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Old 08-06-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
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Late Blight on Tomatoes

I had the most beautiful tomatoes this year, all different kinds of heirlooms, but then we got continous rain for about 3 weeks and now they all have late blight : ( I always save the seed (I have one variety that is from my grandmother), but I've never had devastation such as this disease has caused. Does anyone know if the seed is still safe to keep after the plants have contracted this disease?

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Old 08-06-2009, 03:14 PM   #2
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I don't know the answer to your question, just wanted to say I'm sorry this happened to you! What a terrible shame. And it's very cool that you have tomatoes that are heirlooms twice over. I hope you can salvage some seeds.
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carolelaine View Post
...Does anyone know if the seed is still safe to keep after the plants have contracted this disease?
I don't know, but you could call your local County Conservation District Office and talk to your County Agricultural Agent. (It's actually a state office but named for your county - eg. Boone County Conservation District...870-xxxx) He could be a great source of information for you - for free, because that's his job.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:08 AM   #4
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That would be the Extension office, not the conservation office, Arky--I know because I am an Extension Specialist in Missouri. (I am a 4-H person, not a horticulturalist, but I also am a Master Gardener, so I have a little credibility as far as garden questions go.)

Yes, you can save the seeds, they will be fine. To prevent blight in the future, don't plant tomatoes in same spot. The disease is spread by soil splashing on the plants, so if you mulch as soon as you plant, you probably won't have much trouble with it.
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:12 AM   #5
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You are right about who does what, but Arkansas is poor. I believe, at least here in my county, they share the same, tiny little building, and the Conservation District got their sign up first... ahead of the Extension Office, that's what confused me. But the Master Gardner program is a great program and very helpful! Here, they take care of many of the county's grounds and beautification projects. You should be very proud to belong to an organization that is so helpful to so many!
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:25 AM   #6
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Extension and Soil Conservation Districts often share office space--we are both on the top floor of the courthouse here in Iron County, MO.

I am proud--and think it is too bad that so many people don't know about the great stuff that Extension does. Not only do we distribute info about agriculture, but we can help folks with all kinds of questions--from child development to small business startups to designing septic systems to just about anything you can think of. If the university teaches it or researches it, we have access to the information!!

About the only questions we don't answer are medical and legal--but we can probably send to the right source for those questions, too.
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Old 08-07-2009, 01:02 PM   #7
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I've got late blight on my tomatoes

A few days ago I noticed some blotches on the vines of two plants a friend gave me and thought, hmmm, I've never seen that before. Well this morning I noticed several plants definitely were looking ill and dying. After doing some research, I removed those and surrounding plants from the garden. This is scary. It is supposed to be the same blight that caused the potato famine in Ireland.
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:31 PM   #8
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I don't think we have to worry about a tomato famine!! The problem in Ireland in the 1800's was that all the potatoes were exactly the same variety, and it was very susceptible to the blight.
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:23 AM   #9
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I wouldn't try it. Seeds aren't that expensive, and I hate to work all summer only to find out I don't have anything for my trouble. Not that you shouldn't plant any of them, just that you should separate the blighted tomato seeds from others. There are several seed banks in the country and at least one catalog that does heirlooms. I guess I'm mostly lazy, but plant the blighted seeds separately so that if it something contagious you can isolate the disease from your other tomatoes. I hate to work all spring and summer only to lose a crop that late in the year. I no longer save seeds from year to year because of problems like this.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:29 AM   #10
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this morning I pulled out my last tomato plant. And I am having trouble finding future tomato seeds that are resistant to the late blight. The Oregon State U. website, says there is ONE known cultivar, but then later they say there are NO known tomato cultivars resistant to late blight. Anybody know of any late blight disease resistant culitvar?????
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:59 AM   #11
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Late Blight

Sorry...
I love my Heirloom Tomatoes..
But it happens to the best gardeners.
Lime can help for Calcium. And you may be able to salvage those that haven't turned black on the bottom, it's worth a try.
Your seeds will be fine. The tomatoes taste good just cut off the black part.
This can happen with the tomatoes getting too little water or too much water. But the lime will definately help.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:21 AM   #12
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I read this thread and immediately called my FIL for advice. He's a professor of horticulture at a local community college, and has been cultivating plants for 50-odd years. Here's what he said:

1) The odds of finding an heirloom cultivar that is blight resistant are so remote as to be laughable.

2) The most blight-resistant strain of tomatoes he's ever seen is called a Rutgers VFA - developed in the 40's.

3) Whether your seeds are carrying it is a function of what type of blight it is - viral, bacterial, etc. He says he wouldn't bother trying to save your seed.

4) He says the best way to prevent blight going forward is rotation, rotation, rotation. If you grow other veggies, move them around. If all you grow are tomatoes, move the whole garden every year. Planting the same crop in the same place every year just increases the likelihood of problems.

Hope this helps! :)
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:25 AM   #13
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Thanks TheMetalChef for your info...appreciate it!

There are two of us posting with different late blight issues...the original poster has heirloom tomatoes and wants to know if she can safely save her seed.

I am not interested in heirloom tomatoes...for the most part I raise hybrid vegetables and can not save seed. I do rotate the vegetables every year in the garden..always have. Late blight is a spore producing pathagen. The plants I ripped from my garden were HUGH and looked healthy, except for the beginnings of the blight. I am trying to find the best tomato to grow in the future, still haven't found one, or any.

Here is an intersting web site...it says you can safely keep seed from late blight contaminated tomatoes.

Disease photos - Vegetable Pathology - Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:22 PM   #14
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We had early blight here -- the same thing that caused the Irish potato famine. And we had continuous rain and cold until July.

My tomatoes (15 plants) were doomed from the start.

I have 7 or 8 still alive and only one or two are producing even semi-normally. And even then, they taste watery and washed out.
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethzaring View Post
I am trying to find the best tomato to grow in the future, still haven't found one, or any.
Then, for you, it'd be worthwhile to hunt down the Rutger's VFA.
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