Ortho Garden Disease Control (Daconil) ? Organic?

Cindy_gardener(z7 TN)July 9, 2005

I have a terrible time with early blight on my tomato plants in a small backyard garden. This year I have been regularly spraying with Daconil via Ortho Garden Disease Control. I thought I was following organic practices but recently read on another forum that Daconil is not organic and that spraying Copper is preferred. I have avoided Copper because I read it is bad for the insect population. What is true? and are there other better controls for fungal diseases? Despite spraying pretty regularly with the Daconil, I have already pulled several plants with severe EB. This year I used 2x2 spacing, but because my area is enclosed, I think I will try 3x3 next year and perhaps that will help. Other veggies are also affected- my beans have rust and I think that is the same thing I am noticing on my okra. I would love to hear some advice from experienced organic gardeners!

Thanks, Cindy

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Daconil is NOT organic and will kill all the beneficial insects.
Copper can be phytotoxic to beneficials so you should be cautious about using that also, and only spray late at night when beneficials are less active.

Are you sure its early blight on your toms?
This disease is caused by the fungus Alternaria solani and is first observed on the plants as small, black lesions mostly on the older foliage.

Spots enlarge and concentric rings in a bulls eye pattern can be seen in the center of the diseased area. Tissue surrounding the spots may turn yellow.
If high temperature and humidity occur at this time, much of the foliage is killed. Lesions on the stems are similar to those on leaves, sometimes girdling the plant if they occur near the soil line (collar rot).
On the fruits, lesions attain considerable size, usually involving nearly the entire fruit. Concentric rings are also present on the fruit. Infected fruit frequently drops.

Very similar symptoms on the leaves can occur from poor nutrients in the soil.

When watering, keep the foliage dry, water from below with drip or soaker hoses, mulch with newspaper (ink free) or composted leaves to avoid splashing up from the soil.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 7:42PM
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Cindy_gardener(z7 TN)

Thanks Termator,
Darn. I thought I was doing the right thing with the Daconil. It is highly recommended over on the tomato forum, and I guess I made the wrong assumption.

Yea, I'm sure the early blight is what I have. I am careful to only water at the soil line and do use newspaper mulch covered with pine straw. But I understand that EB can also be airborne. I just get hit so hard with it every year, it is so discouraging! I know my little gardening area is not ideal as it is enclosed on 2 sided by a wood fence and on the third by a small building, but it is all I have. Next year, I will plant fewer tomatoes with more space between them.

Is there nothing I can spray that will be organic? I have companion plants all through the garden (sweet allysmum, marigold, calendula, petunia, etc.) for the beneficials and I have really done well with insect control this year because of that. But the EB just does me in! Also, as I mentioned I have rust on my beans and I can see my peas now have some yellow leaves with brown circles....


    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 8:15AM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

If it's EB, some folks have cut the disease way back by sprinkling food grade corn meal areound, about 1x per month

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 9:48AM
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We grow tomatos every year, and generally there are signs of blight at the end of the season. The garden refuse is cleaned up and composted, and the compost is put down on the garden plot the following spring. This practice may help reduce blight-at least, it doesn't seem to make it any worse.

Tomatos are great climbers. Is there some way you could construct a trellis, and have your tomatos climb up a few feet, where they will find more sunlight, and less dampness?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 9:56AM
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I think you need to spray the copper for now and then in the fall grow some type of cover crop, calendulas are good for a small area, to break the cycle of growing tomatoes continually in the same spot.

Then next year consider varieties such as the Mountain series developed at North Carolina State University (e.g., Mountain Pride, Supreme, Gold, Fresh, and Belle), which are tolerant to early blight.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 11:35AM
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ohiorganic(5/6 SW Ohio)

Compost tea helps with such diseases

Taking off all infected foliage and removing it from the area (and not composting it) helps a lot. Also remove all leaves making any contact with the ground.

There is an organic fungicide called serenade. I have not used it but it is an option

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 12:38PM
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Cindy_gardener(z7 TN)

I've heard about the corn meal, but haven't tried it. That sounds very interesting. Why does that work? Where can I learn more about that?

