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Brown lesions on various vegetables

Posted by joshua_bardwell East TN (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 9, 10 at 18:49

My plants are being afflicted by something, and I have no idea what it is. I have done some web research, including searching gardenweb, but the problem is that there seem to be many different infections that cause similar symptoms, and I can't get a straight answer on which this might be, and more importantly, what to do about it.

The problem is surprisingly broad-spectrum, and visions of losing large swaths of my garden are running through my head. The symptoms are as follows: yellow spots on leaves turn into dry, brown lesions, that eventually result in the entire leaf turning brown and wilting. The problem seems to have started on the lower leaves of the tomatoes. The really disturbing thing (to me) is that, not only were tomatoes affected, but so were a few kohlrabi that were in contact with them. And so were some beans, summer squash, broccoli, and potatoes, that were not even in contact with the tomatoes. As I think about it, I’m starting to wonder if this is what killed all my early peas (and seems to be in the process of killing my 2nd batch of peas now). It’s possible that this isn’t the same thing for every plant, but you be the judge. I've posted the pictures in a gallery over on my domain, which can be accessed at this URL:

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Brown lesions on various vegetables

Blight. Surprising that it is on so many other veggies. Did you leave a lot of leaf litter from last year laying around everywhere?


RE: Brown lesions on various vegetables

This is my first year in this location, so the beds are entirely new.

Suggestions on how to best respond? With a name like "blight," I'm guessing it's not treatable.

Googling ;-)

... I mean, I'm googling "early tomato blight" now, but any specific suggestions you have are welcome.

RE: Brown lesions on various vegetables

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 9, 10 at 19:56

Not all those veggies are affected by the same thing. the tomato & potato perhaps, but not the rest, including the peas.

I have trouble seeing the images in that they're a tad small. Any chance of larger versions? And one veggie picture?

... and gaining some perspective ...


Cancel the request for specific suggestions, unless you really want to share. There is an abundance of information out there. Thanks for your assistance with a definitive diagnosis. This is my third year gardening and my first year with a garden bigger than my back patio, so there's a lot of really obvious things that I don't know, and I appreciate the patience of more knowledgeable gardeners with folks like me.

When I started this garden, people told me to aim smaller, and I said, "given what I'd like to do, this IS aiming small!" My philosophy has always been, "If I lose every damn plant I start this year, I'll be no worse off than I was, and I'll learn a lot in the process." Seeing the lesions on all my plants really had me repeating that mantra in my head and trying to figure out if I believed it or not.

Thanks again.

RE: Brown lesions on various vegetables

Joshua, the blight is controllable, and my attempt at a pithy comment went astray. Not all veggies get infected with the same thing. A good 'problem solver' text is a good investment and it is likely you have several issues in the garden. And the chatter on this board indicates blight has already started and folks in the east are getting it.


Picture size


If you click on one of the pictures that is currently being viewed, you should get a larger version (600px wide) all by itself. I can provide even larger ones if you like, but I suspect the 600px versions may have enough detail to satisfy you.

Here's a direct link to the 600px version of the pea plant:

Unfortunately, I only took one shot of the peas today, because the tomatoes were my focus.

What are you looking for when you say, "one veggie picture"?

RE: Brown lesions on various vegetables

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 10, 10 at 0:03

Sorry about my previous grumbles. I didn't find all your images during my first visit.

The pictures show only one leaf per plant, most of them only a small part of a leaf. Even though we value closeups for the details they offer, it's important to know just how many leaves are affected on a plant, also what age -- oldest only, or also middle aged or youngest only -- also their distribution on the plant. So an overall shot might help us tie things together.

For instance the broccoli & squash leaves may just be old leaves.

Bean leaf -- I'm not familiar w/what's going on there. Again -- the only affected leaf, one of a few, or many are affected? Whatever the case, definitely not the same thing as on the tomato.

RE: Brown lesions on various vegetables


One more comment, if I could: it's funny to me how, when I was searching the web looking for a diagnosis, nothing seemed conclusive. It looked light blight; it looked like bacterial spot; etc... But now that you've called it as blight, it's so obvious that's exactly what my plants look like, and I feel kind of dumb for not putting two and two together myself.

Thanks again. Got some cornmeal soaking on the counter now, and plans to get out there and start stripping affected leaves immediately. Man, that potato patch is going to be a handful.

Answers to Jean

Jean: The beans seem to be doing quite well. That leaf was an isolated one that I found while harvesting, and it looked similar enough to the tomatoes that I went ahead and snapped it. More data is better, right? Yeah, right.

If the bean leaf had turned out to be part of the same problem that the tomatoes were having, then I'd be more worried, because the tomato problem was clearly spreading, but if it's something else entirely, then I'm not too worried, because the beans and the squash actually seem to be doing fine. Then again, maybe it's an early sign of something to pay attention to! Either way, I don't have enough data on the bean or the squash situation by themselves to tell you much more, so I think that may be as far as we get on that, but I appreciate the help.

You may also be right about the broccoli leaves just being old. They were from the bottom of the plant and had kind of fallen off, but at that point, I was so damn worried about my plants that I was taking pictures of every yellow or brown thing I found on the ground, just in case it turned out to be useful. The main thing beating up my brassicas this year is the darn caterpillars, so if early blight doesn't infect them (and it sounds like it's limited to tomatoes, potatoes, and other nightshades), I'm not too concerned.

Like I said to Dan, this is my first year with a garden this size, and I figured if I was going to fail, I was going to fail big and come back better next year. I think what I've figured out just in the last few weeks is that I have got an adequate grasp on preparing the beds, mulching, starting seed, and getting the plants to their adult stage, but I know just about squat about pest and disease management. You mean just hoping and praying doesn't do the trick?! Like Rumsfeld said, "there's things we don't know, that we know we don't know, and things we don't know, that we don't know we don't know."

For the record, I don't intend to run to gardenweb with pictures every time I see my shadow on the ground, but the early blight was spread far enough that it really shook me and I just wasn't able to get a definitive answer by searching the web.

Thanks again.

RE: Brown lesions on various vegetables

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 10, 10 at 11:30

No need to apologize for your concern. Gardening is a learn-by-doing sort of thing.

As far as posting pictures -- we'd rather see lots rather one or none. Even though the other person describes what they see, we must build the same picture in our heads. So when we combine one or more photos w/the description, it's easier for us to come to a correct conclusion.

Unfortunately, many gardeners are misled by the "sanitized" photos they see in garden books & magazines. Nothing ever has any spots, holes, off-color leave, etc. No weeds. Not ever! Not even among the flagstones on the pathway.

So, a few guidelines:
- Cruise the garden every day or so to get to know your plants and see how they are doing.
- Holes happen. If only a few, not a problem unless, of course, more and more develop
- Leaves die. Typically they're the older leaves at the base of the plant
- If the newest tip growth shows distortion or unusual colors, the gardener should investigate sooner rather than later.
- Some critters feed at night; a 10 PM search-and-destroy mission is often productive.
- When you see a nasty critter, deal with it on the spot.
- But if you don't know who the insect on a damaged leaf/plant is, find out before you squash, cut in half, drop into soapy water or, as a last resort, spray.
- When it comes to damage from insects and/or diseases, none of them affects *everything* you're growing.
- If everything is affected, suspect an abiotic cause -- among these are unfavorable weather; chemical (synthetic or organic)damage; sub-optimal care or, alternately, excessive TLC.

Hmmm. I'm certain there's more. But I need a cup of coffee, then have to go to the office. (sigh)

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