Home Remedies for Tomato Blight

If you’re looking forward to biting into a juicy red tomato this gardening season, you better keep your eye out for tomato blight, which can completely eliminate any hopes of a decent tomato crop. If you allow this common foliar disease to run rampant, your plants may not generate flowers. Gardeners interested in foregoing store-bought chemical means of controlling plant disease may want to consider a couple of home remedies for tomato blight.

ghr-tomato-blight

What is Blight?

Gardeners and farmers can begrudgingly thank the fungus Alternaria solani for bringing early blight to tomatoes. The disease wipes out crops because it infects the fruit and reduces the overall appearance and results of a plant. If the fruit should happen to survive the initial effects of tomato blight, they become susceptible to other conditions, such as sunscald – the light patches of color found on some fruit.

Alternaria spores germinate within two hours. However, climates with 80- to 85-degree weather may see germination take place in just 30 minutes. Within three to 12 hours, the fungus starts to penetrate the plant. Lesions generally start to appear between two to three days, but in cases of wet conditions or 60-degree days, the infection may lie dormant [1]. If a plant is already stressed or poorly maintained, tomato blight infections cause the most damage. Soil that is deficient of vital nutrients also creates a breeding ground for the disease to linger.

Symptoms

In its earliest stage, tomato blight produces small black or brown circles that appear on the lower leaves of your plants. The spotting often features dark outer rings with a lighter center. As the infection surges, the number of spots accumulate and the leaves start to yellow. The fungus then travels up the plant, killing any leaves that it encounters. Other signs that your tomatoes are infected with blight include:

  • Destroyed floral production
  • Browning of plant tissues
  • Dead leaves
  • Fruit rot
  • Stem cankers

Tomato Blight Home Remedies

Fight tomato blight by embracing home remedies that help put an end to this pesky fungus. Consider the following suggestions when you wish to save your garden or crops:

a) Control Insects:

In order to lessen plant damage, control the amount of insect feeding that takes place, which can reduce the spread of fungus spores.

b) Use Your Hands:

Handpick leaves that look diseased with tomato blight, as this may slow the rate in which the fungus spreads. When following this home remedy, do not work in a wet garden.

c) Replant with Clean Seeds:

To ensure plants free from disease, replant your tomatoes using only clean seeds unaffected by previous blight.

d) Soft Soap [2]:

According to Norman W. Henley you can use soft soap to create a handful of home remedies. Three recipes mentioned in his book include:

40 parts soft soap
50 parts amyl alcohol
20 parts methylated spirits
1,000 parts water

30 parts soft soft
2 parts sulphureted potash
32 parts amyl alcohol
1,000 parts water

15 parts soft soap
29 parts sulphureted potash
1,000 parts water

e) Bordeaux Mixture:

In France, the Bordeaux Mixture[3] was created to treat fungal disease in vines. Consisting of copper sulfate and hydrated lime, this fungicide has been used for more than a century to control the infections that attack vineyards, nurseries, farms, and gardens.

Resources

[1] http://extension.umaine.edu/ipm/ipddl/publications/5087e/
[2] Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes by Norman W. Henley Publisher; 1916

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bordeaux_mixture

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  • Clare Rotolo

    It's important to look out for the early signs of blight because once it gets going, it's hard to stop. I agree that handpicking diseased leaves is a decent remedy. But, if it's really bad – separate the plants that are too far gone from healthy ones.

  • craig

    to keep tomato worms away just plant some dill around and youll never see them again.

  • joey nutzak

    urine spray works the best.
    drinka six pack of beer 1st, than urinate into
    a spray bottle. add some cooking oil too if you like.

  • CHUCK KEMERY

    THIS IS A HOME REMEMEDIE THAT WORKS FAIRLY WELL. START TO SPRAY AS SOON AS PLANTED, AND EVERY WEEK OR TEN DAYS, AND AFTER EACH RAIN FALL.
    SIX TEASPOONS BAKING SODA, SIX TEASPOONS PEROXIDE, AND THREE TEASPOONS MURPHYS OIL SOAP.TO A GALLOM OF LUKE WARM WATER, ALSO USE ABOUT 4 INCHES OF MULCH UNDER PLANTS. REMOVE THE BOTTOM LEAVES ABOUT A FOOT UP FROM THE GROUND. AS THEY GROW. PLANT AS FAR APART AS YOU CAN. 4 TO FIVE FEET IS GOOD . SPRAY ABOUT AN HOUR BEFORE THE SUN COMES UP SO THE PLANTS WILL DRY QUICKLY. DO NOT SPRAY IN BRIGHT SUN. DO NOT TOUCH PLANTS WHEN WET. BLIGHT IS HARD TO CONTROL, IN WET WEATHER , HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE

