Have you seen this tomato disease?
Chayote Report

Tomato Late Blight Reports--and an idea

It is wonderful to hear from those who sent comments. So far, we have two yeses, one maybe, and one no. Yes, the blight appears late in the season, which is why they call it "Late Blight." Whether plants get it is a function of whether spores are present, how many spores float onto the plants, weather (it likes mild, moist weather), how healthy the plants are, and whether they are genetically resistant.

Whether you had it or not, it's a good idea to clean up all the fallen leaves and stems of old tomato, potato, pepper, eggplant, wild solanums, etc, and take them out of the garden for a few months in winter. Don't compost the stuff.

Let's do this: Try to test all of the varieties that are supposed to be resistant or "tolerant" that I mentioned in my last post, and see if they compare favorably to the ones that have no resistance. 'Legend' is available from a lot of companies, 'Juliet' from several. No source yet for 'Matt's Wild Cherry'.

I found another that is mentioned as resistant: 'Tommy Toe', a red cherry tomato sold by Seed Savers Exchange and Abundant Life Seeds. I would like to start some of these varieties and have them for sale at the City College Horticulture Department Plant Sale in May. II will try to find a student to do that, and will know in a week or two whether I can do it.

Truth is, that Legend is said by one source to be 5.3 in resistance on a scale of 1-10, and that isn't very good. If we found that 'Tommy Toe' or 'Matt's Red Cherry' had more resistance, we could try cross pollinating one of them with a non-resistant variety and growing the offspring next year in gardens that have the blight. If any of the offspring survived and had larger fruit, we'd be on our way to success!

Well, optimism is better than despair, which is what I have been feeling for a while.

More comments out there? Have you seen this disease in the San Francisco Bay Area?  (see photos in the pdf)                     www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/PD-45.pdf


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Paul Coleman

You can also get Matt's Wild Cherry from High Mowing Seeds. I can attest that my Matt's plants were untouched even when surrounded by badly infected plants. They're all that's left of tomatoes (from a total of 50 plants) in my garden.

FYI, the Wild part of the name is true. Give them a lot of room in every direction. Sometimes I think they're part winter squash.

Warren A. Jacobs

In case you haven't heard, we are apparently experiencing the start of an unprecedented epidemic of late blight here on the east coast. My garden of approximately 80 mostly heirloom tomatoes seems to be in the process of falling victim - possibly due in part to my having brought in an infected plant from one of the growers suspected as a source of the innoculum. I hav posted my story at www.jacobstreesurgery.com ,and intend to post updates soon following lab test results. Legend is one of the varieties I'm growing. Your comments concerning genetic resistance have inspired me to track which if any varieties escape death. The first plants to become symptomatic were Rutgers Ramapos- a recently reintroduced hybrid- and I have already rogued half of them.

Stephen Hemenway

Hi Pam,

Seeds of Change has Matt's Wild here:

I'm in a community garden in Temescal in north Oakland. I don't know if I had late blight or not, but many of the people in the garden had tomato plants that shriveled up and died completely. Mine did get brown spots on the stems here and there like you said, although none of the fruit got that. One plant, "Mexico Midget", succumbed completely. The other three, "Tommy Toe", "Be My Baby" gene pool cherry tomato and "Sweet Orange", lost maybe a stem here or there, but kept producing. Both "Be My Baby" and "Tommy Toe" were prolific cherry tomatoes. I was trying to dry farm, which might explain why the disease didn't affect my plants as much as the neighbors. In fact Mexico Midget didn't succumb until after someone did me the "favor" of watering my tomatoes without asking. Within a week whatever the disease was had spread to every stem in the plant but one.

I have "Tommy Toe" seeds left over from the seed packet if you want them.


I will be glad to post the plant sale. If I get some tomato plants growing, I will probably be writing about it a lot. In any case, I can tell you now that the spring sale is usually the Thursday before Mother's Day. Stay tuned about the tomatoes.


Will you post about the plant sale when it's coming up? I didn't even know there was one at City College.

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