Tomatoes have always had an odd twist, not a vegetable but it doesn't really fit as a fruit with the way that we eat them. However, no matter how we look at the tomato nothing quite compares to a vine ripened tomato whether it be eaten on a nice salad or in a homemade sauce or salsa. The problem not always do great intentions yield great crops of tomatoes.
Tomatoes are often hit by a variety of pests and disease, while there are far more disease resistant varieties now, a little bit of special care will go a long way in producing a bounty crop. Tomato blight is common and there are some simple ways to keep the chances of saving your tomato plants healthy.
First, remember not to plant tomatoes in the same place in your garden from year to year. This is not just for tomatoes but for many other vegetables as well. It is especially important if any of your plants were infected with tomato blight in the previous year. Plant your tomatoes a distance apart giving them plenty of space for ventilation, and do not let any leaves touch the ground. Stake them to prevent them from tipping over as soon as possible. Place a layer of mulch around the plants as this will prevent the splasah up from the rain. Another suggestion that seems to have great results is to use landscaping fabric as mulch.
The best time to water the plants is in the morning gives them the chance to dry out during the day, watering at night doesn't give the plants a chance to dry. Water under the plant, not over it. Try not to work with your plants when the plants are wet either. Keep your plants stress free, over and underwatering can cause stress to your tomatoes leaving them more vulnerable to disease.
Tomato blight spreads easily. Disinfect your garden tools with one part bleach to four parts water after each cut when you are caring for your plants. Do not put any of the infected plants in the compost, throw them away to prevent further spreading.
If you do see signs of blight you can use a copper based fungicide weekly until harvest time. Organic fungicides will not kill the disease but will prevent new spores. If the blight is too far along by the time you find it, it won't help much to use fungicides.
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