Simply Grateful Gardener

Gardening To Fill The Pantry!

Early Blight – The Continuing Saga of ‘How The Tomato Grows!’

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This morning as I examined my tomato plants for any damage during last nights storm I found the beginnings of what appears to be Early Blight. I dealt with this last year on nearly every one of my tomato plants and ended up cutting so many of the leaves away that the tomatoes got sun scald.

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This year I was hoping to avoid this problem by moving the tomato garden to the opposite side of the house. No such luck.

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The good news: I caught it early. It appears that the only plants affected right now are the pear tomato plants. The only plants already having a hard time keeping their leaves healthy. I swear, these little buggers (pear tomatoes) are so temperamental. I can’t catch a break with them. First, they are the only plants with the leaf curl, which has pretty much spread to every pear tomato plant regardless of where they are in the yard. Next, they are growing so tall that I don’t have cages or stakes tall enough for them. (My research, which I did just today, tells me they can grow as tall as 12 feet. Who’s going to get a ladder to pick those puppies?) And finally, they are now coming down with blight.

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Yet I have to say the one good thing about all this is at least I know these plants are not GMO.  If they were they certainly wouldn’t be having all these problems. Hubby says if I can beat all the stuff going against us with the pear tomatoes and actually get a good harvest this year, maybe next year we’ll have enough know-how to grow a healthy garden full of them — enough to sell at the local market. Being so difficult to grow they would fetch a hefty price. At the moment though it sounds like a whole lot more work than I’m up for.

As for the blight, it is a highly contagious fungi that could easily spread to all the neighboring tomatoes. To overt this, I immediately mixed up a batch of baking soda and water and sprayed each and every tomato plant. I soaked the top and bottom leaves and was sure to get the trunk all the way to the ground. This needs to be done once a week and after every rain.

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When making the baking soda and water spray I used 1 tablespoon of baking soda for every gallon of water. This should work well for the above 80 degree weather we’ve been having and are predicted to continue having throughout the next 15 days. If it were cooler I could use a higher concentration of baking soda, 2 tablespoons for every gallon, but if I were to use that now I’d risk burning the leaves.

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Before spraying the plants I inspected each plant closely and removed all infected leaves. There were only six stems on five plants (all pear tomato) that had to be removed and put in the compost bin for the trash man.

I’m not sure exactly why the plants are getting Early Blight, but one cause could be watering at night. The best time to water tomato plants is in the morning so they have the entire day to dry out. I have been doing this, but there have been a few times when I didn’t get out there until evening. From now on I will be sure to water in the morning or at the very least if I have to water at night only water the base of the plants with the watering can so as to not get the leaves wet.

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So the tomato plant saga continues. Every day brings something new to deal with. So far my spirits are still fairly optimistic, but honestly the pear tomato plants are really wearing me down. What is so disheartening is I read on the internet today that these plants are known for the high production. They have been known to regularly produce between 100 and 200 tomatoes per plant. I seriously doubt my plants are going to reach even half that. There are probably about 20 – 30 tomatoes on the healthiest plants and only flowers or a handful of tomatoes on the plants worst hit by the leaf curl. I keep thinking…what could have been.

Oh well, can’t worry about that now. What’s important is to keep the tomato plants as healthy as I can for as long as possible. The pear tomatoes were only supposed to be for fun and eating. I’ve got to stay positive if I want to be — Simply Grateful.

 

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4 thoughts on “Early Blight – The Continuing Saga of ‘How The Tomato Grows!’

  1. Pingback: Fruits of my Labor | Simply Grateful Housewife

  2. Hi Tilly,
    How do the tomato plant stems look? I’ve had terrible Late Blight on my tomato plants for the past two years and I’ve been really careful about the right way to grow them, stake them, etc. They are a lot of work, yet they still succumb. The best you can do, is preventative maintenance to keep the disease off as long as possible.

    Blight looks like black circular marks on the leaves, surrounded by a white mouldy fuzz. Also, the stems end up with black blotches. Once this happens, the plant cannot be helped.

    Good luck!

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    • Thanks for the help. The stems are pretty good. All my plants are staked and some even have cages as well. They are so heavy now with fruit that many have two or four stakes holding up the plants and still the wind is taking some down when it really blows. I think the blight is my least concern right now. I think I might now have moved on to black spot which I hear is not treatable. This is apparently in the seeds, which is understandable seeing as my yellow pear seeds were heirloom. I’m just hoping to get something out of the garden before it spreads too far. At this point I’m a bit worn out from it all and Hubby told me to let this play out and see what happens.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know what you mean about the amount of work involved and feeling worn out. I find tomatoes to be the most time consuming vegetable in the garden and the one needing the most babying.
        Every year my plants have been getting sick, I consider taking a break from them the following year. This year is a big year for me, with growing out a tomato for Seeds of Diversity Canada (our seed bank). I’m hoping all 20 of their plants don’t get blight and I’m able to send them back what I promised. I guess we will all see what happens by the end of summer? Fingers crossed! Julia

        Liked by 1 person

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