Tomato problems caused by rain and water.

How blight can affect growing tomatoes.

Do your plants’ leaves have brown spots on them? You have tomato problems!

Do you have leathery black spots on your fruit? You are a suffering vegetable gardener. Please read on. First, we will discuss common tomato problems, then we’ll provide a list of practical tips for avoiding fruit loss altogether.

Tomato problems are most commonly caused by early and late blight. Frustrated vegetable gardeners everywhere are faced with challenge of actually growing fruit that gets to ripen right on the vine. Blight is a fungal disease affecting tomatoes and potatoes, they are both members of the nightshade family of plants. Blight occurs especially during cool and wet summers. The major changes in weather patterns across the globe means no more guaranteed hot and dry summers for those who are accustomed to that kind of weather.  Fungal spores spread onto leaves because of rain as well as overhead watering. Do you have purple, discoloured stems, leaves or rotting fruit? You probably have tomato problems caused by blight.

Early blight produces small, brown spots on older leaves on the lower part of the plant. Fruit will have dark, sinking areas on them. On the other hand, late blight produces wettish, black spots that appear on the veins and them stems of leaves. With late blight, fruit will show light-coloured patches on the skin as it ripens.  Both forms of blight cause different symptoms, but you still must remove any affected parts immediately.

If you do get blight, and especially once the fungus gets into the stems, you will see your plants die a quick death. The best practice is to pick off any green fruit you may have already grown, and ripen them on a sunny windowsill.  Pull out the rest of the plant including any fallen leaves and throw it in the garbage.  And definitely keep all infected plants out of your compost pile!

Top Tips to Prevent Tomato Problems

  • Grow plants under cover, either using a plastic covering or in a greenhouse. Remember to allow air circulation during the hot summer months and let pollinating insects in to the area where tomatoes are growing.
  • Water your plants by applying water directly around the base of the plant, that means no overhead watering! Keep the foliage of the plants dry.
  • Grow plants under an overhang, in a large container (at least 7 gallon/ 26 litre size)
  • Use potting soil that has been sterilized if you are growing in pots
  • Try early-ripening varieties in pots, or cherry varieties such as Sweet 100 or Sweet Million
  • Avoid over-fertilization
  • Pick off and throw out infected leaves immediately. Also cut off and throw out infected stems and fruit. Do not add any infected parts to your compost
  • Do not grow tomatoes or potatoes in areas of the garden that have had blight in previous years
  • Copper spray works best when mixed with warm water. It can prevent blight and save you from your tomato problems.

Thanks for reading, if you want to see more articles like this one, check out my website for tips and features on vegetable gardening in raised beds.