Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tomato troubles! Magnesium, blight, or both?

It's yet another rainy day around the homestead, and we're learning more rain isn't always better for your garden even before you get to flooding and the like. Now, it's not all bad. Our raspberry bushes Above are doing great and putting on a huge number of buds which means a lot of raspberries. The garlic is doing great, and so are the kale and lettuces.

Unfortunately those aren't the only things around the property that we care about. Obviously the rabbits aren't thrilled, and oddly enough, nor are the tomato plants. So Left you can see the Lady of the House holding the leaves of one of the tomato plants up. See the white on it? Below are more photos of different types of white showing up on tomato plants. That's one of two things. First, it could be a magnesium shortage in the soil which isn't too hard to correct. Second, and only likely at this time of year due to the moisture is tomato blight.
So, here's a good link on tomato blight from UMass Amherst. We are going to be trying to treat the blight side of things with a few methods.
1: Make sure we only water the soil, and only in the morning.
2: Get our stakes up and keep the leaves off the ground.
3: (Needs more research) Prune off leaves that are affected.
4: As we were already planning, do a 4 year rotation to make sure it's not in the soil.
5: Control use of composted remains of the plants
6: Spray with Serenade which is an organic anti fungal spray that seems to have limited threat, and good results.
Now, we're generally trying to avoid sprays as much as possible, but sometimes you just have to do what you need to do to save your plants. We have picked Serenade due to the fact that it is certified organic, which while it isn't everything is certainly a start. There's also that it's results seem to be good, and we haven't found negative reports so far.  So we will see how it works in the long run, and keep folks updated as we use it. Obviously we hope to not have to use it in the future.

I mentioned magnesium deficiency earlier, and it's something that was a whole new experience for us. Mostly when reading about gardening you read about the big three minerals, NPK. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Magnesium isn't one of those, but it's still very important. Right you can see one of the leaves that made us consider magnesium deficiency once the Lady of the House did some research. Here's a link about mineral deficiencies of all kinds.  The yellowing of the leaves is the thing that has made us consider it. Fortunately it's easy enough to amend for, we're just going to mix up a solution of Epsom salts, and pour those on the base of the plants to get them the minerals they need. Below was another view that shows the yellowing. I think most likely is that we have both, so we're going to just treat for both. We're not really up for experimenting right now, we're just going to treat and hope all comes out well. Experimenting comes when we know what we're doing !

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