I do remove all the bad leaves and I don't put them in my compost pile. I did plant a cover crop of annual rye grass last year but I planted it too late and it didn't get very thick. I'll try another cover crop this fall.

I will also look into the Mountain series of tomato plants. I'll google that to get more information.

I heard about Seranade and saw one study published in Tennessee that did not have good results with that product, but some on the other forums have had very good luck. I didn't realize it was organic, so I think it is worth a try. Do you know where to get it?

Thanks a bunch everyone!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 3:43PM
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Serenade is based on AgraQuest's patented strain of Bacillus subtilis, a microorganism that is effective against several crop damaging pathogens, including powdery mildew, walnut blight, Botrytis bunch rot and fire blight.

The original wettable powder and the newly registered organic formulation of Serenade are approved for use on vines, fruits, hops, peanuts, vegetables and walnuts. Three new crops -- carrots, broccoli and onions -- have been added to the U.S. EPA label for the organic formulation.

Other than copper and sulfur, Serenade is the only fungicide with a broad spectrum of disease control approved for organic use in the United States.

"Developing Serenade for organic production cements our commitment to provide both conventional and organic customers effective, new solutions for disease pest management," said AgraQuest president and CEO Pamela Marrone, Ph.D. "Until now, organic growers had very few choices for plant disease control. With Serenade organic, growers now have the means for better disease control and improved crop yields previously only available to conventional growers."

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 5:40PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Daconil will NOT kill insects. It's a fungicide only, and a relatively safe one at that, even if it's not "organic".

Very little helps with EB other than removing affected cultivars and rotating your crops from year to year.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 7:59PM
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Ron_and_Patty(z7 GA)

Termater, I appreciate your obviously experienced advice. May I ask if you use Serenade or Aerated Compost Tea to fight your early blight? I've been spraying the tea (occasionally mixed with BT for "worms"), but can't really see that it helps. Any other techniques you can recommend to minimize it (other than the copper and resistant varieties you mentioned earlier? Thanks.

Cindy, We also have a significant problem with EB. It seems to be worse on the plants that were transplanted out earlier and had to wait out the cool wet spring.

So far our most blight (and crack) resistant tomato variety has bee "Eva Purple Ball".

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 10:01AM
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The statement was made "It's a fungicide only, and a relatively safe one at that, even if it's not "organic".

Concerning the "relatively safe" part: the active ingredient in Daconil is chlorothalonil. The following link gives the Pesticide Action Network rating for chlorothalonil.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 10:36AM
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Daconil users.

Sorry to say that you have been lead up the non-organic path and that Daconil does indeed kill insects especially the soft bodied ones.
Its also made by Ortho one of the worst companies in the world when it comes to polluting the soil with pesticides.

Thanks for posting the link Henry!!

Ron and Patty,

A question, do you start your own plants or buy plants.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 5:27PM
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Ron_and_Patty(z7 GA)

We start our own plants from seeds we save or buy from TGS or Victory or trade with other GardenWebers. We start about 300 open pollinated (heirloom) indeterminate tomatoes planting and 1000 more for spring plant sales. We have 4 ft wide by 20-50 ft long raised beds with plants 3 ft apart and will probably be using 2.5 ft wide CRM cages from now on. EB and some kind of brown/black wilt are by far our biggest enemies and is already out of control on half the plants this year. We used 1-2" of wheat straw for mulch this year, but any fruit that touches the ground and starts to ripen or crack will be eaten by either crickets, slugs, grasshoppers or something we haven't seen yet that lives in the straw/soil area. Thanks for your interest.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 10:43PM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

Then next year consider varieties such as the Mountain series developed at North Carolina State University (e.g., Mountain Pride, Supreme, Gold, Fresh, and Belle), which are tolerant to early blight.

