Decontaminating container tomato blight

Asked September 5, 2016, 9:16 AM EDT

I've been growing heirloom tomatoes in 3/12 x 4' wood raised containers and in-ground raised beds for several years. Each year some kind of blight attacks them. This year it started in June, but they produced more and better tasting tomatoes than ever before. Is there a way to decontaminate the planting boxes? Discarding all the soil and scrubbing with bleach is impractical, I think. I've thought of planting favas and garlic to over-winter. Would really appreciate any advice!

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Dealing with fungal diseases like early blight can be difficult . Spores can overwinter in the soil, plant debris, seed and transplants, and also blow in from other gardens. We recommend removing all plant residue from the containers. Planting fava beans, a cover crop, or garlic will do nothing for the disease and Garlic is not a good crop for containers.
Add compost this fall and in the spring. You can cover the bare soil with shredded leaves. If need be you can apply an organic fungicide early in the season when symptoms appear to lessen the spread of the disease. See our website for more information on early blight