  • Sven Olafson

    I’d like to try all the home remedies for the aweful blight that hit in the Northeast. I heard that someone is working on a soil additive (bacterial) that actually feeds on the blight spores. I have a raised bed system with underground watering soaker hose. I really have no desire to have to spray/treat plants every day. I’d rather keep the “set it and forget it” approach that has worked so well. Please somebody out there find what we all need. Thanks. Sven

    Tip: Earthen raised beds we make by rototilling a pathway with two shovels following behind: one shovels left, the other right. Repeat until you have rows of 20′ beds about 5 feet wide. Make a trough in the middle of the bed for watering with manure tea. I use wooden stakes and tie the plants up high. Keep the pathways clear by “mowing” with the tiller. Mulch around the plants, then mulch the entire raised bed. Sven

  • D. Richards

    We have all our tomatoes (50 plants) covered with this years blite. By the time the plantrs showed they had it they were already bloomed and producing small green tomatoes. Now they all have green tomatoes but few are turning red . What can I do to save my plants? Can I CAN the red ones? Some say it will cause GI Upset. Can you please advise. I heard Epaon salt kills blite but what do you say?? Can we save our plants. This is our food for the year. D. Richards

  • Sherri

    I’ve heard that mixing a gallon of water with a cup of powdered milk and sprinkled over the plant will take care of the blight. My tomatoes have been infected for the past two years, so maybe I will try this next year. I think you might have to do this periodically from the time you plant…..has anyone else heard of this remedy? Talked to a garden supply person and they said it is very hard to get rid of the blight as is survives in the soil for a long time and you might have to plant tomatoes in another spot…..

  • peggy

    Add about a half cup of molasses to the powered milk mixture. It worked for us last summer when we had 59 plants. We didn’t loose any plants to blight, but lost fruit to the heat.

  • Judy

    This is for Peggy with the molasses and powered milk mixture for the blight. What portions do you use. My tomatoes are already infected but I am going to try this next plants.

  • peggy

    I use about a half cup of molasses and a cup of powdered milk to a gallon of water. I put it in a spray bottle and soak the whole plant in the early morning. Something else someone suggested to me and we are trying. Water the plant with Dr. Pepper! I dumped a two litter bottle on five plants a few days ago. Can’t hurt. In combination with the molasses-milk I might get some interesting flavored tomatoes!

  • Gerry

    Any updates on the blight situation? Does the milk mixture work? Should I add the molasses? My tomatoes were looking great for a long time and they are starting to look very sorry after my hornworm disaster in addition to the blight.

  • paul

    I also heard coffee ground in the soil helps. don’t know if it work but I will be trying.

  • Tomato Obsessed

    I put coffee grounds in and around the soil of my bed of tomatoes. The coffee is a great way to keep insects and animals, especially cats from digging in the soil. It also has been effective in getting rid of gnats in the soil. I’ve noticed there is an unseen insect chewing on my pepper plant leaves so I spread the coffee grounds around each plant. Hoping that it deters whatever it is that is chewing on my pepper plants. I also add rinsed, crushed egg shells and bury them in around the base of my tomato plants for added calcium.

    I am going to try the baking soda, peroxide & Murphy’s oil recipe on the 3 newest tomatoes I planted. Despite pruning & removing leaves from touching the soil, I’ve noticed brownish/orange spots developing on the lower stems of leaves. I’ve been pinching them off and throwing them away. I have 1 tomato plant about 2 ft tall now and have experienced the 1st set of flowers have fallen off but now the main stem (lower portion) and edges of the lower leaves are turning brown! The upper portion of the plant, stems and leaves looks great & has new flowers ready to open I’m at a quagmire if I should pull the entire plant out now or keep it and try this baking soda recipe.

  • Nancy

    A friend of mine that does organic gardening and provides veggies for some restaurants told me to mix a gallon of water with a tbsp. of bleach and a tbsp. of Dawn dish soap. Spray the plants and spray them after it rains and they have dried. Tried it this morning so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.