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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 06/08/2012 at 06:43

No, definitely not BER. The photo isn't terribly clear but you've probably had insect visitors. Have a good look around the foliage - both sides - at night with a torch.

Talkback: Tomato blight

Posted: 05/08/2012 at 14:44
Green Monkey wrote (see)
I have just had my first attempt at growing anything as we moved to a house with a garden- 30 tomato plants 3 different variety's all healthy and at least 4 foot high then over the space of 4 days the all died- the leaves went brown ,the stems started going brown and the fruit all started to get brown patches then completely covered so today I dug them all up and binned them. MY question is can I grow anything else in the same spot ? I have various chilli and pepper plants next to where the toms where growing and I still have 60 to plant out from the green house- A very gutted Green Monkey

Sounds ugly, Green Monkey. Condolences. Is this what they looked like?

If so, it was Late Blight. It's about the only disease I can think of that will demolish a plant within four days. It's exactly the same disease as Potato Blight.

I'll wait for confirmation - or otherwise - before suggesting action.

Talkback: Tomato blight

Posted: 05/08/2012 at 14:27
diggingdoris wrote (see)

I lost all my outdoor plants to blight last year, and someone told me I can;t grow toms in that patch for 7 years. Someone else said 5 years and another 3 years! Anyone know which advice I should follow? The link to the rhs site didn;t say either.

If it was a bona fide Blight - Early Blight, say - you can grow toms in the same spot again the next season. There will likely be fungal spores on the soil surface. Turn the soil over and bury them. I've done it many times. Fungal spores can't do any damage underground. When a new lot arrive next season - and they will, because they're everywhere, you can't avoid them - they will be airborne. They travel on any breeze.

If, on the other hand, you had one of the several tomato virus diseases, you wouldn't want to plant in the same spot again. The viral pathogens can live on in soil.

So if you're sure it was fungal, turn the soil over very well and happily plant away next season.

Talkback: Tomato blight

Posted: 05/08/2012 at 14:19
Alina W wrote (see)
Italophile wrote (see)

Why doesn't this site's link function work?

Cut and paste the links into your browser if you're interested.

To make the links work:

Paste the Link into your message

Highlight it

A link sign will light up above where you are typing immediately to the right of the smiley. Click on it

A box will appear, inviting you to paste your link into it - do so, and click "insert"

The link now works in your message - but don't ask me why it's so complicated!

Thanks for that, Alina. What a weirdly complicated method.

Curling tomato foliage

Posted: 05/08/2012 at 14:17

Just to expand a little on the above. Leaves curling downwards at the edges is most often a sign of some sort of contamination by herbicide. Leaves curling upwards is much more common and there can be a number of causes.

Excessive heat can cause it. My toms in the ground are covered with curled leaves because we're into about our third week of high-30sC. It's just the plants' stressed reaction to the heat.

Excessive watering can cause it, particularly with container plants. Pale foliage is another symptom.

Pests - aphids, white fly, etc - can cause it.

Disease can also be a cause. Is there any evidence of disease - specks, spots, whatever - on the foliage? And is the affected foliage old foliage? New? Or are the symptoms all over the plant?



Posted: 05/08/2012 at 11:04

Are they "black holes" or sunken black patches at the blossom end? On the bottom of the tomato? If so, it's probably Blossom End Rot. Here's what it typically looks like:

The plum-type varieties like Roma are extremely susceptible to it. No one knows why. I've had Roma plants plagued by BER growing right alongside beefsteak varieties - identical soil, identical watering, etc - that haven't shown the slightest sign of BER.

If that's not what you've got, can you post a photo?

Whether you've got a fungal or bacterial problem, spraying now isn't going to help the already-infected foliage. If you have unaffected foliage, spraying will help against infection. That Bayer product seems to be copper-based, one of the traditional anti-fungal ingredients. Spraying doesn't kill the spores. Effectively you're coating the leaves to put a barrier between the spores and the leaf surface, stopping the spores getting a grip. So you have to spray every leaf and on both sides. Spray about once a week, re-spraying if it rains.

As I said, Romas can present their own challenges, but I wouldn't give up on the plants by any means. They sound like they're in pretty good shape despite the problems and worth fighting for.

Curling tomato foliage

Posted: 05/08/2012 at 09:02

Sounds like a silly question but are the leaves curling up at the edges or down at the edges? The difference usually leads to different diagnoses.


Posted: 03/08/2012 at 10:28

If the problem was fungal, it had nothing to do with infected pots. Some bacterial and viral diseases can be transferred via previously infected soil and pots.

Can you post a photo? It would be interesting to see what the problem actually was.

Fungal disease is the most common ailment in the home tomato garden. You can't avoid fungal spores. They're airborne, invisible to the naked eye, and they're everywhere. Unless you spray preventively, there's nothing much you can do except undertake some basic housekeeping drills to try to minimise their impact.

Avoid wetting any foliage. Damp foliage is heaven for a fungal spore. Still air and clumps of foliage fall into the same category. Try to maximise air circulation by (1) keeping individual plants at least a metre apart, in fact as far apart as your growing space allows; (2) judiciously trimming foliage on individual plants to avoid walls of clumps of leaves; (3) remove the lowest branches of individual plants to maintain a gap of at least a foot between the lowest foilage and the soil. Fungal spores can and will fall from the leaves to the soil underneath and can splash back up again when watering. The gap between the lowest foliage and the soil helps against this.

In fact, you probably have more chance of dealing with disease outdoors than in a greenhouse. You need very very good ventilation to overcome the fact that the closed environment can be an incubator for disease.

Posted: 03/08/2012 at 08:09

I use T&M quite a lot for seeds I can't get here in Italy. The delivery has always been prompt and I've never had a problem with germination.


Posted: 02/08/2012 at 16:12

Beetroot don't always develop at the same rate in my experience. I get big 'uns alongside little 'uns. Are they getting plenty of sun? You could try a nitrogen-based fertiliser but don't overdo it.

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