tomato blight

Asked April 16, 2016, 4:00 PM EDT

Our community garden had tomato blight last year. Now the rule is no tomato plants this year. What is the truth about tomato blight? Does it live in the soil? Can we safely grow tomatoes? What is the best cure?

Lane County Oregon

3 Responses

I need a little bit more information to help answer your questions. There are two diseases of tomatoes that are commonly referred to as blights. One is early blight and the other is late blight. Do you remember which specifically was diagnosed? I ask because these diseases are caused by different microorganisms and are managed differently.

Thanks for using Ask An Expert!

I didn't garden at the garden last year, but have asked around and was told that the problem started in mid season and spread like wild fire. I would assume it would be the late variety, but am unsure. Thanks for your help, Susan Bruton

Assuming that your garden is dealing with Late Blight, then it is possible that the fungus can still be in the soil this spring. It can also overwinter on volunteer potato, tomato or other Solanaceae plants/weeds. That means it can survive the winter on those plants and then spread to your garden plants during the growing season. The PNW Disease Management Guide does list a few tomato cultivars that are resistant to this fungus. No idea on how they taste though!

Hope this helps!