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Monday, May 17, 2010

Early Blight: Tomatoes

Last year I wasn't really hit hard with Early Blight. It came. But I seemed to manage it better. I did loose a 4x8 plot of tomatoes to and odd curling and distortion of leaves. I wonder if grape roots or oak roots effect tomatoes? That plot will get something else planted in it this year.


EARLY BLIGHT INFORMATION

I don't really have enough room to rotate the number of tomatoes I grow. That is always the first recommendation... Move the tomatoes and let the spores of EB die in that bed. Well I have news for you, they float and drift when condition are right.

The 3 things I did last year were:

1. Mulched with grass clippings. I didn't allow the soil to splash. This year I am putting down a layer of newspaper before the grass clippings.

2. I cut almost 2 feet of lower leaves from my plants. One of my Knols talks about that.

3. I sprayed the plants with wettable sulfur regularly.

4. Well I also staked my plants but I figured that was a given.

5. I  also destroyed the leaves as soon as they were noted with issue, which is easy to do in home garden vs. a plot you rent.

So I said 3 but do 5. The first 3 made a huge difference. I guess you could add in 6 things. Water from the bottom works too. The spores need moisture. Dry leaves are harder on the spores.

The goal to control Early Blight, in my opinion, is to seal the garden surface. Mulch, create a gap in leaves from the soil to the first row of leaves in the tomato plant and make the leaves as in hospitable to hosting the spores. Those are the three keys.

THE NEW ATTACK... I will be watering my plants with aspirin, as I mention a few blogs back.