Tomato hygiene

tishtoshnm Zone 6/NMAugust 23, 2012

Good day! Some of my tomato plants were definitely sick, but I am not sure with what exactly. Their color was dull/yellowish, they were producing almost nothing. I tried to look for certain spots on the leaves to help me know exactly what was going on but little luck. I pulled them and threw them away but I am curious if in the future if pathogens can be spread by the gloves I used when handling the tomatoes?

Question 2, some of these were staked with bamboo. Is it possible that the pathogen could attach to the parts of the bamboo that were in the ground? I want to know if I need to cut off those portions or throw out the entire piece of bamboo. Thanks for any help!

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I'd be more concerned about the soil then anything else. You'll want to plant elsewhere for a couple of years if indeed your plants were diseased.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:50PM
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If the plants were surely diseased, I would pull all the bamboo supports and toss them, but if you can't or don't want to toss them, you can soak them in a dilute bleach solution to try to sterilize them. Then I would pull all the plants and clean up as much of the fruit / plant debris as I could find, bag it up (plastic trash bags) and put it to the curb for pickup.

That said, in general, I'm not a huge "garden hygiene" fan. When you know the plants were diseased and you don't know what it was, it's best to exercise caution because certain pathogens can survive in dead or rotting plant tissue - so the less you have lying around the better. In cases where the plants were not diseased, I'm not so particular with clean-up. I'll clear the garden enough that I can get through it - get the bulk of the dead top growth and then I'll mulch over top of the rest.

If the pathogen is a soil borne disease, moving your garden probably won't help unless you can really put some significant distance between the old and the new; and even then, it's possible it could be spread by simply tracking it around on your shoes. If the pathogen was wind borne, it'll probably just come back next year anyways.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 3:24PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Thank you for the help. I will definitely be rotating the tomatoes and have disposed of the ones suspected to be diseased.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 2:50PM
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