I need your advice and help. For the last few years my tomato plants contracted a terrible disease or fungus which turned the leaves yellow and spotty and the stems covered with black spots. My neighbors plants did the same. I read somewhere that putting powdered milk around the plant would stop any disease from attaching the plants. Please help. I want to grow a lot of tomatoes some for canning. Thank you so much, JoAnn Dower
Hi, Well your tomatoes could be falling victim to any number of fungal diseases or blight. To combat this, i'd do the following. First, never plant tomatoes in the same place each year. Second, plant only disease resistant varieties--look for varieties that have a VFNT label. This means they are resistant to several common viruses as well as nematodes. Also, most hybrids are much more disease resistant than old-fashioned heirlooms. Third, give them plenty of space. Tomatoes are much healthier if there's a lot of air circulation around them so don't crowd them or plant other things near their base. Fourth, mulch them. Consistent soil moisture is key to preventing the fruit from cracking or rotting on the bottom. The mulch will keep the soil at a consistent moisture level. Fifth, never water them from above getting their foliage wet at night. Water from below in the morning. And, finally, always clean up your garden in the fall, removing all dead and dying foliage and fruit. Never leave tomato foliage in the garden over winter. All these things should help.