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What is wrong with my tomatoes?

As total newbies we decided to grow some of our own this year and so far it's gone really well, but now that the tomatoes are slowing down one of the plants seemed to develop some kind of disease. some of the branches seemed to die back and only a handful of tomatoes went red. The tomatoes that were left just started to shrivel and go brown, so I decided to cut my losses and harvest the green tomatoes I still had and dispose of the plant assuming that they would ripen in the kitchen (or I could make some chutney). However I went in this morning and discovered that this is still happening! what is wrong with my tomatoes and do I need to get rid of them all? my other tomato plants are not suffering like this. Please help! (Also no idea where the mouldy fuzz has come from?!?)

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  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336

    Hi Kirsty, unfortunately this is know as 'late blight' and lots of folk have been affected.  When you dig up the plants, either burn them or put them in your black bin - don't put them on the compost heap.  It's an air-borne fungal disease and the same one which affects potatoes.  When you grow tomatoes next year, immediately remove any leaves which show any sign of disease and by doing this you can sometimes slow the progress.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks for clearing this up for me Bob, glad to know it's not necessarily something I've done wrong! :) 

  • Kirsty, 

    Blight gets us all eventually, it's such a pain.  There are things you can do to improve your chances such as growing early cropping or blight resistant varieties (e.g. mountain magic) but you can also avoid over crowding by pinching out side shoots, observing good planting distances between plants and removing some of the lower leaves as the plant grows and sets fruit.

    If you can, growing tomatoes in a greenhouse or a polytunnel is the very best way to avoid it (water the ground not the plant, blight and mould spread in wet conditions)

  • Thanks for all this great advice, we'll definitely keep all this in mind for next year :)

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