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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Great Tomato Aspirin Experiment for 2102: JOIN US!

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What I would like to do is invite any interested gardener in testing the theory that aspirin or salicylic acid triggers a natural tomato response called Systemic Acquired Resistance or SAR.

My understanding is that the salicylic acid in aspirin mimics a natural hormone that would naturally stimulate or initiate the SAR response in a tomato.

Rather than wait for a fungus (Leaf Spot or Blight) or a pest attack (Spider Mites) to occur that would naturally trigger SAR, we are going to spray (a few of) our tomatoes with aspirin and trigger theSAR response while the plant is healthy. And we are going to keep the response going until August 31st.

I used aspirin spray last year but not in a consistent structured manner. I did write, in blogs, that I noticed thicker leaves and stronger plants on tomatoes I treated regularly with aspirin. I even planted an aspirin with some plants. I was also able to keep different fungi to a minimum. I believe the aspirin along with my wettable sulfur spray helped me maintain a successful tomato crop. Prevention is the key to pest and disease management. Easier said than done, I know.

If you would like to participate, this blog entry, is going to be the data collection page and you can just use the comments to let us know that you are participating and how you are going to use the aspirin. I will outline a basic experiment (below) that you can follow and report on or you can create your own variation of the experiment. The goal  is the use of aspirin and to gather our opinions on how effective aspirin spray was on the tomatoes we grew and treated. No pressure, no stress, just some gardening fun…

I will be copying this entry to one of my blog pages called JOIN the 2012 TOMATO ASPIRIN EXPERIMENT. The blog page (different than an entry) is permanent and can be visited easily to read about the progress and outcomes of our experiment.

Again, this blog entry dated 4/10/2012 is the place to sign up for the experiment and comment on the progress of your experiment. Don’t worry it will be clear and easy to find what is what.

The Great Tomato Aspirin Experiment for 2012

A (1) or (2) gallon sprayer.
Mild Soap Detergent
Vegetable Oil
325 mg Aspirin with NO Coating

 Spray Formula:
(1) 325mg aspirin crushed and dissolved in (1) gallon of water

 Options for Spray: (last year I just did straight aspirin and water)
½ teaspoon of mild soap detergent to help the spray stick
(1) teaspoon of vegetable oil to help the spray stick

 You can use just soap or just oil or both or none. It is your creative choice.

The Aspirin Spray Routine:
 Thoroughly soak you experimental tomato or tomatoes every 10-14 days with the aspirin spray mix.

 Some variables (for fun) to consider are:
  1. Growing two of the same type of tomato in different parts of your garden and documenting the differences over time.
  2. Planting an aspirin with a tomato when you transplant it.
  3. Varying intervals of spray frequency with different tomatoes.
  4. Using Baking Soda Spray or Wettable Sulfur Spray with non aspirin sprayed and aspirin sprayed tomatoes. Perhaps see if a tomato sprayed with aspirin and one of these fungicides does better than the rest.


  1. Simply sign up here that you are interested in trying (don't worry about scientific perfection) and give a brief description of who you are.

    Come back when you have something you find interesting and give an update in the comment section of this post. I will summarize the comments and put them in the JOIN the 2012 TOMATO ASPIRIN EXPERIMENT that you can link to in the above blog entry.

    Thanks! Have Fun!

  2. Not only that, it's also fun to do and you are saving mother earth at the same time.

  3. I started my official spraying of my tomatoes. They were sprayed 1x in late April as 4 inch seedlings.

    All planted tomatoes were sprayed with aspirin on 5/22/2012. I will be spraying the 2-3 a month.

  4. How did this go?
    I'm going to try this now. Its almost mid spring. Unfortunately all my tomato plants are different (Mixed heirloom seeds) but hopefully I'll see some results :)

    1. My conclusion is it helps. I started with the above plan and sprayed pretty regularly till July. Not one drop of leaf spot. Last year it was bad. Though spot is dependent on weather conditions too. The late blight was much less too. I am get a few more tomatoes now as of Oct 1. The 100 degree heat was my biggest killer. The leaves will be a bit thicker and more leathery. Let me know how it works.

  5. Thanks Gary! I will definitely keep track. I've decided to do all my tomatoes. Last year I think I got early blight, I'm not really sure, but fingers crossed for a trouble free crop :)


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