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My Early Blight Struggle.... It Begins Again

And it begins....

The Struggle.

I don't know if I posted about my plight last year with this awful early blight on my tomatoes or not, but it's beginning already this year.  *Sigh*
I lost over 6 plants and I'd venture to guess almost 2/3 of my total harvest because I just couldn't keep up with it.  Honestly I didn't try very hard either... I wasn't sure if it was truly blight or not so I kept hoping that it would just "come out of it" on it's own.  All my hoping did NOTHING.  LOL

So this year, I have already found it attacking my poor tomato plants.  Mind you, I have my tomatoes in bottom watering planters this year, because I was hoping that not having water laying on the leaves would keep the blight at bay.  Nope.

So I started researching what exactly early blight is, and how to treat it so that I don't lose my harvest this year.

Tomato blight, in its different forms, is a disease that attacks a plant’s foliage, stems, and even fruit.
Early blight (one form of tomato blight) is caused by a fungus,Alternaria solani, which over-winters in the soil and infected plants. Affected plants underproduce. Leaves may drop, leaving fruit open to sunscald.
Early blight’s Latin name is sometimes confused with a form of tomato rot, alternaria, a different tomato problem altogether. To muddle matters further, early blight is occasionally mistaken for Septoria leaf spot because the two diseases infect tomatoes at the same time.

Dark, concentric spots (brown to black), ¼ - ½” in diameter, form on lower leaves and stems. Early blight is marked by tell-tale rings.
Fruit can also be affected; spots often begin near stem of fruit
Lower leaves turn yellow and drop

Rotate crops. Early blight remains active for a year. Spores can be dormant in the soil for several years.
Plant disease-resistant hybrids to strengthen your plant’s chances of being blight-free.
Plant tomatoes in a raised bed to improve drainage and prevent diseases from spreading.
Give tomato plants extra space (more than 24 inches) to let air to move among leaves and keep them dry.
Water the soil – not the plants – to prevent splashing. Avoid overhead watering.
Mulch with black plastic or landscape fabric to prevent fungus from spreading up onto leaves.
Stake tomato plants for better circulation.
Remove and destroy affected plants at the end of the season.

Ok..  now I'm informed.  So how am I personally choosing to deal with this??

I chose to use planters in order to change the watering method and avoid water laying on the leaves.  They are staked/caged properly within these planters so that they can grow properly.

What I'm concluding here is that either my dirt or my water (damn city processed & treated stuff that I have to deal with) is highly susceptible to fungus.  I kinda already knew that since I get random mushrooms and toadstools growing in the dumbest spots in my yard.  

Since I don't use chemicals in ANY form in my garden- not even Miracle Grow, I chose to treat the early blight like I do the dusty mildew that attacks my squash and zucchini plants.  Vinegar and water.  Yep.  Vinegar is an antifungal, so I just mix 4 tbsp. with a gallon of water (boiled, distilled or store bought- I REALLY think the water has something to do with this issue) and spray on the plants, making sure to get both the tops and the underside of the leaves thoroughly.  This is AFTER trimming off all of the spotted, affected leaves on the plant.  

Only one of my planters was infected horribly, so it's all trimmed back and treated, and most of the other planters looked fine so far, but I treated with the vinegar mixture as a prevention method.  (You can't be too careful here.)

Do you have early blight already or any fungal issues effecting your garden??

I will keep you updated as to how this protocol works for me.  In the meantime, make sure you comment and let me know what you do to deal with blight or other garden issues.

I Don't Want to Fit In... and Some Awesome Articles!!

There is so much work happening in my home/yard right now.  I officially tilled up about 40% of my yard to grow everything under the sun.  Well, not everything, but the things that I know I will eat & use all summer and can preserve for winter usage also.  I have all the normal veggies planted.

My asparagus harvest was small, but it was expected.  It started coming in and then we got a fluke frost one night that just seemed to kill it off and make it start over.  Ugh.  But, what are ya gonna do?

I had a 4 day weekend from work, and honestly, most long weekends I remember that I work harder at home than I ever do at work. LOL  It's just such mindless monotony in the shop.  I love working at home tho.  It's constant change and I see more reward than just a paycheck.  Someday I'll be able to quit my job and just homestead full time, but I don't see my DH on board with that any time soon..

I love what I do, but I wish I had more support from my city dweller hubby.  I don't want to fit in with this ideal of what we should do with our lives.  I saw a quote, and forgive me for not knowing it verbatim, but it says essentially that we buy into the idea of a mortgage and possessions that we just have to have, and then have to work to pay for the things that we don't have time to enjoy because we are at work paying for them.

I don't want to fit in with that societal "norm".  I just want to do what I want to do. 

Ok... enough with my rant.  I found some awesome posts this week that I just have to share with you all!!

14 Prepper Items To Look For At Garage Sales

This is a great article to get you ready for garage sale season.  I'm actually attempting to plan my own garage sale too.  I've realized just how much "junk" I have accumulated. LOL

bottle bird houses home design DIY Plastic Bottle Bird Residence

These are just the most adorable things!!  I was just thinking of getting some birdhouses to feed the birds in hopes that maybe they will leave me some of my harvest of strawberries & blackberries this year. (Distraction methods!!)  You can see the tutorial here.

Rhubarb Dandelion pie recipe- I bet you never knew dandelions could be so tasty! |  Montana Homesteader


Did anyone else know THIS is a thing!???
OMG.  I cannot wait to try this one out!  I've really started the whole "foraging" movement, not that there is a lot to forage in a subdivision, but hey, gimme credit for trying, ok?

The Montana Homesteader has me SERIOUSLY excited to try this one!!

Find anything good this week??

Let me know!!