Ha These are tastless and tough and an old shoe. The KC Tomatoman over on the tomato forum worked there for part of his schooling

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 1:39AM
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Last season the EB was pretty bad here (it was a wet year too). This year I changed my routine a bit and after first mulching the plants with homemade compost (2" deep at planting time) I followed up in 2 weeks with a extra 3-4" mulch of pine needles which extended way beyond the expanding drip line (foliage). Now 2 months later even the bottom leaves (resting upon the PNs) are still deep green and healthy looking - albeit a bit old). Perhaps the drought in June helped delay EB? Dunno, but it's a banner year so far with loads of 2# BWs and CPs out there just now blushing up. As usual, my plants are staked and semi-suckered. vgkg (old dog learns new trick - ruff ;o)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 7:32AM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

VgKg ( don't fall off the couch :-))

Tis my understanding, the best methed is to mulch after 1st blossom set, This is to allow more soil warm up time

Been to soggy here to prove it, but is on my Experiments To Do list


    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 5:15PM
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Hi Byron, you have a good point about the cool soil needing time to warm up, I guess that's particularly important up there in NH too. Down here the soil warms up faster (it seems) but the main reason I mulch ASAP at planting time is the rain/soil splash-back factor. That's why I use the dark colored compost first (heats up quicker and any splashing results in compost tea ;o) and then wait 2 weeks for later additional pine needle mulching for moisture conservation and weed suppression. Pine needles dry out fast on top too so the bottle tomato leaves don't rest upon wetness too long after rains. On the other hand, this may just be an exceptional year, only time will tell.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 7:43AM
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Too bad about those NC varities, still I am going to try at least one of them next year just to see.

I am also toying with the idea of trying the red plastic "mulch" that cuts down on many blight related problems.

My other bed will have hairy vetch in it that will be weedwacked and then toms planted into the vetch.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 8:45AM
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Ugh, the early blight is awful in my garden this year, even with careful mulching. Just too cool and wet in the spring. We didn't dry out as badly as VA did in the mid-spring.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 8:58AM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

The problem is that EB can be airborne and or seed borne In these cases, mulching doesn't help.

I have had EB on 2nd trueleaf Tomato seedlings, in the house in Pro Mix potting soil, bottom watered.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 11:18AM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

This article about 80% of the way thru it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 9:15AM
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Cindy_gardener(z7 TN)

What about solarizing the soil? I realize that EB can be airborn, but I'm wondering if it would help to solarize my soil anyway? Also, I have had some leaves turn completely brown and fall off. Not sure what this disease is. I'm wondering if solarizing the soil now would hurt nearby plants and also if it hurts or helps beneficials. Does anyone know about this?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 7:30PM
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All you need is some thin, transparent plastic sheeting, some sunny days and a little patience, for the process can take 8 to 10 weeks.

During June through August, the sunlight is powerful enough to solarize soil, explained Dan McGrath, vegetable crops specialist and staff chair of the Linn County office of the Oregon State University Extension Service.

"Solarization is like the cleansing process that takes place in a compost pile," explained McGrath. "When the soil temperature rises under the plastic, microorganisms that prefer warmer temperatures flourish and attack many of the harmful organisms."

Solarization can be especially useful in helping to kill many weeds and unwanted vegetation before making new garden beds. It also works to reduce the number of weeds between raised garden beds or in problem areas in yards. It has also been used successfully to reduce pathogens, nematodes and weeds in the upper soil layers before planting garden beds or young fruit trees.

Preparation is necessary before laying the plastic down on the soil surface.

Work up your garden bed and get it ready for planting, then solarize. Then take care not to disturb the soil after solarization, as the weed and pathogen-killing heat from the sun only penetrates a few inches. Here are the steps of the process:

First, cut or mow all weeds down and remove debris and large clods. Rototill or turn over your soil. Rake the soil to a smooth surface, as air pockets or other irregularities on the soil surface inhibit maximum heating.

Next, wet down the soil. The moisture causes the organisms to be more susceptible to the heat and helps the heat penetrate deeper into the soil. Then lay down your plastic sheeting. Clear polyethylene plastic about 1 to 4 millimeters thick works best for solarizing soil. Cut the plastic to fit the area you want to solarize.

Anchor down the plastic by burying the edges of the tarp in the soil. Leave the plastic on for at least eight to ten weeks, preferably during the long, hot days of summer. The process works best during July or August, but can be started in June, or extended into September, especially in areas with a cool and cloudy spring season.
McGrath studied the effects of solarization on soils for six years in Marion County agricultural fields and at the OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora. He found that solarization helps reduce weed numbers, but it does not eliminate all weeds. Some weeds, including purslane, are resistant to solarization, he said.

