Fighting blight in spuds and toms
As the weather hots up and thunderstorms jostle for space in our skies, it’s inevitable that humidity levels will rise. With this comes an increase in certain fungal diseases – one of the most devastating for vegetable growers being late blight.
This quick-acting fungus attacks tomatoes and potatoes, quickly causing foliage of both crops to turn brown. Simultaneously for tomatoes, the fruits also become brown and rotten, and potato tubers rot in the soil. All in all, it’s pretty catastrophic!
Some tomatoes show resistance, and so hopefully varieties such as ‘Ferline’, ‘Legend’ and ‘Fantasio’ are in your annual repertoire. Equally, potatoes such as the Sarpo range show good resistance. However, the fungus is mutating all the time, so ultimately it pays to observe your plants with a frequent and scrupulous eye.
As soon as any signs of damage occur, remove the affected area and, if symptoms spread, consider pulling up and burning the affected tomato plants. Potatoes can be cut back to soil level if the symptoms are caught early. If you’re online, sign up to the AHDB ‘Fight against Blight’ service, which notifies you when the disease is likely to strike in your area.
By cutting back blighted potato foliage as soon as you see it, you can stop blight reaching the tubers Check over your tomatoes regularly in hot, humid weather for the first signs of blight