Pest and disease in tomatoes: 7 ways to prevent Early Blight

Tomatoes can be prone to a lot of pest and disease in the upcoming season, so it is a good time to take a look at these now to ensure your juicy, plump, organic success!

What is Early Blight?

This is upon us now in some gardens; I have found it mainly on self-sprouted seedlings that have had to deal with rain, wind and cold over the past couple of months. This disease is one to be vigilant for.

What is Early Blight?

Early blight is one form of the many blights that attack tomatoes and is a fungus that can overwinter from last season’s diseased plants. This is why I recommend that, if you have diseased plants, you must pull them out and either burn them or take them to a green waste station. Plants that are affected will not produce many tomatoes and the disease can spread to other plants. Early blight can affect whole plants including their stems, leaves and fruit.

How do I identify Early Blight?

The characteristics of early blight are dark (brown to black) spots which form usually on the lower leaves and have identifiable rings. The lower leaves will eventually turn yellow and drop off. The fruit, when affected, will have spots near the fruit stem.

early blight

My 7 recommendations to prevent Early Blight

1. Early blight can remain active for up to a year and the spores can stay dormant in the soil for many years, so this is a really good reason why I recommend rotating your crops.

2. Good drainage for your tomatoes is important, as this can help stop the spread of the disease.

3. Make sure you have good airflow around and in between your tomato plants. I tend to remove the big leaves from the bottom up as my tomatoes grow, to enable airflow throughout the growth of the plant.

4. The most important thing to do is to water your tomato plant at the base and not the leaves.

5. Mulch your plant heavily.

6. Stake and train your plants from a very young age to avoid them drooping on the soil where disease will breed.

7. And lastly, personally I would remove infected plants to prevent the fungus spreading.

Happy gardening!

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