On Sat, 11 Sep 2004 09:06:08 -0400, Michael Horowitz
Yes, I think it's too late to fix. If you're in the eastern
USA or Canada, it's probably late blight, which came very
early this year because we've had such a cool and wet
Usually, late blight gets my tomatoes maybe one or two weeks
before the first frost (if at all) and that doesn't really
matter. But this year, they were all pretty much dead by
September 1 (except for one healthy volunteer growing in the
compost bin). Our expected first frost date is around
October 1 so it's too bad they got the blight.
BTW, this is the same organism that affects potatoes and
caused the Potato Famine in Ireland.
I just finished writing a post suggesting ways to prevent
this, I'll copy part of it here.
But if we get a normal year next year, it may not be a
problem. Seems as if we haven't had a 'normal year' in a
while, though (I'm in northern Pennsylvania).
I learned a lot about late blight by reading a Cornell
University Extension FactSheet (but I didn't keep the URL).
You could look for it if you wish.
1. Use plastic mulch to avoid rain splashing soil up onto
the plants, and/or soil getting splashed up when you water
the plants. Maybe you do already?
2. Grow your tomatoes in a hoophouse if you have one or
otherwise under plastic if possible. According to a Cornell
University Extension fact sheet on late blight that I
recently read, it can be carried on the wind. Is *that*
discouraging, or what? :(
3. Grow tomatoes in (large) containers in soilless mix or
(purchased) mushroom compost or similar. Something from
elsewhere. We have grown a very large cherry tomato plant
(Yellow Pear) in one of those big Rubbermaid (or similar)
storage tubs that are sold in discount stores - we drilled
holes in the bottom first. I often see them on sale for
about $3.99 - pretty cheap for a 22-gallon container - much
cheaper than a comparably-sized plant pot would cost. If we
can grow a Yellow Pear in a container, I reckon any tomato
can be grown in a container.
4. Grow tomatoes in those new upside-down hanging bags -
i.e., the tomatoes wind up growing upside-down. You'd need
a very strong support for them. A friend of ours grew a
Sungold this way and it worked well. Sungold is a
Coming soon: www.containerseeds.com - vegetable, herb,
and edible flower seeds especially selected for successful
Thanks for posting your pictures - all 4 of my tomatoes have this as
well, darn. Looks like blight it is. Maybe next year.
Pat, thanks for your suggestions. I put down a weed barrier this year,
which is something I've never done before, but obviously it didn't help.
What I wish I could remember is whether I dumped some of the stems in
the compost bin early on before I realized what it was...
yeah, it is late blight. More tips: the tomatoes, squash, and cabbage
I always collect at the end of season, place it on the lawn 100 ft
from the garden, and mow into bits. I never take clippings from that
area to use in the garden. My established garden (beds made of
compost, cages put up as I plant the tomatoes) never had any blight -
the vines are invariably killed by frost. my new garden (made this
year, I finished it in june) took the tomatoes this year, and because
of all the construction I left the vines on the ground until july.
they all got blight except the yellow pear (I still got plenty).
So I got renewed religion about not ever touching the soil, and no
watering overhead. I made some new cages, narrower than those I have,
so they can support the plant earlier in its growth.
My tomato plants died also. Horrid looking, but the tomatoes managed to ripen
on the gasping vines. Last year, after spraying my grapes with Mancozeb, I
sprayed the tomatoes with what was left over. The plants remained relatively
healthy, though I can't say for sure it was the fungicide. A good
Yeah, I think it's too late to fix it. Once you do the zig zag cut, pull
it apart and stuff it with horseradish, it's pretty hard to fix it.
PS I'm about a week late reading your post and I guess you changed
what you had at that web location. I couldn't resist. ;-)
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