The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Tomato blight fake news

Tomato blight

We had a rainy week here in Ohio, and suddenly all of the gardeners started talking about tomato blight. Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of misinformation floating around in that department. So this post is my attempt to debunk a couple of myths.

Myth 1: Blight came in with my compost. While it's possible that you brought in tomato blight in one of your store-bought supplements, it's most likely this fungal disease floated through the air from someone else's garden to yours. Store-bought tomato plants can sometimes bring blight along with them. But unless the compost you bought was created from diseased tomato plants, it's unlikely a soil amendment is at fault.

Pruned tomatoes

Myth 2: I'll plant African marigolds and beat the blight that way. Tomato blight refers to one of several different fungal diseases while African marigolds are used to combat some species of nematodes. Tomatoes can (rarely) suffer from nematodes, in which case you'll see enlarged knots on the roots, yellowing leaves, and general slow growth. So, sure, plant a cover crop of African marigolds in next year's tomato bed if you're certain you suffer from nematodes. Otherwise, I instead recommend manual blight-control techniques to deal with your ailing plants.

I'm glad to report that our tomatoes enjoy Ohio much more than they did Virginia. I've pruned a couple of times to knock back septoria leaf spot, but our plants are still thriving despite the onset of the mildest of the trio of common tomato fungal diseases.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Good to see tom's hanging on your vines!
Comment by Maggie Sat Jul 28 07:35:13 2018

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