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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blighted tomatoes

As you can see from the picture below some of the leaves on my tomatoes were showing the tell tale signs of alternaria solarni or early blight.  Are you impressed?  I looked it up to make myself sound  clever.  
I knew it was a mildewy thingy because there is a lot of it going around.  I didn't want to use a fungicide.  Only the lower leaves were affected so I took them off and put them in the bin. I top dressed the tomatoes with some very old chicken poo and compost.  Tomorrow I will mulch them.

Now my tomatoes have lovely long legs to keep their skirts up off the ground.  
I will also be very careful not to wet the leaves when watering. 

Only the Gross Lisse were suffering from this problem.  The Mortgage Busters, and other Heirloom varieties were fine. 

Something that worked well.

Some of you will remember the post entitled Macrame in the Veggie Patch.

In these photos you can see how the tomatoes have grown up through the strips cut from an old wind-cheater.  It has been pretty automatic.

Occasionally I have  pushed a stem to one side or the other as they wove upward.

In some places I have twisted the cord around the stem where the material  was loose enough.

I would highly recommend this method of imposing one's will on tomatoes.


  1. It looks so fun too!! Sorry about your big latin name thingy, hope you now have it's measure and it has learned not to mess with Hazel Dene! Plants are just like kids really but not so lippy.Talk to them nicely, be fair and they respond well.

  2. Your maze of support looks great is something I struggle with year after tomatoes are producing abunduntly but are a mess...I just cant ever seem to get them supported enough and now they are all brown and dry in the middle???
    Anyway, my husbands 'Italian" way of watering with no wet feet seems to be working a treat on the Grosse Liss' year I will try again...its all a learning thing isnt it...x

  3. One year we used an old tall stepladder to support the tomatoes. It worked amazingly well and didn't look too bad either.

  4. Hey, how are you finding the mortgage busters? I do very much like the macrame in the garden, it seems to have worked really well. Beautiful light in your photos too, so don't worry too much about not being as tough as I am, you still take lovely photos :p

  5. Aye Hazel, Cut short lengths of copper wire ie electric cable wire with the plastic stripped off (30-40mm long) and on a bad plant push the wire through the stem so it sticks right through, or for prevention and not on bad plants stick the wire in a leaf stem close to the trunk. My Dad always used it and never got Blight on his tomatoes, I always use it and have never lost a plant.
    Hope that helps.
    Cheers Barry

  6. Well Hazel I was inspired by your "Wind-cheater Macrame" and sat down and cut up an old purple top.
    I always underestimate how big and heavy tomato plants can grow and didn't provide enough support but with the addition of "The Purple Web" that I have inserted all is well! The purple looks beautiful too!

  7. We gave up on outdoor tomatoes as blight seemed to strike every year and devastate everything although last year it wasn't as bad.
    It also affects the potato leaves so we don't plant later varieties - this way after removing the leaves we still seem to manage to harvest tubers.

  8. Your tomato plants have really grown and the macrame looks to be a great way to support them. Hope the blight doesn't take over as looking forward to seeing lots of tomatoes harvested.

  9. Interesting that only some of the varieties are affected. This just reinforces my view that growing small quantities of many different types is better than growing lots of a few types. "Hedging your bets".
    Blight is the curse of tomato growers worldwide, but blight- resistant strains are beginning to emerge. Have you come across Ferline? I've grown this several times and it does resist blight better than other varieties, even if it's not totally immune. Another one is Legend, although I have not had any success with this one - a small yield, and the fruits mostly split open before ripening.

  10. Love the macrame, but also you've put in the time to remove the laterals. I've given up on the tomatoes here this summer with all the rain. They split, rot, mildew - you name it. but I'll try the macrame in Autumn.


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