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11/08/2012 at 15:20
Hello. First year of my greenhouse and my tomatoes have blight. It's on quite a few stems and I don't want to spray. Is it best to cut my losses and bin all the tomato plants (I've read infected material shouldn't be composed)? Can anyone recommend veg I can grow instead now and will the blight mean I can't grow tomatoes next year? I'm based in Ayrshire, Scotland. Thanks.
12/08/2012 at 09:25

ishlac, cutting your losses depends entirely on what sort of fungal disease you've suffered. Is there any chance of a photo of the problem? Greenhouse toms can suffer fungal problems that outside toms don't simply because of the enclosed growing environment.

16/08/2012 at 18:12

Being in damp and mild west Cornwall my tomatoes get blight every year!  I cut off the leaves as soon as they start showing blotches and just carry on regardless and I always get a reasonable crop. I tend to choose vigorous varieties so that the plant will re-grow well if I've had to cut back hard.

I've tried "Losetto" this year which has proved to be more resilient than any other so called "blight resistent" variety, but it still got some blight. Sungold and Black Russian have also done well despite getting blight.

I don't compost the blighty bits, but since it's air-born I don't get too paranoid.  I do however clean the greenhouse very well at the end of the year using a bucket of  water with cider vinegar in it - very fragrant!

16/08/2012 at 18:31
I think Italophile may be right....you sure it's blight? If so bin the plants ASAP. But I would guess you have a fungal issue. Only once did I have blight on indoor toms and that was because I bought some tomato plants from an outdoor market that, with,hindsight, had blight and placed them in my,greenhouse late in the season. Cornish-sue, I too am in Cornwall but more west and coastal so know that blight can be a problem down here. What about lettuce, radishes, etc., but I wouldnt worry about blight carrying over til next year, but I'm far from an expert re this so maybe someone will correct me? It's Important to sterilise greenhouse each autumn though. I skipped this process one year and had fungal issues because of it
16/08/2012 at 20:25

Thanks for your advice everyone.  I've binned the plants already as the infection was really beginning to take hold and I'm sure it was blight as I lost my potatos a few weeks ago too (och well, always next year!).  I think it was my own fault though as I relied too heavily on the automatic vents which I had set wrongly and setup a water butt irrigation on a timer.  When I realised the leaves of the plants were soaking from condensation it was too late.  The louvre vents couldn't cope and I didn't check everyday this July but will next year.

I grew the plants in the greenhouse border, should I remove any of the soil or will a good airing and scrub of the greenhouse with the good old cider vinegar do?

On the upside, the brussels sprouts are looking good so far where the potatos were and my herbs are great!!

17/08/2012 at 08:17

Subject to what the fungal problem was exactly, you shouldn't need to remove any soil. Spores will have fallen onto the soil surface but you can bury them by thoroughly turning over the soil. Well buried, they're harmless. Fungal spores are airborne critters. Any infection you get next season will be fresh via any breeze.

01/09/2012 at 09:46

I had the same sort of problem in west sussex, as grew 4 moneymakers in a newly aquired greenhouse, alongside cucumbers & aubagines, however the tomato`s are the only plants affected luckily, think i will stick with anything but tomato`s for the greenhouse next year. as the toms grow just as well outside.

01/09/2012 at 10:31

Great idea to grow outdoors if you can, Phil. Greenhouses can be incubators for so many fungal problems for toms.

01/09/2012 at 11:07

What visible differences are there between blight and fungal problems? We grow a wide variety of toms in a greenhouse for different purposes and only certain varieties seemed to be affected. Any help?

01/09/2012 at 11:49

Nytiri, toms are subject to a variety of diseases. They can broadly be classified as fungal, bacterial and viral.

The problem is that "blight" has become a generic term for fungal disease. There are only two actual Blights - Early Blight, and Late Blight. Other fungal diseases - Septoria Leaf Spot, etc - have similar but identifiably different symptoms, but the end result is largely the same. The big difference between the Blights - and SLS, etc - is that Late Blight can and will wipe out an entire plant within a week. Early Blight, SLS, etc, will eventually spread across the plant - unless you take preventive measures like removing affected foliage as soon as it appears - but take a long time to destroy the plant. In fact, the plant usually runs out of steam first or cold weather sets in.

All fungal spores - the nasties that carry the pathogen - are airborne. They're invisible, they travel on the breeze, and they're everywhere.

I don't know what your particular symptoms are but it's very unusual for some toms in a greenhouse to be affected by fungal problems and others not. Greenhouse toms are particularly prone to fungal problems because of the enclosed environment and lack of air circulation you get outdoors. No tomato variety is immune to fungal problems.

Do you have any photos of your symptoms?

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