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HOW TO AVOID TOMATO BLIGHT

In the first of his new series dealing with some of the most common questions around popular crops, Heritage Seed Library Seed Guardian and horticultural expert Rob Smith turns his attention to tackling tomato blight

NEW SERIES

Tomatoes have to be one of the most rewarding crops to grow in the summer – from glorious little red cherry types to some real whoppers in all colours of the rainbow, there is bound to be a tomato to suit your taste. Gone are the days when tomatoes had to be grown as a trained cordon (single stem) in a hot greenhouse; today you can grow hanging basket varieties, patio, bush, grafted and even wild tomatoes indoors and out. That said, there is still one problem above all that affects home-grown tomatoes with devastating consequences…blight!

EARLY AND LATE

Technically, blight is not one problem but two, early blight and late blight. Early blight (Alternaria solani) is a pathogen that affects tomato and potato plants earlier on in the season and usually starts on the older leaves lower down on the plants. You’ll see that marks form a dark ‘bullseye’ on the leaves which rapidly spread to affect the entire plant from stem to fruit, with brown sunken lesions forming on the stem and branches and similar markings forming on the fruit.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

Welcome to Kitchen Garden Magazine In this issue: ON THE VEG PATCH This month Joyce Russell takes over our jobs on the plot feature. Joyce is busy tending to leeks, preparing bean trenches, sorting seeds and lifting celeriac IN THE GREENHOUSE KG regular Martin Fish moves into the greenhouse and polytunnel from this issue and is having a winter clean up, preparing the soil for spring crops and pruning grapes THE CULTIVATED PLOT In the first part of his new series, Graham Strong gets his new plot into shape for spring sowings MEET THE BLOGGERS This month we meet Hayley Moisley, a young blogger with a bright future in the world of allotment gardening