The clear plastic captures radiant heat energy from the sun, thereby causing physical, chemical and biological changes in the soil, explained McGrath. Solarization reduces populations of weeds, disease-causing organisms, harmful invertebrates and insect pests in the top 3 to 6 inches of soil without using pesticides or herbicides. Solarization also increased populations of warmth loving beneficial soil organisms in research projects, he said.

Researchers at the University of California also studied the effects of solarization. They found that solarization killed weeds like barnyard grass, Bermuda grass, nightshade, chickweed, thistle, pigweed, velvet leaf and lambsquarters. The process also killed many fungi, nematodes, weed seeds and other pest and disease organisms in the upper layer of soil.

For starters, try solarizing one garden bed per year, thereby reducing weeds and pathogens in a "summer fallow" rotation process, just as farmers do, suggested McGrath.

The success of solarization depends on the intensity of sunlight, soil moisture, weather and length of time the plastic is left on the soil. If you live in a foggy, cloudy or windy climate, the process may not be as effective as in a hot dry climate. The plastic may need to be left on longer than in a sunny hot area.

Besides controlling pest organisms, University of California researchers found that plants grew better than they expected in solarized soil. They speculate the treatment might increase the availability of some plant nutrients and beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

Solarization may also be used to eliminate pests and pathogens from homemade potting mixes. Spread moist potting mix in a 3 to 4-inch layer on a clean asphalt or cement driveway and cover it with clear plastic sheeting and leave for the recommended 8 to 10 weeks.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 10:18PM
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Cindy_gardener(z7 TN)

Thanks Termator. I'm going to try this. I'm wondering about the best (cheapest) thin, clear plastic sheeting. I looked for clear garbage bags I could cut up but did not find any so far. Perhaps a clear shower curtain would do the trick. What have others used?


    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 9:36AM
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backyardfarmer(Northern VA)

I used to get early blight, late blight, who knows what, but definitly fungus and disease on tomatoes and beans here in sticky virginia.

I used serenade very successfully last year, and have used it some this year. I see that the Gardeners Supply company in Vermont have it in their catalog this year, but I bought a big bulk gallon of it straight from the company.
I also sometimes use Soap Shield (a copper base spray) from Gardens Alive- a catalogue that has a lot of good references, photos, and is all organic I believe. This year I hope to try making compost tea- I have the pump and all of the stuff, just need to set it up.
This year I also have adopted the attitude that you are always going to lose some plants to bugs and disease- and if you are not making your living off of your garden, then some loss is better then using lots of chemicals. FOr example always get powdery mildew on my beautiful phlox, but not on all of it, and I still have enough to be beautiful for most of the summer.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 12:53PM
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I get my plastic sheeting at Lowes, Home Depot has it also. I havent found it cheaper anywhere else.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 8:15PM
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Cindy_gardener(z7 TN)

Thanks Termator and Backyard Gardener. I have pulled several of my diseased tom plants and have started solarizing my soil. I'm having to do it in patches, but I figure that every little bit helps. I bought some clear plastic at Home Depot. With the temps here in Memphis expected to top 100 this weekend, it should solarize pretty well!
Backyard Gardener, I like your attitude :-). I'll have to work on mine and lower my expectations a bit. But I keep trying to learn as much as I can to help me have a successful organic garden in a small enclosed space. Next year, I plan on the following:
-more space between plants (which means less plants and harder choices!)
- plant my tomatoes a bit later in the season (I may be jumping the gun a bit trying to get them out early and I think that stresses them)
- spray with Serenade
- use an oscillating fan in the garden once it gets hot

What do you think about the last option? I thought it might help with the air circulation and perhaps reduce disease.

Thanks for all the help everyone.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 7:37PM
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marylandmojo(zone 7--Md.)

