Tomato Crop 2014, blight, leaf spot

mdfarmerAugust 1, 2014

Anyone care to comment on their blight situation so far this year? Here in Maryland I think it's advanced by at least a few weeks versus where I was at this time last year. I believe that I'm dealing with blight and septoria leaf spot.

I've been alternating two organic fungicides every week or so, Serenade and a liquid copper - I've been doing this since I put the transplants in the ground, but some of my tomatoes are bad enough that I may start tearing them out.

I have a number of tomato transplants that were supposed to go into my high tunnel a few weeks ago as my fall tomato crop, but unfortunately that never happened. It's getting pretty late in the season but we may still try to plant those this weekend.

Parts of the tomato rows in my field aren't bad, so I'm hoping that I can keep at least some plants producing into fall. My blight resistant variety (Defiant) is also doing pretty well.

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randy41_1

i usually get late blight here. none yet. i have resistant varieties only outside..mountain merit and mr. stripey. we'll see how that goes. it would be unusual to get past the next week or 2 without late blight. i attached a link to the late blight map.

Here is a link that might be useful: late blight map

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:40PM
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cole_robbie(6)

Mulch makes a huge difference. I use black plastic. I have next to zero blight. Other family members have gardens with unmulched tomatoes, and most of them are half-gone to blight by now. Fruit are getting sunburned from the lack of foliage.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 2:02PM
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mdfarmer

I've checked the blight map and saw that it's in my area. Other farmers I've talked to are experiencing blight issues now too, worse than last year. We've had a lot of rain this year, which was nice in a way, not so nice for tomatoes.

I use black plastic mulch with tomatoes, which I agree helps quite a bit. I also keep the bottom 12 inches or of my plants pruned. All this plus my fungicide spray regimen helped last year and bought me an extra 3-4 weeks over most of the vendors at my market, but I'm not faring so well this year.

How is the taste on Mountain Merit? Defiant is good, but I don't think it's nearly as good as some of the heirlooms that I grow - still, better than no tomatoes at all. I'll have to see if organic Mountain Merit seeds are available anywhere.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 5:42PM
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randy41_1

this is the first year i'm growing mountain merit. they were planted a bit late and i'm still waiting on ripe fruit. i would guess that they taste like you say defiant does.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 6:51PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Remember late blight is airborne, not soil borne/splash up like fungal and bacterial things.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:50AM
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mdfarmer

I've been reading about early and late blight to see if there was anything I could have done differently this year. I read that late blight might be introduced into a field early by volunteer potatoes that come up from the previous year, but then it quickly becomes airborne like Little Minnie pointed out. Volunteer potatoes could be a factor for me, but another grower I've been commiserating with over blight doesn't grow potatoes at all, so I think it's just a bad year for us here in the Mid-Atlantic because of the wet conditions.

Organic fungicides seem to have failed me this year, so I think I'll try to focus more on blight resistant varieties of tomatoes next year.

If I pick Defiant tomatoes when they look ripe, they taste like supermarket tomatoes, but if I leave them on the vine until they are very ripe, they're pretty good. Certainly better than no tomatoes at all.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 8:48AM
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mossflower

We have blight on our farm. Within all our plants. We harvested all the fruit and are trying to ripen what we can and if it shows on the fruit we will have to dispose of it. Big crop of heirloom tomatoes and a big money maker for us. Fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 7:56AM
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mdfarmer

Good luck, Mossflower. Are you in the Mid-Atlantic? The tomato crop is awful this year, it's really getting depressing. Pretty much everyone I've talked to has been hit hard. I do wish I had succession planted my tomatoes this year. It seems that whoever has tomatoes in fall will be able to charge what they want for them.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:31AM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

We have been using Oxidate on tomatoes and have had excellent control of early blights and it seems to be knocking out late blight as well. It has no residual so it has to be reapplied at least once a week

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:03PM
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mossflower

Thanks mdfarmer. We are in upstate NY and we pulled 20 flats of tomatoes off the plants to ripen and we are down to 3 that haven't showed blight as they started to ripen we had to toss the rest. What a nightmare! Several neighboring farms are experiencing the same thing so at least misery has company.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:34PM
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randy41_1

as expected late blight has showed up here as well. so far all i see are lesions on some leaves. most of my plants are in high tunnels. a vendor at the market saturday said she lost all her plants to late blight already.
the link i attached is to the webinar i attended. lots of info on late blight.

Here is a link that might be useful: late blight webinar

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:58PM
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mdfarmer

Boulderbelt, I'll look into Oxidate. Might be time for me to try some new fungicides. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said that Serenade gave me pretty good control of blight and leaf spot, but not this year. Even the commercial growers in the area have fields full of dead tomatoes, and I know they're not piddling around with products like Serenade.

Mossflower, that's very depressing that you had to pull all those tomatoes. Good luck with your remaining plants. I need to pull at least a few more of my diseased tomatoes out of the field. Some of my remaining plants have healthy new growth at the top of the plants, so I'm continuing to spray Serenade and hope for the best. Not sure that I'll even have enough tomatoes to can this year, which is depressing.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:58PM
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cdevries(6a)

I'm in SW Ontario and we just found late blight this morning. Pulled about 50 out of 500 plants, then pruned and sprayed Serenade on the rest. Not sure if it's going to help. We really need some hot dry weather.

What bums me out most is that the plants look otherwise super healthy and we did so much work this year to trellis and mulch. The early blight levels are still very low. That and because of the cold weather we've really only had 2 weeks of harvest so far.

I have about 100 hoophouse tomatoes that show no signs yet. That and the fact that we've harvested for 5 weeks from them makes me want more hoophouses!

Chris

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 3:24PM
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