize with a good organic fertilizer. Also as someone stated, rotate the planting spot from year to year. Keeping the suckers pruned out to open up the plants and give air and light also helps. This web site is a good one for information on pruning. http://www.gardening-tips-idea.com/Pruning-Tomato-Plants.html

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  18. I agree with Debbie and Mrs Doug. Tomatoes and cucurbites are susceptible to fungal diseases and therefore need a fungicide as a prevention. Copper Sulphate is recommended here in New Zealand...though i have also used the milk/water treatment with success (you just need to apply more frequent applications of the latter) The plants will need to be removed and burned or thrown out (don't compost them as the disease will reappear on the follwoing years crops) and like Mrs, Doug said above, ensure plenty of space around tomatoes when planting as lack of air circulation can cause disease to become a problem and reduce ripen due to lack of light from overcrowding. Less is more sometimes!

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  19. I'm so sorry about your tomatoes!! I have been told epsom salts helps with blight. I have not tired it myself but I think I would give it a try next year. They look like they might be beyond help for this year though. It could be a tomato worm instead of blight (I'm not sure that is the correct name for them). They build a cocoon on the vine and will destroy the vines in no time. It is the cocoon of a hummingbird moth. I hope this helps. God bless.

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  20. Thank you so much for your input! As several of you mentioned, I'm certain that my plants can not be saved. But I'm glad to learn how to avoid the problem next year!
    Gina

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  21. You have Late Blight. Its a fungus sread by spores. PULL THOSE OUT IMMEDIATELY and BURN THEM. You don't want to till those under for next year or the tubers will survive in the soil and effect next years crop.

    Summarize/Preventative:
    *Pull out and burn effected plants (all of them in your case)
    *next year--from the very beginning spray your plants every week with a Copper Based fungicide. I use Bonide.

    Blessings and good luck!

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  22. Epsom salts helps with a magnesium defiency used either as spray or directly watered into the soil.
    And a stressed plant is always more prone to disease.
    But Epsom salts doesnt help when blight strikes the plant, the best solution is milk/water spray or a copper compound 'bordeaux mixture' which is still usable on organic crops.
    Its always very disappointing to lose a crop :(

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  23. Hi ,Fungicides containing either copper or potassium bicarbonate will help prevent the spreading of the disease. Plant next year's tomatoes in a different section of your garden. In small gardens, it's not always practical to rotate your crops, so good clean up and sanitation become even more important. using a fungicide spraying on it , cut back as much bad as possible, because the energy will be directed to the bad trying to heal it, If you can get a (and its not organic) systemic insectide / fungicide use that it works great, but you can't eat your fruit for 2 weeks..Mrs Dougs concoction sounds pretty good though, cut back the water leaf of the tree you will have more blooms, some vitamin tomato steaks are good ... I have a problem with spider mites.. I use vinigar and water.

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  24. There are many yummy ways to use up green tomatoes! Sandwiches, fried, relish, even pickles!

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  25. I had the blight on my plants the past two years, I know this comment is coming way late, I just had a chance to check in on you. ;) I bought a copper sulfate solution, I got the stuff from the pool supply section as it was about half the price of the one in the plant section. I put mine in one of those bottles that had the attachment on the top to connect to your hose. I sprayed my entire garden first thing this spring with it before I even rototilled, then again after tilling and then one more time before I planted. So far so good. I still have about half a gallon of the stuff left too. I have also read that Neem oil will work on blight for plants that have it now. I found that in the plant section at the store. It is expensive but you don't need alot. I used that on my apple trees this year and it stopped the scabbiness but now the squirrels are eating all my beautiful apples before I can pick them. Joys of trying to raise your own food in the city. ;) Oh and cut off any branches with the tainted leaves asap. The fungus which causes blight is in your soil and splashes up onto the plant when you water. Good luck and sorry this came so late.

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