Cindy: Poor air circulation and lack of sunlight certainly contribute to disease probability. Got any growers down there who grow late tomato plants? Not leftover junk from Home Depot (that is probably already weakened and stressed or downright diseased), but fresh plants grown for late season planting. For instance Early Girl, at about 56 days, would still make a crop for you (August 1 to October 1). Maybe a few plants in your lightest, airiest location, would work--and as hot as it is, mulch and/or pine needles to control splashing wouldn't retard growth (put down at the very beginning). Turning a fan on them would circulate air (and toughen them up), but I don't know about an electric fan outdoors--if it gets wet, it might light YOU up.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 11:37PM
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Cindy_gardener(z7 TN)

I can't seem to give up, so I started two plants from some cuttings off of my mom's garden in Arkansas (all plants I grew from seed for her). Also, about 6 wks ago, I started a couple of Sungold's. I've put those in pots away from the rest of my garden, so hopefully I can get a few toms from them late summer.

Thanks for the help. This forum is amazing!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 6:04PM
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Ron_and_Patty(z7 GA)

About late planting: We rooted some cuttings to create "new" plants which we planted later for continued fall harvest. They needed some shade for a few days but are now thriving. Pretty much all of the tomato plants that were put out before May 1 have succumbed to EB (finished off by 15 inches of rain in less than week).

So is it really true that fungus/bacteria diseases can be carried on the seeds from the previous years fruit, even if they have been saved properly with the fermenting /drying process? Does anyone know of a scientific study of that?

And one more factor on EB transmission that has not been mentioned yet. Weeds, (especially bigger ones and tall grass) in the paths and borders are a breeding ground for insects which I'm pretty sure carry "germs" on their little feet. I bet VeggieKing in addition to generous layer of rich, home-made compost and thick "dry" mulch has an immaculately weeded garden. Those all work together to make healthy plants in a clean environment.

(off-topic) VeggieKing: May I ask for an short tutorial on "staked and semi-suckered"? Thanks. I'm using cages but some of the plants still seem to fall down inside the cage so the fruit touches the ground.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 9:56AM
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username_5(banned for no reason)

Hey, crazy idea here and I have never tried it, but while I was reading through this thread and saw ideas like warming the soil, blight issues and the like my mind went to a really yummy hawaiian luau.

You know the kind where they dig a hole in the ground, burn a wood fire and when just the smoldering ashes are left they toss in a pig and cover with soil to cook it?

Well, here is the crazy idea to kill soil pathogens and warm the soil and add some potassium to the soil all at the same time.

Again, this is one of those ideas that just popped into my head and I am talking out loud. I never tried this.

Why not dig a trench where the maters will be planted, burn some hardwood in a firepit or wherever your local regulations tell you is OK to do it and when you are left only with hot ashes dump them in the trench and cover with soil. Wait a day or two and if my 'brainstorm' idea works you have solarized (or at least baked) soil, added potassium from wood ashes and well warmed soil.

Ok, who is going to test the idea and get back to us? ;-)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 2:31PM
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jkirk3279(Z5 SW MI)

"Why not dig a trench where the maters will be planted, burn some hardwood in a firepit or wherever your local regulations tell you is OK to do it and when you are left only with hot ashes dump them in the trench and cover with soil. Wait a day or two and if my 'brainstorm' idea works you have solarized (or at least baked) soil, added potassium from wood ashes and well warmed soil."

It probably wouldn't work, but it's a good idea to try.

Solarization works over the period of two months in SW Michigan, less time in TX of course.

The point is to raise the temp of the soil above 140 F and hold it there to pasteurize it.

I've been wishing there was a way to do what you describe, but heating the soil with a fire...

I saw a video on the Connections! TV show years back on how the early American Colonists would chop down whole pine forests, bury the trees and start a kiln fire going in the stack.

It's the fastest way to render pine trees for pine tar and kerosene.

That technique might work if you could learn how it was done, but you'd need to do lots of digging.

You'd need a really deep trench, and some way of channeling air into it.

Maybe stack the wood in the bottom of the trench, cover with chicken wire a couple of layers thick, then wet cardboard, then wet dirt.

Put in a chimney stack at one end and an open hole at the other to let in air.

Light it off and watch.

The plus side is, the char left over afterward is great for the soil, apparently the Incas did something similar thousands of years ago.

