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Latest posts by Italophile

Grafted tomato plants

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 09:21

Overnight I emailed a friend in Sydney who tried grafted toms this (last, SH) season. He said they started producing earlier than the traditional plants but the traditionals caught up later. Overall, the grafteds probably produced a bit more fruit but nowhere near enough to justify the exorbitant cost.

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 09:15

Si, è Ruggine Tardiva purtroppo, Dove. I'll stick to Italian. The leaves get that ugly water-soaked appearance and the disease spreads to the stems very quickly. It will wipe out an entire plant inside a week. It's very easy to tell apart from the non-fatal diseases like Early Blight, Septoria Leaf Spot, etc.

It's called Late Blight because, traditionally, it turns up later in the season. It can and will turn up earlier if conditions are right - cool and damp - and particularly if there's been an infestation in the area.

Fruit trees

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 09:03

All three can need pollinators, Pdh, another tree of a compatible variety to pollinate the blossom. What varieties do you have?

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 08:39
Leggi wrote (see

It appears that blight seems to be a problem in my area so I will just have to keep spraying if I ever want a good crop of home grown tomatoes.

This years crop so far - half a cherry tomato.

Leggi, is this what your problems have looked like?


Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 08:23
Dovefromabove wrote (see)

You're not crossing enough fingers!  

This morning two of my Marmandes have black patches on the main stems   As soon as OH is up and has had a cuppa, I'll get him to move them away from the others (I slipped a disc last week )  

Although one of them is the only one with large toms on so far,  I think I shall have to bite the bullet and bag and bin them in order to protect the others - oh it's fun this gardening lark, isn't it?

Can you post a couple of photos - stems, foliage, fruit - before they go to Tomato Heaven?

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 08:22
Dovefromabove wrote (see)

Thanks Italophile 

I've just been reading this

very interesting.

Dove, it is interesting, but a pity they just use the generic term Blight. They really should be identifying the pathogen(s). Anyway, the results are unsurprising. Once the spores are in place and doing their dirty work you can't (so to speak) kill them. Any anti-fungal action must be preventive.

Grafted tomato plants

Posted: 11/08/2012 at 09:20

You could say that the jury's still out on grafted toms, christopher. Some swear by them, others consider them an expensive folly. I lean towards the latter. They are often sold with claims of disease resistance but there are any number of traditional hybrid varieties around bred for the same disease resistance. Bearing in mind that resistance means just that - they will still become infected, but will battle on a bit longer.

Still, the only test is to try grafted alongside traditional and see what happens.

Powdery mildew.

Posted: 11/08/2012 at 09:08

Jean, a baking soda-based spray is commonly used against powdery mildew. Give it a try.

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 11/08/2012 at 09:03

Leggi, if the stems are quickly turning black it sounds like it could be Late Blight. If so, there's no saving the plant.

In general, spraying once any fungal disease symptoms are already present is a waste of time and money. It's too late. Spraying has to be preventive, meaning you spray before the spores arrive, starting a couple of weeks after planting out, then weekly or so afterwards, respraying if it rains.

Spraying doesn't guarantee you won't get fungal disease but it gives you a solid defence.

Dove - good luck!

Talkback: How to grow salad leaves from seed

Posted: 11/08/2012 at 08:54

I would like to know how to pinch the tops out of the tomatoe plants and when to do it.


Janet, you only need to pinch out the tops of tomatoes (a) if you want to limit the plant's height in restricted growing space (eg, a greenhouse); and (b) later in the season when any new flowers won't have time to produce fruit.

To pinch out the tops - identify the plant's leaders, the main vertical stems that are producing branches and flowers, and cut off the top inch or so.

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