tomato early blight--OG remedies?

joannaqcw(NY 4/5)July 6, 2012

My tomatoes are beginning to fruit--cherries and Juliets ripening, larger tomatoes showing large fruit but still green. My Brandywines have severe early blight--lots of spots/yellowing on older leaves, some stem spots, no fruit rot yet; some of my other varieties have milder cases. Maybe 1/3 of the tomatoes are affected.

Last year I lost a lot of fruit to early blight. This year I've been pruning out infected leaves, bleaching between cuts. I haven't cut off all spotted stems, because that would lose me a lot of my plants. I'm spraying both 10% milk and Serenade weekly, a few days apart. The blight is still spreading. Not fast, but steadily.

2 questions:

Are there other organic sprays/remedies that you've had good luck with? I'm brewing basic compost tea (compost and molasses and water in a bucket, no aerator). I'd rater not use copper because of earthworm issues. I've read about baking soda spray, but wonder if this would just negate the pH effects of the milk spray and weaken not strengthen the plants' resistance.

How helpful is pruning in limiting the spread of late blight? Should I keep whacking off infected leaves even if I end up defoliating my Brandywines?

Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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The first step is avoidance, protect your plants from the spores that cause Early Blight. Since those spores do come from the soil good mulches are necessary. Promoting rapid leaf drying and not getting the leaves of the plants wet can also help.
To the best of my knowledge the only effective control for an organic gardener is copper fungicides, which if applied properly should not have that much adverse affect on the earthworm poopulation. I do not see that Serenade is listed as a control for Early Blight. Milk, a 50/50 mixture, is effective for controlling Powdery Mildew, Black Spot, and a few other fungal diseases as is baking soda. I find nothing about either as a control for Early Blight, however.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 8:16AM
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