Look up the term "Terra Preta" to learn more.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 2:49AM
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I have needed this product the past two seasons at my new home to control early, mid-season and late season blight. I'm not sure if this blight is airborne, bug-borne or soilborne, but I do all of my gardening in raised beds. The beds contain the best planter mix known to mankind. I hope it's not that.

This is the only product I have found that controls the blight problems that infect my plantings. And this is one terrible blight. It can kill a full-grown plant in a week's time. Bang! Gone.

I know organic growers have a lot of problems with this stuff, and that's fine by me. I'd love to be able to grow organically, but no suggested organic method has worked. And organic doesn't mean perfect. There never would have been a potato famine in Ireland had organic really been "all that." The fact is, organic doesn't always work.

There are organic growers who would rather lose entire crops rather than putting one teaspoon of an Ortho product on their plants. Fine by me. But that's not me. I will not lose and entire season, every single plant, to blight.

I have eaten garden produce sprayed with Ortho products and have yet to grow a third arm. Although, I suppose that would be useful.

Just the opinion of one gardener. That's all.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 4:36PM
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paulyn(z 8 NW OR)

billbird: I hope we hear a lot more of your opinions. Sometimes people who have different ideas get attacked and they just drop out. I haven't signed on to gardenweb for a long time and was encouraged by your remarks.

Just an organic gardener trying to use common sense and survive the onslaught of weeds and bugs. That's all.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:40PM
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Daconil is unacceptable to any organic gardener/farmer. Because this product is highly toxic to aquatic life it stands to reason it could, even though it is a fungicide, kill insects.
I correspond with people in Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, England, and even the Ukraine as well as people in the USA and Canada and they tell me thaey have solved their Early and Late Blight problems by getting their soil into a good, healthy condition, that is all they did, just worked on their soil and their problems with the blights stopped.
I have grown my tomatoes in the same bed for 20 years and each fall the old tomato plants get cut down but left in that bed and it is covered with compost I make and that is coverd with some shredded leaves and left until the next year when new tomato plants are put in. The soil pH in that bed tests at 7.0 with optimal Phosphorus, Potash, Magnesium, Calcium levels with 10 percent humus. I know this because I do, periodically, have the soil tested and do those simple soil tests I have outlined previously. I have not seen any blight, BER, catfacing, or any other problems many others here have experienced and seem to accept as normal for tomato growers to see.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 7:02AM
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sequoia851(CA z9sunset15)

I agree with kimmsr. Work on your soil with compost/mulch/compost cropping and your chances of getting Alternaria solani will diminish greatly. Also crop rotation can be a significant help. If none of that works to your satisfaction, there is an OMRI listed product called Serenade (which is Bacillus subtilis, a bacterium that attacks many problematic fungal and bacterial organisms). It is listed to be effective in treating early blight and is not harmful to beneficials.

There will always be folks who just want the easy solution, regardless of the harm they may do, but don't believe the hype. Organic gardening worked well for thousands of years before chemicals came along, and will continue to work quite well. Even the Irish could have prevented the potato famine if they had not been monocropping and failing to rotate and grow cover crops.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 2:46AM
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Even the Irish could have prevented the potato famine if they had not been entirely dependent, for socioeconomic reasons beyond their control, on potatoes, and furthermore on a single variety of potatoes which happened to be particularly susceptible.

Organic gardening doesn't mean planting stuff and hoping for the best.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 10:56AM
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I got sick of hearing the same old saw from organic gardening naysayers (in my real life) and googled "Organic gardeners can't feed the world."

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 11:04AM
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I'm used to getting attacked from various sources. Doesn't bother me a bit. As I mentioned before -- I'd rather not spray my plants with anything -- organic or chemical -- but sometimes it must be done.

I live in one of the most fertile valleys in California. Sacramento is known as Sackoftomatoes -- and for good reason. The Sacramento River deposited ton after ton of high grade, good quality, fine loam soil for centuries. Call it "nature's compost."

Unfortunately, most of the best farmland in Sacramento County is underneath several layers of concrete and asphalt now. I suppose that's progress. In my little corner of Sacramento County, the soil is so poor, I must garden in raised beds.

