Greenhouse Tomato disaster - help please

Hi
For the second year running my greenhouse tomatoes are struggling with a vicious fungal infection. All the plants of different types seem to be affected. The tomato flowers seem to be the problem. They go brown and furry with spore ridden mildew like fungus, finally falling off and infecting any leaf/stem they fall on. Quite often the healthy tomatoes are not affected. Last year I ended up removing almost all the leaves on the plants. This year I have been trying to remove the remains of the flowers before they infect other parts of the plant.
I had hoped that last years problems were related to the really wet weather but as this is happening again am at a loss as to the real cause.
I have spent a lot of time tending these plants and am hoping that someone will be able to suggest what this infection is and if I have any chance of getting rid of it.
Thanks
Rob
--
rhino666


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Without benefit of a visual, it certainly sounds like a fungal problem as you guessed, most likely Gray Mold, and sounds like a carryover from last year. As much as possible, keep stripping out the diseased parts as you have to avoid spreading to the fruit. Try sulfur, powder( duster) or wettable (spray). Neem oil can be effective, although usually not this late in the game, some have not had much luck with Neem. There are many other products that will also work well; Organic, Natural, as well as Synthetic. Just make sure it is registered for tomatoes. I use both Sulfur and Neem, starting with a sulfur for one applications x two weeks and then Neem once every 7-10 days. I prefer not to burn Sulfur, but some have good results with this method. BTW, spraying is not a evil thing. Do you have fans? if not you should. Spread out your plants for good air circulation . As much as possible, Avoid splashing the leaves and water early to allow any wet leaves to dry out. At the end of this season it is time to strip out the Greenhouse and disinfect EVERYTHING. A mild bleach solution will work. Next year, use disease resistant plants, start a preventive program early. One other thing, make sure you have a good pest control, otherwise they will spread the mold around, Good luck.
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gunner;858399 Wrote: > "rhino666" snipped-for-privacy@gardenbanter.co.uk wrote in message

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Hi gunner
Thank you very much for your kind reply.
I don't think this particular problem is gray mold as the fruit not affected unless in direct contact with the source of infection - the decaying flowers. These flowers in the worst case have a hairy brown fungus with powdery spores. Anything they land on, fruit, stems or most commonly leaves quickly become infected.
My greenhouse has no fans. It measures 6ft x 6ft and the tomato plants are way too close together which does not help matters. As you say I think it very likely that this same problem as last year is a hangover where the basic fungal spores were still active.
I can buy sulphur powder off ebay. What is the best method of application ? - can I dilute it with water and spray as not sure how to go about dusting the plants. I will definitely need to disinfect/bleach the greenhouse before next growing season. I guess diluted bleach could be sprayed over the greenhouse but how do I effectively treat the soil ?
Thank for your help
Rob
--
rhino666


