Allotment Vegetable Growing
Monday 20 May 2013
Vegetable Growing Advice - Vegetable Guides
Tomato Troubles & Diseases
You’ll find a host of potential problems with tomatoes listed in the gardening books but in the real garden it does not seem to be so complicated.
This is really potato blight, don’t forget tomatoes are the same family as potatoes, so you can get blight.
My experience with blight is that there is little you can do if they get it and just to accept defeat. You can prevent blight by practising good hygiene when it is about and using clean mains water rather than water from an outside butt.
There are fungicidal sprays you can use that will help if used at the very first sign of blight. Dithane 945 is effective and approved for use on tomatoes.
Tomatoes that are ripe on the plant can be used but the rest will probably rot without treatment
Tomatoes can get virus infections and these too can be fatal. Symptoms are usually yellowing or mottling of the leaves and reduced yield.
In this case, I cut off badly affected leaves and hope the gods will give me some fruit. Sometimes it doesn’t make too much difference and you can basically ignore the infection.
Magnesium Deficiency in Tomatoes
This is a problem where the plant looks like it has a virus but it is caused by lack of magnesium. It is easily treated by spraying with Epsom Salts. Dissolve ½ oz in a pint of water (20g/litre) and spray each day for a week.
Even if I am fairly sure the plant has a virus, I give an Epsom salt spray – it can not do any harm, is perfectly safe and cheap. If it is deficiency the plant will benefit and even if a virus, it may help if deficiency is present.
See Elements of Fertilisers for more information
Tomato Blossom End Rot
This is where a brown patch is seen on the base of the fruit. It is caused by the plant drying out so the cure is to ensure your plants never dry out. At the same time, do not allow them to get too waterlogged or you will drown them. Regular watering is critical to success with tomatoes.
Tomatoes can suffer from aphids, green fly, white fly and slugs. I hang yellow sticky cards in the greenhouse to control white fly and slug controls for the outside ones. Apart from slugs eating the fruit, tomatoes do not seem too bothered by pests. It may be that I have been lucky.
Like most plants, it is not a good idea to grow the same thing in the same spot year after year.
If you grow in a greenhouse with soil borders, grow the tomatoes in the soil by all means but dig this out and replace with fresh soil each year.
With outdoor tomatoes rotate them. They are the same family as potatoes but do not grow next to potatoes because they are susceptible to potato blight. If they are far away from the potatoes they may well escape it. You can also try shielding them with clear plastic walls or even build a large cloche as the season ends.
Tomato Leaf Curl
You will often see curled up leaves on tomatoes – this is not a problem! It just happens and doesn’t seem to harm the plants, fruits or flavour.
Growing Tomatoes Guides
The Essential Allotment Guide
All you need to know!