Friday, August 7, 2009

Much Worse Than BER: Late Blight

I spotted a suspicious blotch on one leaf on one of the tomato plants growing in the SFG on Thursday. I carefully placed a plastic baggie on my hand and used it to remove the leaf from the plant turning the bag inside out and tying it closed. I inspected the other plants and all was well at the time.

Today after work I inspected the garden again and found similar blotches on the other tomato plants in the gardens. It has spread already. It’s that fast. How foolish of me to think the baggie would make a difference. It was already there.

I am so disappointed right now. I will pull the plants over the weekend and double bag them. In all there are thirteen Super Marzano Tomatoes and six “mystery” tomatoes that were supposed to be Window Box Romas, but were something else.

So sad, there are so many beautiful green tomatoes never had a chance at greatness. I’ll post more pictures over the weekend of the carnage.

ETA: I also sent the pictures above to Eric Sideman, Organic Crop Specialist at Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) for confirmation. His response arrived quickly:

Yes this is blight. Here is a good discussion of the disease if you want to read. But, basically you should destroy any infected plants by pulling and bagging or burying it so they are not sources of spores.

Late blight on tomato

The disease only over winters in living tissue so once everything freezes you will be free of it, unless you have potatoes. If you are growing potatoes, look for volunteer sprouts next spring and kill them.



  1. Oh,'re the second one of my gardening friends who has reported having late blight just today! How terrible to have worked so hard for nothing.

  2. Yuck! I'm so sorry. That really stinks. From what I understand, this year was a bad year for blight. There's always next year.

  3. A product called Mancozeb is supposed to control both early and late blight. It may be worth a shot....Good luck!

  4. So sorry about your tomato troubles. I'm hoping that the spots I'm seeing on my potato & tomato plants isn't something this serious.

  5. Oh boy. That is hard to take. Tomatoes represent such an investment of time to get to that stage - that when they give in to disease and fungus it is very hard to bear.

    Hugs. I hope 2010 is a better tomato year for you.

  6. The tomatoes are history and on there way to the landfill. The potatoes look fantastic and I always have volunteers the following year so I will have to be vigilant. One account that I had read was, the late blight was brought into the area this year by the big box stores on tomato, sweet potato slips and petunia plants.


  7. I want to thank you all for your kind words. I know you understand my disappointment.