Fine. Whatever. I do what's necessary and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

There have been some wonderful organic tips that I've acted on -- and had tremendously successful results. Spraying my tomato plants with a mixture of epsom salts and water, for example, provided a BUMPER CROP of tomatoes.

But when you live in an area that is favorable for growing tomatoes and other vegetables, it also means it is favorable for every bug and blight that comes with it. And that means a daily fight -- using anything and everything at my disposal.

By the way, I have run into organic growers who truly believe it's better to lose an entire crop to bug or blight rather than use an Ortho product. Sorry. That's just wrong. And those people do exist. But it's also not right to paint every organic grower the same color.

Some are different than others. What brings us together is the love of the harvest.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 8:50PM
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"In my little corner of Sacramento County, the soil is so poor, I must garden in raised beds."
That is nonsense. However getting the soil you have built into a good, healthy soil takes work, and time. Get your soil built into a good, healthy soil and you won't need to use many insect pest or plant disease controls at all. Only those that do not have goodm healthy soils have those kinds of problems and those that doubt that statement have not yet been there and do not know.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 6:28AM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

Are corn meal or Serenade the only short term solutions for disease? What about milk? I have read of using this before. Anyone have any experience with milk?
I actually used Serenade this year, but I only got to spray once. It seemed as if it would rain every time I had the chance. It did seem to delay things some but ultimately, once again, I have tomato plants dead and dying when they should still be producing fruit.
I am sick of losing the majority of my tomato crop to disease in order to remain organic.
I have been building my soil for over 30 years, so I don't believe that is the solution.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 4:58AM
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nathanr(z5 WI)

Hi Cindy,
I don't have an organic answer for you but I did want to correct something said much earlier in this thread that Daconil would kill all beneficial insects. It is considered non-toxic to bees and overall has a low toxicity profile (except to fish and aquatic invertebrates) and is far less toxic than many so-called organic products. Here is an interesting link with more toxicity info on Daconil http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/chloroth.htm
I used to have big problems every year with my tomatoes and various blights until I started spraying Ortho daconil every week or so. I also remove leaves in contact with the soil, and later, as they grow taller, I remove all of the lowest leaves. Mulching is important to keep spores in the soil from splashing up on the plants. My tomatoes get caged (2' diameter x 5' tall) in concrete reinforcing wire (re-mesh) and pruned to 4 to 6 stems per plant and I remove leaves that become crowded in the center of the cage where they do no good and impede air circulation. I plant 4'x 8' so I think planting 4'x4'with pruning would be an improvement for you and would allow better air circulation. If you can't buy high-quality, disease-free transplants then you have to grow your own from seed with sterile potting mix. I think it is important, as was previously mentioned, to get diseased leaves and plants out of the garden ASAP so the spores don't spread and over-winter. I also try not to handle the plants and fruit when they are wet so as not to spread the spores. These cultural practices and daconil have made a huge difference in my tomato plants. I have high quality fruit until frost and currently my plants are only about 10-20% diseased when everyone else around has been having horribly diseased plants and awful fruit for the last 2 months.
Good luck Cindy.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 8:26PM
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Daconil, and products like it, are unacceptable to an organic gardener/farmer. People that use these products are not organic gardeners/farmers.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 6:58AM
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Have a hard time watching my 100+ heirloom tomato plants deteriorate to EB every year.....so 5 years ago went the Daconil route.

Perhaps we're destroying the world.....but allow me to say that by searching for and clipping leaves that show EB, then spraying on Daconil generously once per week onto all plant leaves.....controls the problem VERY VERY well.

My guess is that nearly ALL commercial farms use stuff like Daconil to keep their business alive. True ?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 11:57AM
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Simply because "commercial" growers use something does not make it acceptable to organic gardeners/farmers. If this stuff is going to be acceptable to organic gardener/farmers then what is it that makes us different? How is organic gardeneing/farming different if the same fertilzers and pesticides are used by both?
If you use any synthetic materials in your garden you are not an organic Gardener/farmer.
If you repeatedly have a pest or plant disease problem you need to look at your soil to find out why.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 6:40AM
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crankyoldman(z5 NY)

I kind of wonder why people whose gardens are in such a poor state that they are having to spray regularly with synthetics are posting on an organic forum. Seems like there are plenty of forums where you can pimp Daconil all you want and fit right in. Is the point to stir up trouble by posting about how it's so good here? And how organic isn't "all that"? If that's what you think, go post in the veggie gardening forum. You think you're being "shut up"? There are only about 40 other forums on this site for you to boast about how you spray Daconil and it's "all that."