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The mold type is not as important as IDing it as a fungal as opposed to other problem conditions.
Gray mold can be brownish in color so don't let the color be a key indicator and it can get into the fruit, usually through the stem section. The fruit's hard waxy exterioris the tomato's best protection. Be aware that this can infect your post-harvest fruit, although a vinegar/water wash ( high acidic pH) will usually help w/ control in the kitchen.
After reviewing the pic here, do look around this site a bit to help your knowledge base: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/DiagnosticKeys/TomWlt/Gray_Tom.htm
other resources: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/publications/tomatoproblemsolver/leaf /
As I have said previous, start a Preventative Maintenance program ( PM).
Sulfur use; complete dusting coverage is a bit difficult, good burning equipment is another 80-100$ US and leaves a smell and a film on the "glass", cannot use it outside. You can use a metal plate over a candle, but.........Spraying is best and I can use it around the yard as well.
a small bag of Sulfur (10 lb. ) is about 10$ US http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/product/hi-yield-dusting-wettable-sulfur-4-lb-bag
4 tblspns per Gal (US), do follow all the directions as sulfur can cause damage to sensitive plant.
I just picked up a nice quality quart/liter sprayer for ~7$US, Easier to use and I don't have to use the gal sprayer. {I save it for my fruit trees ;) }
spray bottle: http://www.planetnatural.com/site/safer-garden-fungicide.html
Make sure not to apply when it is too hot and within a week or so of any oil spray
so as to have full disclosure, here is the scary scorecard results of Sulfur, a naturally occurring product: http://www.scorecard.org/chemical-profiles/pesticides.tcl?edf_substance_idw04-34-9
Cooper is also considered a good product to use and the Bordeaux mixture is one I want to explore a bit more before trying. supposedly messy. http://msucares.com/newsletters/pests/infobytes/19990915.htm
or http://www.garden-services.com/bordeaux.html
Copper is used here in the PNW as an algaecide(sp?). Scary part: http://www.scorecard.org/chemical-profiles/pesticides.tcl?edf_substance_idt40%2d50%2d8 and here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/PI103
Been in the 90-100f here the last few days and then expected to be back around 55f again when the rain returns next week. I do use misters 2 x a day when the full sun is on the house, the rest of the time it is filtered sun. lot of opportuniuties for mold.
So far, 2 simple Sulfur sprays early on and a follow up PM program of neem oil @ 7-10 days has worked well for me. As the climates change I may have to as well.
I do not use the baking soda trick http://www.oisat.org/control_methods/other_substances/baking_soda.html as it is more sodium (salt) and absorbs more quickly than potassium salts potentially causing uptake problems and a sodium overload leading to conditions like Blossom End Rot. I believe the bicarbonate solutions are more useful in soils as the soil buffers the salt uptake a bit better than a hydro system. You may want to consider some of these tricks. more info on the different bicarbonates http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/bakingsoda.html
Try the Potassium Bicarbonate first. http://www.planetnatural.com/planetnatural/images/bi-carb-label.pdf
Course the Organos cannot use some of the bicarbonates such as ammonium bicarbonates which have synthetic. There is also a danger in a using bicarbonate "fix-alls" in alkaline soils as well as hydro systems.
Disinfectant/sanitizer : Bleach; not the greatest but half life is quick http://www.hawaii.edu/ehso/bio/Hypochlorite.pdf
1 unit to 9 or 10 units of 5.25%, sprayed.(read labels of household bleach, strength % vary) get the pots and tools also
another resource for your review http://www.albertafarmfresh.com/disinfectants.pdf organic: http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/ghtomato.html
I'm trying to find a source for this out west; Selectricide: http://jmaugeldesigns.com/Portfolio/brochure_smt.pdf very low ppm use
Soil: are you growing in the dirt... in the house? Major expense/labor to clean 36 sf of soil, best to layer some mulch such as fine wood chips and skip that next year, and maybe the next . Nature will take care of most of that in that time especially if you sprayed. Meantime try using grow bags, rockwool or some form of hydroponics ( rain gutters PVC pipe, wood boxes lined with plastic) or fill sand bags, a few trash or recycled grocery bags ( I do not mean to sound simplistic but make sure there are drain holes) or some 5gal/ 18 ltr containers,buckets, etc with a soil mix for each plant next year. what is good here is that you can easily remove any plants that are going bad and replace them. Then set up a drip irrigation system, a timer and sit back .
Try soilless, add a nute reservoir, a pump and you got Hydroponics. 'ponics are a lot of fun for tinkers . That is a whole 'nother chapter, http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/lessons/Introduction/lesson1-1intro.htm "Next page" is at the bottom
This is long and hopefully not too disjointed. If you can't find an answer, ask. Would like to hear of your efforts. good luck Gunner
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Gunner
Thank you so much for your reply.
It is probably too late to save the tomato plants this year but I will be far better prepared next year, thanks largely to your efforts and contribution.
Best wishes
Rob
--
rhino666


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