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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brief Tomato Plant Update: Aspirin, Baking Soda and Disease

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Important: On June 20th my tomato plants suffered some phytotoxicity which is a fancy way of saying the leaves got burned by a chemical.  I have been applying baking soda at 2 tablespoons per gallon of water since April and it has been effective. However... that was when temperatures were really mid 80's or lower. On June 20th the temperature was over 95 degree with a heat index of 100 degrees. I sprayed my plants the night before with baking soda. The combination of that spray and the high heat (the next day) damaged leaves of different plants. I am now recommending 1 tablespoon of baking soda per gallon of water as a precaution. I will be shooting a YouTube video to describe the damage and process.

I honestly don't know how many tomatoes I have planted but it is around 30. I have been keeping updated with my Aspirin Spray routine see the 2012 Tomato Aspirin Experiment. My next day to spray is June 15th. I have solely been using baking soda spray to manage leaf spot and early blight. Last year I used wettable sulfur spray. The ideas is the spray makes the leaf of the tomato uninviting to the disease spores. You can find more at my YouTube video: Tomato Aspirin Spray for Defense.

I have not seen any signs of leaf spot. Last year at least 1/2 of my tomatoes showed signs of leaf spot. Last years weather was a mess, this year... not so bad. I have also been spraying all tomatoes with baking soda regularly. 

I have noticed some leaves that look like early blight on 2 plants. I pruned those leaves off. I am not convinced it is EB because the pattern of the browning is as circular or cylindrical as is typical. It is just brown leaf with no circular pattern (similar to how a cut tree trunk looks). However, it is brown spots surrounded by yellowing. I will assume it is EB and treat those plants more often with baking soda.

You can't cure leaf spot or early blight diseases. You can't eradicate them (spores) from your soil or the air. You can only be defensive. I will know over the next 4 weeks how I fared against these diseases. I hope everyone is doing well in the way of pest and disease management.

Good Growing!