milk solution against tomato blight: chemical details?

linaria_gwMarch 23, 2012

Hi there,

I got the advice to use a solution of 1 part skimmed milk, one part water, to spray against blight. "works wonder". Only problem, the funny lady gave loads of other advice. At least 3 of them I would judge to be nonsense.


I searched this forum, but found only a little bit about this milk wonder.

Can anyone explain the biochemestry-back ground or is this just another funny gardener`s lore?


eg horsetail: I grasp the concept that the silicat (?) of the horsetail can fortify plant cells if applied as tea or potion or something.


well, just curious, bye, Lin

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Which disease are you referring to when you say "blight"? There's Early Blight, Late Blight, and Southern Blight -- three different diseases caused by different pathogens. And to be even more confusing, all three can occur any time during the growing season, and in any location.

Then too, many people simply use "blight" to refer to other fungal or bacterial diseases (of which there are dozens that attack the poor tomatoes we love).

Here's Cornell's guide to identifying tomato diseases and problems:

And here's their site for Late Blight:

I think I remember some sort of milk spray which is used against mildew -- forgotten which type of mildew ... or if it's effective ... or if it's used on tomatoes ... squash, I think?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 8:20PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Good info from missingtheobvious above.

Only problem, the funny lady gave loads of other advice. At least 3 of them I would judge to be nonsense.

Then trust your instincts on this one too. :)


    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 10:27PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Many people seem to feel a spray of milk and water keeps powdery mildew under control on cucumbers and other members of the squash family. This thread on the Organic Gardening forum discusses the pros, cons, and details; one of the links is still good.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 12:44AM
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thanks digdirt and missingtheobvious.
(by the way, I garden in Europe)
I looked up the blight: it is a fungus, Phytophtora infestans, or late blight. And it really attacks the plant in mid or late season.

Well, if it was so effective, the problem would be solved once and for all, wouldn`t it. ...
It`s really amazing how some folks spread "advice", rumors, misinformation. Not with bad intention, but still. I am mostly into perennials and just started with veggies, so still gathering experience.

Well, a good season 2012, bye, Lin

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 5:32AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Linaria, if what you have is Late Blight, P. infestans, that's a whole other story since it is not related to Early Blight, A. solani, and EITHER one can occur either early or late in the season.

But Late Blight is usually lethal and from the time the first symptoms appear the plant is usually a stinking mass of black within a week, or at the most two weeks.

The only defense against it is to use Daconil from the time the plants are first set out and then hope for the best.

And I say hope for the best b'c no pretreatment or continuing treatment is always 100% effective.

What Daconil does is to cover the specific attachment sites on the upper leaf surface so that the spores cannot attach.

And it has to be reapplied after rains as well.

So do be SURE that what your plants have is Late Blight , P infestans) and not some other infection b'c indeed it's a very serious situation when Late Blight is around, as I know it is for several of my friends in England and certain areas of Europe and has been a problem here in the US in certain areas including my own area of the NE, aka, all the US states known as New England and many adjoining states. And also in what we call the Pacific Northwest, that's the states along the coast in western US.

Hope that helps.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 7:06AM
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I once sprayed a skim milk solution on a hibiscus that had some kind of disease that was causing large black areas on the leaves. It cleared up, even the black leaves turned green again, which really surprised me.
But since then, I've tried it on other types of black spots (ie, roses) and it didn't seem to help. One good thing about this solution is it can't hurt anything, especially if you have milk that's starting to go bad.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 10:45AM
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I tried the milk solution on both tomatoes and cukes a couple if years age and it had no effect.
John A

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:33PM
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