Vegetable advice (blight, bugs, and fungus)

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Vegetable advice (blight, bugs, and fungus)

Post by Wolfsong013 »

Hello again everyone,
I got some seeds for heirloom tomatoes. Everything is started in the greenhouse and I'm getting ready for the spring.

My question is how to prevent common illnesses and troubles with veggies after planting them outside?

Last year I had huge tomato plants, most reaching 2.5 meters at their peak. The problem is, every one of them had blight, and I felt like my yeild was really low because the plant was fighting to grow vegetation rather than fruiting.

I had a problem with powder mildew on my pumpkins. Every single leaf was eventually white, and I couldn't seem to control it, even with severe pruning.

Is there something I can do to prevent these things so I don't spend all season fighting against it?

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Vegetable advice (blight, bugs, and fungus)

Post by Zasso Nouka »

This is just based on my own experience so YMMV.

I've found many tomato varieties don't do well outside here in Chiba, blight takes them down before you can get a harvest so we now grow most of our tomatoes inside vinyl houses. There are a couple of varieties that will grow outside, San Marzano and Marmande are the two we've had the most success with but if the summer is exceptionally wet then even they can struggle. There's also a sauce tomato I've seen growing outdoors in Ibaraki that seems to do very well but I have no idea what the variety is or what fungicides it may have been sprayed with. The main thing is to keep the rain off the plants so you could buy these mini Tomato Tunnel Set from Komeri or the Cucumber Support Poles and put plastic over them.

If you are willing to use fungicides that may help but I've never used any myself so can't say what does or doesn't work. I have tried baking soda but it gets washed off by the rain, same with neem oil and you have to spray any new growth as soon as it appears so it doesn't get infected so we gave up. Sulphur will protect against powdery mildew but will also get washed off by rain so you need to spray regularly, several times a week in the rainy season.

There's another disease called something like Beta Biyouki that comes in late summer and means we have to grow all our basil before it hits, after it turns the leaves black even inside a vinyl house. Haven't found anything to counter it.

Our strategy for pumpkin varieties badly affected by powdery mildew is to grow susceptible types before the rainy season to guarantee a harvest. Sometimes they will carry on right through it but if they don't you already have plenty of fruit. Otherwise growing Cucurbita moschata varieties like butternut, etc that can handle the hot and humid conditions works well. You could also try growing up over a frame (see the cucumber support poles above) so the leaves are off the ground and get more airflow, that works on some types but not if the pumpkins are large unless you support them. However a strong typhoon can mangle a heavily laden framework as we found out last year.

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Re: Vegetable advice (blight, bugs, and fungus)

Post by Eric in Japan »

I pretty much gave up growing heirloom vegetables because they are so susceptible to diseases. I love the idea of heirloom vegetables, but the reality is that they were developed in (probably) a very different climate and latitude.
(Also, my Eikaiwa student grows most of the vegetable starts for all the home-centers within a 30 km radius of our fair city. And she gives me the pick of the leftovers. )

If I have a plant that did exceptionally well against blight, bugs, or fungus, I do take seeds (even from hybrids) and replant them the next year. I either get the strong grandparent, the delicious grandparent, or about a third of the time pretty much the same as the parent.
"... so, the cucumbers said to the cabbage, `Lettuce Go.`"