tomato wilt, year after year after year....


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I can't begin to express how frustrated I am with tomatoes.... this is the 4th year I've run into issues, every year they either get blight or wilt and die, I've rotated them to three different beds who have never seen a nightshade and they still died. Last year my sunflowers even got the wilt and died right when they got their first blooms.

This year they've really stepped it up though, my indoor starts now have what I believe is verticillium wilt. Yes.... my INDOOR starts.... all I can figure is that the tray they're in had an overwintered bell pepper plant in it and some of the fungus transferred from the bottom of that container to my tomato plants, I did not wash out the tray. Time to start some new seeds I guess and wash out the tray properly this time. With that said.... how do people deal with these fungus's? It's clearly in all my beds somehow, I know commercial growers have to deal with this stuff and they do something to cure their fields. Any suggestions? I'm about to just container grow them and keep them as far away from my beds as possible...
 

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It looks like VW. Really hope its not as there isn't a lot one can do except try to kill the fungus in the beds and the only way I know of to do that is by solarization
 
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Meadowlark

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Verticillium wilt and its ugly partner Fusarium wilt are fungal diseases that destroy home gardens. Once infected, its almost impossible to treat plants successfully. Sanitation is extremely important…removing affected plants and carefully disposing them helps. Also, planting resistant species is a good thing to do to avoid the worst affects. The best thing is prevention. This is where cover crops can help you.

I love cover crops and use them in my garden faithfully 365 days of the year. I never have verticillium wilt…and it is very prevalent in this area. Chop your cover crops into small pieces with a mower. This makes a chemical and enzyme in the cell wall that behaves like a fumigant that is toxic to soil borne pathogens as well as weed seeds.

Penn State, among others, has verified this in their studies…see https://extension.psu.edu/reducing-soil-borne-diseases-with-cover-crops

You want to grow large cover crops. The more cover crop biomass you grow, the more bio-active compound you will have to suppress soil-borne disease. You also need them to be continuous…never allow your garden soils to be exposed to bare ground, keep them covered with an appropriate crop. Plant, grow, chop, repeat, repeat. Etc.

It isn’t an instant fix and requires time but while doing it you also improve soil organic matter and related soil water holding capacity, infiltration and microbial activity which positively impact yields and reduce weeds and all the labor associated with that.

Cover crops are the best kept secrets in home gardening.
 
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Verticillium wilt and its ugly partner Fusarium wilt are fungal diseases that destroy home gardens. Once infected, its almost impossible to treat plants successfully. Sanitation is extremely important…removing affected plants and carefully disposing them helps. Also, planting resistant species is a good thing to do to avoid the worst affects. The best thing is prevention. This is where cover crops can help you.

I love cover crops and use them in my garden faithfully 365 days of the year. I never have verticillium wilt…and it is very prevalent in this area. Chop your cover crops into small pieces with a mower. This makes a chemical and enzyme in the cell wall that behaves like a fumigant that is toxic to soil borne pathogens as well as weed seeds.

Penn State, among others, has verified this in their studies…see https://extension.psu.edu/reducing-soil-borne-diseases-with-cover-crops

You want to grow large cover crops. The more cover crop biomass you grow, the more bio-active compound you will have to suppress soil-borne disease. You also need them to be continuous…never allow your garden soils to be exposed to bare ground, keep them covered with an appropriate crop. Plant, grow, chop, repeat, repeat. Etc.

It isn’t an instant fix and requires time but while doing it you also improve soil organic matter and related soil water holding capacity, infiltration and microbial activity which positively impact yields and reduce weeds and all the labor associated with that.

Cover crops are the best kept secrets in home gardening.
so what I typically do is mulch the beds, plant my vegetables, harvest, then just leave the beds open until next season. You're saying I should plant something after I harvest the vegetables that will grow and cover the beds all winter? What exactly?

It hit my sunflower plants last year and I know they're also susceptible to VW, so I'm fairly certain that's what it is. Will cover crops help if it's already in the soil?
 

Meadowlark

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so what I typically do is mulch the beds, plant my vegetables, harvest, then just leave the beds open until next season. You're saying I should plant something after I harvest the vegetables that will grow and cover the beds all winter? What exactly?
All winter, all summer, all the time you are not producing veggies for consumption....365 days a year. Continuous. Rotate.

Varieties...read the article I provided. They suggest the following:

"Some cover crop varieties have been selected for increased levels of bio-active compounds. Mustard cvs. Caliente 199 and 119, rapeseed cv. Dwarf Essex, sudangrass cv. Trudan 8, sorghum sudangrass cvs. 79, SS-222 and SS-333 are among those that have done well in research trials. In addition, the mustard is selected for reduced seed viability to reduce potential problems with becoming weedy."

