Friday, August 29, 2014

Sad tomatoes

This is, I think, what tomato blight looks like. Our wet summer has been particularly cruel to the home gardener's tomato crop. We've heard from a lot of people about how their tomatoes are pourries (rotten) this year. Many gardeners have destroyed their whole crop to keep the fungus from spreading. Still, I see some gardens around the neighborhood with gorgeous tomato plants, probably part luck and part diligent preventative care.

You can see how the blight affects the stem and leaves of the tomato plant. Yuck.

We've still got some healthy tomatoes, so we're hanging in there and destroying infected fruit. I dumped a 20-liter bag of rotten tomatoes into the garbage can last week. So sad. The blight shows up in the leaves first, then moves into the stems. When fruit forms, the fungus quickly infects it as well.

Two infected tomatoes before I removed them. The stem to the left is completely brown.

I read about blight and there's not a lot a home gardener can do once it sets in. The best measures are preventative: remove infected plants at the first sign of the fungus (I didn't  do that),  bag or burn infected leaves, plants, and fruit, and spray bouillie bordelaise (a copper sulfate mix) on the plants before blight appears (I didn't do that, either).

I usually rotate the crops around the garden plots so that I'm not growing the same thing in the same place every year. That will be especially important next year. I will also have to be vigilant about removing volunteers and removing excess leaves from the plants to allow a good air flow. I will also use bouillie bordelaise or some other anti-fungal treatment early in the season to help keep the blight at bay.


  1. :(

    because our own summer has been cool and rainy, spouse has not gotten a huge amount of tomatoes either. and the peppers refuse to ripen. so weird!

  2. We had the same on our tomatoes here, but luckily were able to catch it before it attacked the tomatoes. At the first site of it, we trimmed all of the bad leaves/stems and then sprayed a mix of baking soda/vinegar/H20 on the remaining leaves (recipe found online) and that seemed to nip it in the bud. They are not the healthiest-looking plants I have ever seen, but they are at least still producing healthy tomatoes.

  3. Looks like a scene out of the film, "Fried Gangrenous Tomatoes".

  4. Oh Walt, sorry you were not spared the dratted blight. Here in coco co some have gotten flower blight, which rots the poor toms from the flower end. My irrigation system has been on the blink, and I just thought it was a bad year for my tomatoes. When I started watering by hand, they started perking up. Too much water for you, too little here. Glad you did get some nice picks before the blight set in.

  5. Apparently you need 11 hours where the temperature is at least ten degrees and the humidity 89% or more! over two consecutive days for blight to take hold. Not only my tomatoes but my gooseberry bushes and my courgette a have mildew so little fruit off them. Rabbits eaten my celeriac despite numerous protection devices. Moles running riot on the lawn. Lettuces have bolted. Need I say more?!!2669&parId=683D01BE94862A84!117&authkey=!AAPDQJUEsIKFWhY&ithint=folder%2cJPG

  6. Sorry, strange words and letters after my comment. Hope you understand what I meant

  7. OMG, the tomatoes are in a bad condition.

  8. It's grim, isn't it? Such a waste. It's OK to cut off the blighted part and cook the rest, if it doesn't make you too depressed. Even the beautiful line of tomato plants in the immaculate potager on the way into Descartes is affected at last.
    Our potatoes have blight too - Tim cut off everything above ground and hauled it away. The hope is that the tubers safe underground will be spared. We grow varieties that you can't normally buy in the supermarket, so fingers crossed. Our aubergines have spots on the leaves and are not thriving. Tomatillos unaffected (darn it).


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