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I've had a very successful crop of tomatoes of various varieties all grown outside but today I discovered all the plants have been affected by blight. I've pulled all the plants out but I'm not sure if I should treat the soil with something? Does anyone know?
Also, I have other crops - sweetcorn, cucumbers and aubergines which were close by the tomatoes. Would these be affected?
Hi Rosemary, no and no.
Don't compost the blighted tomato plants though, either burn them or dispose with the household waste. It might be wise to grow your tomatoes in another area next year but that is normal crop rotation which helps prevent all sorts of diseases building up. Blight is caused by airborne fungal spores which are everywhere. To reduce the chances of infection, only water at the roots as it is when spores settle on wet leaves that the infection takes hold. That is why plants grown under cover (eg a greenhouse) are less likely to get blight as there's no rain to fall on the leaves.
Thank you for your response.
I am about to have a greenhouse installed so I will be able to avoid the problem next year.
Rosemary, someone may tell me I'm wrong but I don't think a GH makes much difference! I have a GH and had a poorly plant this year.....still undecided whether it was blight or blossom end rot but in the end non of the plants looked well, although I still got quite a few toms. All the plants have been put in the bin today
Toms in my GH last year attracted thousands of flies. This year no GH toms and few flies. Last year very unpleasant and Gh became almost a no-go area.
My GH tomatoes have never had blight, but the outside ones have. Potatoes and tomatoes are the same family so if you have blight in one it's best not to plant either in that place the next year.
GH toms are certainly not immune from blight but it is less likely. Good ventilation is a must though as there are other fungal diseases (such as the various leaf spots) which are rarely seen outside but love the hot humid conditions which can occur. Since fitting home-made solar-powered fans to my GH I have had no trouble with diseases and I reckon a louvre at one end, and 2 roof vents is ideal, as well as leaving the door open for the whole of the summer to ensure a good airflow through the plants.
When I first got a greenhouse I installed a misting system and closed the door and vents every night only to end up with my plants getting every disease I have ever heard of (plus a few more!) I honestly thought at the time I was providing perfect growing conditions; I was, but perfect only for diseases and pests, not tomato plants! Tomatoes do not like humid conditions, rather the opposite in fact.
I read an article where a gardener said that he always composts plants with blight and that he has never had any problems with the resulting compost just make sure that you pick up all the blighted material because the spores can't live in the soil without diseased material.
You said ` you said the spores cant live in the soil without diseased material '
Iam afraid that information is outdated, there was scientific tests done in Holland about 5 years ago and they found after studying the sexual cycle of Blight.
There are things called Zoospores and Oospores, they found that the Zoospores were short lived as you describe above, but the exception was the Oospores which can be viable (capable of living, developing under favourable conditions), and they found it lived in the soil for 2 years
As for composting blighted material, I cant speak for everyone, but I certainly wont be putting blighted material on the compost heap
The gardener in question had done it for many years and never suffered any issues with a recurrence of blight from the compost.
This is my first year as a gardener ... in a very small garden.
My tomatoes were doing brilliantly until mid August when fruits when brown and knobbly and stems brown ...
Do not know what this is?
Is it the dreaded Blight?
I have not got anywhere else to grow my toms as only one small bed?
Silvergardener - that's not blight, which shows as dark blotches on the leaves at first, but I have no idea what it is. Doesn't sound like much fun though
I wouldn't compost any diseased material unless I could be sure that the heap would get hot enough to kill everything in it - and keep turning so that it all gets hot. In my experience it's hard in an ordinary garden to get enough material at a time to ensure this. But you can burn it and use the ash, or send it to the council's composting site via your green bin.
Wonderboy - are the flies tiny and white, like little moths? If so they're probably greenhouse whitefly; Tagetes (French marigolds) are effective at keeping them away if you have one near each tomato plant. Make sure they're the ones with the smelly leaves though. You can save the seed of these so only need to buy the plants once (or buy a packet of seeds!).
No, Steve, the flies were common or garden houseflies, attracted by the smell of the toms, I think. No Toms this year, few flies.
I have the blight but some of the fruits are not ripe,will it be safe to pick the fruits off and ripen on the window sill?
I doubt if blight is toxic to humans, but I'd avoid eating any horribly infected ones.