I use legumes in spring and summer...beans, all kinds of cow peas. I leave some seeds on the plants then shred and let 'em start all over reseeding from the seeds left on the plants. I have done up to four generations within a growing season off of one planting. Very easy, unbelievable soil building. fantastic weed prevention, all for very little effort.

In winters I've used the mustard,rapeseed they suggest but prefer Elbon rye, small grains, and crimson clover. I also like turnips, radishes in the mix with mustards and collards.

"The chemicals and the enzymes are not toxic by themselves, but when they come in contact with each other, the chemical is broken down by the enzyme into compounds that are toxic to soil-borne pathogens and even weeds seeds. Cover crops can also improve soil organic matter and related soil water holding capacity, infiltration and microbial activity which positively impact yields over time. "

Again, I suggest you spend a little time and read the source I provided...and there are many others. I've been doing this in my garden for 40 years and didn't have the benefit of scientific research to point the way when I started. It is nice to finally see science is catching up to what some of us have known for a long, long time...cover crops work!!!
 
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I want to respect the considered and very experienced opinions given thus far in this thread. While my friends from the great state of Texas suffer from heat and high humidity, once their air passes over the swamps of the Mississippi River and aquires real humidity, we have a different biological game here in Alabama because of that prevailing western wind. Then we get humidity from the Gulf of Mexico as the north warms and the heat rushes to settle in those cold Canadian climes. To this very different environment I can share some experience. Today I tilled my garden. I am a fan of LOW till, which is not NO till neither is it DEEP till. Why? Chemistry and a humidity that allows me a dispersal tool called leaching.

IMG_20190411_103039.jpg


This was the thyme oil\humic load I was putting out into the garden. Nematodes are the target. But the Thyme oil has proven itself to me in past gardens at this point. In fact, its weakness if I might say, is that the absence of other fungi led to the arrival of uncurable fungi. Well we will see about that, as this year I wait with providone iodine for the reappearance of certain fungal bastards.

I have seen this retard insect derived wilt on cucumbers, tomato, squash. Its a every week spray in deep season. Fail the timeline for spraying and your penalty will be the yellow leaves of infection given by cucumber beetles or on other plants, damage by their parasites. There are more permanent products. This one is very organic so I feel better about it. I hear garlic oil is the next best, but not for VW or some other nasties as good as this Thyme oil product.
 
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Lots of interesting info here. I'm going to have to do some serious reading. I can grow crops in my raised bed year round, so I'm not sure cover crop would work. At least not to cover the entire garden. Although I could cover the areas where tomato's and peppers grow in summer.

Now you've got me overthinking things!
 

Meadowlark

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Lots of interesting info here. I'm going to have to do some serious reading. I can grow crops in my raised bed year round, so I'm not sure cover crop would work. At least not to cover the entire garden. Although I could cover the areas where tomato's and peppers grow in summer.

Now you've got me overthinking things!
I use the cover crops often to give me rotation. For example, a row of beans used in rotation one growing season where tomatoes had previously grown...a row of black eyes where potatoes were just harvested...etc. etc. The possibilities are endless and all result in soil building, weed prevention, disease prevention, etc. as well as achieving the benefits of rotation...especially important in the nightshade family.
 
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Its summer only. I had nothing to do during my winter garden. Made me wanna give up summer hassles for real.
I here iceberg lettuce, carrots and onions in the winter. You guys have made me nervous though, since I'll have a fair amount of tomato's and peppers going this summer.
 
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Yeah I heard somebody here say 70 was hot for lettuce. Still, it got cold enough here to nip things down some. Next winter I will use some type of cover. My carrots came out good. Small, but normal. Becky had tried some in a fertile garden and they looked like starfish.
 
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My carrots have been SLOW! lettuce was fine, but I started late so the heads were small.

But we digress. I don't want to end up in the predicament that Doelman has. It's an 80sqft raised bed, so changing out soil isn't really an option. I do year round crop, but winter is half full. Should I plant something to deter disease, or treat with something?
 
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My carrots have been SLOW! lettuce was fine, but I started late so the heads were small.

But we digress. I don't want to end up in the predicament that Doelman has. It's an 80sqft raised bed, so changing out soil isn't really an option. I do year round crop, but winter is half full. Should I plant something to deter disease, or treat with something?
You should wait until you have a target. No sense wasting ammo.
 

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