Organic Methods of Tomato Fungus Problems

dereckbc(7a TX)January 23, 2006

Looking for proven organic methods to control tomato fungus problems.

I have used cornmeal and milk in the yard to control fungus problems there, but hearing they are effective methods on tomatoes. Some of which I can understand as cornmeal on the soil will only control splashback problems and not airborne.

Really do not want to use the copper products if an organic method is as good or close to the effectiveness. Any ideas?

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suze9(z8b Bastrop Co., TX)

Looking for proven organic methods to control tomato fungus problems.

Move somewhere else ;)

I have used cornmeal and milk in the yard to control fungus problems there, but hearing they are effective methods on tomatoes. Some of which I can understand as cornmeal on the soil will only control splashback problems and not airborne.

I also use cornmeal on my lawn as a fert, and a preventative for fungal problems, along with the whole watering deeply/infrequently thing. But as far as tomato plants go, I apply a thick layer of wheat straw mulch to minimize splashback. It also cuts down dramatically on watering needs and helps to keep the roots cool. Not that there's anything wrong with using a little cornmeal as well, I just think you're going to find a mulch more effective for helping with that splashback (of fungal spores) problem.

Another tip is to site your plants where they get good early morning sun, so that the dew will evaporate from the leaves rapidly. Along the same lines, refrain from unnecessarily wetting the foliage.

And, of course, adequate spacing (for good air flow) can also help.

Really do not want to use the copper products if an organic method is as good or close to the effectiveness. Any ideas?

Many of the copper products/formulations are "organic", i.e. accepted organic gardening practice. The most effective product/approach to the disease problems we tend to have here (early blight and sometimes septoria spot, both fungal) is Daconil (Ortho Garden Disease Control) regularly applied *as a preventative*. What makes it so effective is that it basically seals the attachment sites on the surface of the plant so that the fungal spores can't take hold. And it is less toxic than the copper products. However -- it is not organic.

Organic options that you could explore include Serenade, and also Messenger (harpin, which is supposed to stimulate the natural defenses of the plant). Some folks are also using an aspirin solution sprayed onto the plant (techically not "organic", semantically speaking).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 2:30PM
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honu(z11 HI)

That's very interesting about aspirin. Why does aspirin protect the plant from fungal attack? Is it preventive or treatment for existing fungal problems?

Also, regarding mulching w/ straw or other organic matter... I bought a bale of hay, and it's all moldy now. I guess everything gets moldy here because we are always warm, humid, and rainy. Would you use moldy mulch? Frustrated because even straw and hay cost quite a bit here.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 9:32PM
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vinemaple

I have an ongoing battle with this disease and I started a thread in the tomato forum.

I also just read that an application of Chamomile tea, cooled of course, every other day may help. Finally something to do with that jar on the herb shelf.

I read that too much nitrogen in mix can also cause trouble.

Serenade is a good fungicide we've successfully used.

Running the surface of medium on the dry side is a good idea as a preventative.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 3:57AM
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bigbubbacain(z9a TX)

I've started my seedlings with a dose of Actinovate in the water. It's a powerful brand of the Streptomyces fungus and does alot for prevention. Haven't had a single problem with early blight!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2006 at 8:17PM
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