Busser
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:02 pm

Early Blight

Have read lots here and elsewhere on the topic. A few years ago I had my first real outbreak (2009 was an awful year around here). Since then I have just played "beat the clock". Works pretty well. To date I have harvested about 100lbs. However usually by early to mid August I lose the battle. Want to get back to having tomatoes into October. I know the best thing to do is rotate but that isn't easily done. I have a large raised bed garden and have thought about doing a second with new soil but I feel I'll just end up in the same place with both.

So I'm debating continuing next year, mulching, increasing the distance between plants, spraying (maybe) and closely monitoring the bottom leaves for removal at any early signs. I can't say that I have been diligent with any this year.

So my question is am I just setting myself up for increased work and the same (or slightly better results) or is it possible to grow in soil where blight is known to exist and through these steps overcome, or mostly overcome it?

Second thought has been to grow most or all resistant varieties (what few there are and I do realize resistance does not equal immunity).

I welcome any and all thoughts and I'm especially interested in folks who have been in the same predicament and how they handled it and how successful they were.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Early Blight

I've never had to deal with blight, so maybe I'm not qualified to answer your question (and hopefully someone will come by who has struggled with it). But I pretty much always have septoria and I have to always plant in the same place, due to very limited sunny areas. And I always have tomatoes past the first frost (because they often can survive the first light frosts until there is a real killing frost). Last year in the drought, there was so little humidity, the septoria never came. This year, I am back to having some, but I am keeping ahead of it pretty well.

All those things you mentioned (mulching, increasing the distance between plants, spraying (maybe) and closely monitoring the bottom leaves for removal at any early signs) are really important and if you haven't been diligent, then you don't know how much difference it will make.

One other thing I did this year, that I think really helped: I have never been one to prune my tomato plants. I remove all the suckers that grow in the branch joints, but haven't done any other pruning. This year I also pruned all the branches growing in to the center of the cage to open up the center for more air circulation. Given that this has been a very rainy year and that I am still having very little trouble, I think this has made a big difference. It also seems like I'm having less insect problems (stinkbugs, etc). Maybe coincidence or maybe taking out all that leafy center gives them less place to hide.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Busser
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:02 pm

Re: Early Blight

Appreciate the advice. I can't argue that until I am diligent with all methods of control I won't know what improvement I may see. I guess that's really what I'm trying to convince myself to do - give that a shot and if no real improvement decide what the next step is at that point. I'll see if others with blight have had success similar to yours.....

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5161
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Early Blight

Blight comes in cycles that last about 5 to 6 years each time. It can be 10 years or longer between cycles. People like to blame blight on something, too much rain, not enough sun, weather is too cool, not sure anyone knows why it comes in cycles.

I struggled with blight for the past 5 years and so did many people. No blight problem this year so the cycle must be over.

I have tried many things and not many of them work to cure blight. The 2 things that work best for me are 1 tablespoon copper sulfate and 2 tablespoons of pellet lime dissolved in 1 gallon of water and full strength kitchen vinegar.

Spray infected plants with copper sulfate lime water. Soak them good every day. Some times I manage to save 50 to 70 percent of my tomato plants.

Spray tomato plants very well with full strength 5% kitchen vinegar late evening while sun is going down. Let it soak in to the leaves and plant for 5 minutes. Then rinse the plants off very well with water using your garden hose. Spray the plants every day then rinse with water. I can usually save 90% of my plants.

I have tried crop rotation and that never prevents blight.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11392
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Early Blight

Can someone explain if it is this late in the season how youl know if it is early or late blight?
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Early Blight

Late blight is a much more lethal disease, which usually results in plants having to be destroyed, to keep it from spreading to the rest of the garden. It is a species of phytophthora (latin for "plant destroyer") related to the root rot organism. Septoria and early blight are much more manageable and with care the plants can keep going through the season, even with them.

Early blight symptoms usually occur first on the older leaves at the base of the plant and have concentric rings
Image
https://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgar ... _large.jpg

Late blight will show fuzzy spores on the undersides of the leaves
Image
https://www.longislandhort.cornell.edu/v ... ex1200.jpg

and dark stem lesions:
Image
https://www.tomatocasual.com/wp-content/ ... light1.jpg

It can produce dark rotten spots on the stem end of the fruit (as opposed to the blossom end in BER)
Image
https://www.goinghometoroost.com/wp-cont ... t1x500.jpg

The leaf lesions are from the edge in and not in round spots:
Image
https://www.longislandhort.cornell.edu/v ... 3x1200.jpg

it progresses pretty rapidly to destroying the plant:
Image
https://www.longislandhort.cornell.edu/v ... tx1200.jpg



the cornell site above (https://www.longislandhort.cornell.edu/v ... tomato.htm) has lots of info on late blight including maps of where it is occurring, etc
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Return to “TOMATO FORUM”