Getting rid of Verticillium Wilt

spokanegardenerJuly 8, 2007


My tomato plants have verticillium wilt. I cannot rotate crops because I have a small garden and basically only grow tomatos, basil and lettuce. At this point I am contemplating pulling out all the tomatos and solarizing that particular part of the garden.

Does solarizing get rid of VW? Is this my only alternative? If long do you think I need to keep the plastic on? July and the first two weeks of August are the hottest weather we have ranging from about 75-degrees to a few days at 100-degrees.

I would appreciate any help I can get on this. I plan to start the process in the next few days.

Oh...besides that...before I knew what I was doing I cut off diseased tomato brances and leaves and put them in my compost pile. Am I doomed?

Thank you,


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please see my response in the veggy gardening forum.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 5:45PM
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There are a number of studies around that show that compost added to soil will suppress disease pathogens in soil and my correspondence with people all over the world tells me the same thing. Gardeners in New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, and the USA tell me that they cured soil borne disease problems just by adding compost and getting sufficient levels of organic matter into their garden soil. It does take time and will not happen overnight, but it works.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil disease suppression with compost

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 6:54AM
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thank you for replying to my post. I am trying compost, have added to my soil every year. Am trying to make my own, but really struggling to make it work. Meanwhile buying commercial compost.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 12:26PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Here's the same question, with different replies, in the Veggie Forum

Here is a link that might be useful: this post in veggie forum

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 6:42PM
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No need to re-plant tomatoes there again till you get ready to. Try straw bale gardening. I got 3+ bushels of tomatoes last year from 12 bales of straw. No bending, weeding, spraying. Just fertilize and water. I don't know why more people aren't getting on this bandwagon.

Wheat Straw is preferable to oat straw. Here are the instructions I received. I ignored the fine points and put a cup of N sulfate on my bales for 3 days in row, then cut to 1/2 cup for 5 more days. Water it in well each time. I let my bales stand for 2-3 weeks to make sure they were really composting on the inside, and so that I knew they were cooled off. The point is just to accelerate the decomposition of the interior of the bale. I found that 2 tomato plants per bale worked fine. I liked San Marzano as my favorite all around tomato. The little yellow pear tomatoes made too much foliage and those plants are just gigantic - you could only have 1 plant per bale and they don't yield well. I would not plant them again. I put Sweet 100 seeds in a well rotted bale in July and had a late crop that lasted till November.
I also planted Rutgers which did esp well, Early Girl, Beefmaster, etc. Last year we had so much rain I hardly had to water but you should plan in checking your water needs almost daily with this method. The bales drain easily. Do stake when you plant or you will be sorry. There will be a few weeks of getting settled and then they will explode with growth and there won't be time to stake. I tried staking late and not heavily enough and I had vines sprawling everywhere. This year I am using metal fencing poles at the end of each bale and running twine back and forth to tie them up to. Forget tomato cages they aren't strong enough. I am also going to lay my bales on visqueen ( heavy black plastic ) and cut it so I can pin up a tiny lip around the bottom of each bale -maybe an inch high, and secure it with landscape pins. This will act as a saucer to retain some moisture in the bale but the plants are set way up in the top of the bale so they will not be too wet.
I put nasturtium seeds around the edge of each bale and had some nice cascading flowers that lasted all summer. I also sowed basil but found that it couldn't germinate and hold on to get big enough without some soil - will try that again this year.
I went to a grain elevator to get a 50 lb bag of Ammonium sulfate for about $11. Original recipe is for Ammonium Nitrate but in Ohio that is too regulated because of the Unibomber. Down south they can still get it in some states. The sulfate is 24-0-0 which is less than the nitrate but it worked fine.
For prepping of the wheat straw.
Days 1-3: Water the bales thoroughly and keep them wet.
Days 4-6: Sprinkle the bales with 1/2 cup ammonium nitrate (32-0-0) per bale per day, and water it well into the bales.
Days 7-9: Cut back to 1/4 cup ammonium nitrate per bale per day and continue to water it in well.
Day 10: No more ammonium nitrate, but add 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer per bale and water it well.
Day 11: Transplant plants into the bales.
(Use a spatula to make a crack in the bale for each plant.) Place the plant down to its first leaf and close the crack back together as best you can. Apparently you can use two tomato plants per bale, 3 peppers, 2 squash, 2 sets of cucumbers. You would definitely need to stake the tomatoes, and possibly the peppers.
I put potting soil into the cracks to give the roots a better start.
Also I can't find the article but someone in the Pacific NW did an experiment where they piled about 4-6" of compost on top of the straw bales and put the seed right on top. They said it only worked with compost as the mycorrhzae in the soil knit it together so it doesn't wash off. I had somewhat the same experience with the potting soil I put on top - it doesn't wash away surprisingly enough. I am going to try this next year for flowers and squash.
This should be plenty to get you started.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 6:45PM
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