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Tomato blight


by Pippa Greenwood

With my perverse interest in pests and pathogens, I find blight quite interesting. And this year has been especially interesting, as both the crop and the disease thrived.


Tomato affected with blightThis year has been a good year for tomatoes, but also a good year for blight. Blight, Phytophthora infestans, is a fungal infection, spread by spores in water droplets. Affected tomatoes develop brown, sunken patches, which spread to the stems and the leaves of the plants.

With my perverse interest in pests and pathogens, I find blight quite interesting. And this year has been especially interesting, as both the crop and the disease thrived.

Next year, Suttons Seeds is launching a new tomato called 'Hundreds and Thousands', and I was lucky enough to be given a trial pack of seeds. It's a funny variety, with low-growing plants covered with numerous marble-sized fruits. I grew one plant unsuccessfully in the greenhouse and many very successfully outside in pots.

My children found the tomatoes had too much skin for the quantity of flesh, but then they've become serious critics of the vegetable world in recent years. What struck me was that, while the plants did get blight, they got it much later than the other varieties I was growing, and when they did get it they seemed to carry on producing fruits, despite the infection. They're still growing now - I wouldn't say they are thriving, but they are still alive and cropping.

So my verdict on this new variety is that the plants look pretty and they appear to have some resistance to blight. It looks like my kids will just have to get used to them!



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Gardeners' World Web User 10/10/2008 at 19:42

I have grown Tomatoes for many years but it is only the last three years i have had a problem with blight. In the past i chose to grow what you may call normal size tomatoes ie shirley Gardeners delight, this year i decided to grow all small varieties ie Sungold tom thumb in all 6 diferent varieties about 77 plants in all, the blight still affected them but at a later stage in their maturaty therefore giving me a much better crop to harvest before it struck i had about 250-300lB before i lost the plants.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/10/2008 at 09:07

This year was fantastic for tomatoes indoors and out, I have never had such a heavy crop. I purchased the plants hundred and thousands and grew them in hanging baskets, from 10 plants I had over 12 kilos of bite size very sweet juicy tomatoes, will definitely be growing them again next year.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/10/2008 at 17:00

I was affected by blight which I think came from the potato crop. That crop was quickly destroyed and the tomato crop sprayed with Dithane which saved it very well with hardly any loss at all.

Gardeners' World Web User 12/10/2008 at 13:46

I grew lots of tomatoes (31 plants!) as a bit of an experiment. The best were the free Gardener's World ones! However, all my plants succumbed to blight. Normally, I's use the contents of the grow bags on my raised beds.

Is it safe to use the compost from the growbags of blighted tomatoes if I am not planning to grow tomatoes or potatoes in my beds?

Gardeners' World Web User 13/10/2008 at 10:43

Will the blight harm next year's toms?

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