Friday, September 12, 2008

Fusarium Wilt

The tomatoes performed so beautifully last year, that I decided to ignore all advice about crop rotation and plant them in the same spot this year. That was a mistake. There are so many diseases affecting tomatoes, and as they grow in the same area year after year, bacteria builds up in the soil that makes the plants more and more vulnerable to various tomato blights.

In early July, I noticed signs of Fusarium Wilt.

tomato blight

I removed all the affected leaves and sprayed with Serenade, an organic fungicide for use in the home garden, and fought off the plague for a while. However, each week the problem became worse and worse, with even more leaves and shoots shriveling up and dying until some plants were completely naked. I continued to clean up the plants and spray each week, nursing the plants back to health so we could enjoy a decent harvest.

tomato blight

Although I was unable to wipe out the plague, the plants are producing normal fruit, but since there are few leaves to provide shade to protect the sensitive fruit from the harsh sun, the fruit is cracking too soon before harvest, and the bugs are getting most of the bounty.

tomatoes got the blight

I will definitely rotate ALL my crops next year. I've learned my lesson!!

Although the harvest has not been as plentiful as last year, we have still canned up a good amount of salsa and tomato sauce. The Costoluto plants were least affected by the blight (and thankfully so - they're SO yummy!), and the Park's Early Challenge were most affected. In fact, I think the Early Challenge buggers started the whole mess! They won't step root in my garden again, that's for sure!

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