The second week of May here in Richmond really posed a challenge to my recently rebounded tomatoes. It rained so much that it puddled in the yard, and in my pots, despite my thorough consideration of the drainage of each pot. They can only handle so much rain you know? The temperatures got cooler and we had several rainy, overcast cool days in a row.
I paced. I peeked out the window. I considered bringing them inside. But, I let nature take its course.
I checked on everything once the sun finally came out, and they seemed okay, overly damp, but ultimately fine. I didn’t water them for a few days, hoping that the sun would warm everything up and dry out the pots. About three days after the rain subsided, I noticed brown spots on the smallest of my plants (the one that I had painstakingly repotted (twice now)).
Uh oh. That’s not good. I glanced at the tomatoes in adjacent pots. My other cherry tomato? Also had brown spots. Shoot. My larger tomato variety looked the best, but, it had some too.
Out came my phone… I searched for “brown spots on tomato leaves”…luckily multiple sites helped me narrow it down to either blight or Septoria Leaf Spot. Both of these are common fungal diseases that can take hold on tomatoes when presented with the wrong conditions…aka rain and moderate temperatures. Right. Check. Just had those.
I snapped a couple of photos and posted on a homesteading Facebook group explaining the cause, and asking the question: Do I need to start over? Despite my commitment to these little farmers market seedlings, I also REALLY want tomatoes this summer, and these bad boys are taking up three giant pots in my backyard, which is prime real estate, so I need them to produce.
So far, I’ve gotten a couple of responses to the post. The good news: no one has said that I have to toss them. They recommended trimming the really afflicted leaves, and then finding a natural anti-fungal.
Okay. Okay, I can do that. Fix them rather than toss them, I’m in.
A few sites recommended liquid copper as an organic solution to help stop the spread. So, I decided on a combination plan of attack. I trimmed the leaves with the most brown spots, tossing them in the trash. (FYI, this type of fungus can live in the soil for 3 years. Do not compost these leaves. Wash your hands between plants, and wash your scissors/trimmers.)
I also hopped on Amazon and ordered a highly rated liquid copper fungicide. I even paid for next day shipping, even though 2 day would have been free. I’m a freak, I get it. But, it appeared so fast! I looked at the plants this weekend, and it’s only Monday and suddenly they’re covered.
Time is clearly of the essence.
So, tomorrow I will drench my little plants with liquid copper and hope for the best. It’s still early enough that I could technically start over, grab some new soil and plants, but I want to give them the opportunity to rebound. I’m hoping I’ll be able to tell if the fungus continues to spread, and if the plants rebound from having a good deal of their leaves removed.
**Anxiously awaiting my liquid copper delivery**