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Eric Wettschreck

Tomatoe blight

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What does it look like and how does it effect the tommies?

I'm asking cuz everyone around me says they have blight. My tommies look just fine and I've never had such a bumper tommie crop in my life. Mrs boilerguy has been busy making salsa and canning tommies, among other things. My neighbors are telling me it's just a matter of time before my tommies get it.

So, what is it, how do I avoid it, and if it shows up how do I get rid of it?

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Early blight is really common, especially coming into this time of year. It generally starts as small black flecks on the lower leaves, turns to bigger blotches and moves up the plants. The lower leaves usually yellow more quickly if early blight sets in. Early blight is best controlled by water management, basically if you keep the leaves dry while watering and mulch the soil you should be pretty good unless the season is extra rainy. The fungus comes out of the ground and is transferred to the leaves via water vapor. Growing tomatoes in poly-tunnels is a really popular way to prevent early blight. Foliar spraying kelp emulsions helps stave off early blight too.

Late blight is typically less common, but is far more serious of an issue. Late blight is dark blotches that look moist, kinda like a part of the leaf was frozen and thawed into mush. If you get late blight your garden site is basically screwed for 5+ years. Late blight has been in the news quite a bit this year and was a big problem all the way from the east coast into western Wisconsin. If your garden gets late blight you are generally advised to bury the plant remains in place and not to grow any tomatoes, peppers or eggplant for 5 years.

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