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 9:51AM
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Cindy, here is a link to some good information on why and how corn meal works. Note that it works best when The ENTIRE kernel is in the corn meal. The stuff you buy in the grocery store usually has the germ removed to make it store better. You'd probably do better buying it at a feed store and it should be cheaper there anyway.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 2:30PM
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Why use a 1996 posting to discuss the safety of any chemical?

The active ingredient in Daconil is CHLOROTHALONIL. A site that I find useful is SCORECARD ( http://www.scorecard.org/chemical-profiles/summary.tcl?edf_substance_id=1897-45-6#hazards ).

I would like to particularily point out the following: " More hazardous than most chemicals in 4 out of 14 ranking systems." ( http://www.scorecard.org/chemical-profiles/hazard-indicators.tcl?edf_substance_id=1897%2d45%2d6 )

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 9:40PM
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There is another organically acceptable fungicide besides Serenade and copper and compost tea. It's called Actinovate. Like Serenade, it is bacterial. Both Actinovate and Serenade are available from Fedco, Organic Growers Supply. You might also be interested in trying Effective Microbes. Some people are using them for fungus diseases on fruit trees. All the beneficial microbes work the same way: colonize the leaf surface with beneficial microbes; prevent the damaging fungi from taking hold. I agree you can get the same results from compost and high organic matter, and save your money--but if you like to experiment with the latest in new organic products, they're out there to buy and try.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 3:40PM
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I have not read this entire thread but I have had experience with Ortho Disease Control. I have grown about 36 tomato plants every year for the last 34 years. Long ago, I had a good source of composted sheep manure and used to add truckloads of it and compost to my garden each year. That source is no longer available. When I did have it, my garden grew amazingly. A few years ago, I was hit by a severe case of EB. It killed all my plants in only a week or so. I was careful to remove all garden debris that fall and the next year I only watered from the ground and kept my staked plants from touching the ground as much as possible but EB still hit. I read in a forum that Ortho Disease Control or any other product was useless once EB started but that made no sense to me. I bought a bottle of Ortho Disease Control and applied it as recommended and there results were amazing. It stopped the EB in it's tracks. The following year I had the same experience. This year I applied the Ortho product from the beginning of the season and my plants are so healthy that they could be used as cover pictures on a gardening magazine. I did see the first signs of EB after many days of rain but I killed it in its track again by applying the product as soon as the plants were dry. I also should say that I have treated the soil with corn meal but I am not confident that that is a factor because I used it alone for years including the years when EB killed every tomato plant. I still spread it once or twice a year because I figure it can't hurt and it's cheap.

When I spray Ortho Disease Control, I mix one tablespoon per gallon of water and use a pump sprayer. I also spray the ground around the plants. Since the day I started using this product, my EB problem has been history. In fact, it's amazing. It's great when a product actually works.

BTW, I am not an expert but I don't think Ortho Disease Control kills insects as claimed in one of the first responses here.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 4:02PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Daconil isn't organic, but it also doesn't kill insects. It's a fungicide, not an insecticide.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 5:36PM
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Daconil is not an acceptable organic problem solution. Using it means the garden is not organic and will not be for between 3 and 5 yeara of not using it. There is no amount of justification to using it in an organic garden.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 6:34AM
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when kerosene is used as herbicide, it kill all vegetables except parsley..
thanks alot

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 11:20AM
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how safe is it to eat tomatoes after spraying with Daconil?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 12:05PM
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I can find nothing that indicates how long after application of this fungicide one must wait before eating the produce, but I do find a lot of admonitions to not use this product in the home garden.
This product is not an acceptable product for any organic grower to use.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 6:58AM
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