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Blight resistant Tomato trial.

Trial commencing 2008 season.

Blighted Tomatos.

For two years running now, I have lost my tomato plants to blight and it appears that I am not alone. Tomato plants are in good health and growing well, flowering, fruit starting to ripen, then within a space of a couple of weeks, they're all rotten from blight. The trouble with a disease like blight is that the worse it gets, the worse it's likely to be in following years as more and more diseased plant material is scattered about the countryside.

Sole survivor.

Having seen what happened the previous year, when the blight struck in 2007 I Immediately proceeded to cut off any infected foliage from the plants on a daily basis but this tactic only delayed their demise by a week or so. All plants quickly rotted and died except one plant that seemed to get its second wind after losing a few half-leaves and continued to ripen and develop the fruit up to the last week of October when all fruit had ripened at full size.

This one tomato plant was given to me in one of many swaps, seed from Bulgaria. The donor does not know of a variety name, just that it produces red plum-shaped fruit. As this plant appeared to have resistance to blight, the seeds were saved for this experiment. Whether the resulting seedlings will be true to type or possess blight resistance I cannot say, but with help from my friends I'm hoping to monitor 200 plants spread accross Great Britain and Europe.

Plant type.

At this stage I'm assuming the parent was not a hybrid and the flowers were not crossed with other varieties. Survivability is the primary goal here. Plants should be of vine type and grow up a string or tied to a stake with all sideshoots removed as they appear. Individual growers may modify the method as they see fit.

Trial information.

Trial will start during the 2008 growing year. Times of seed sowing and subsequent planting will vary according to location and will be left to the individual to use local wisdom.

Num of Growers.Plants under glass.Plants in open.Patio pots
000

Onset of Blight.

Blight is a fungal disease affecting potatoes, tomatoes and to a lesser extent peppers and capsicums and spreads like wildfire throughout the country typically starting in the north spreading southwards. Once the tomatoes are infected they rot from within, rapidly developing black patches resulting in the plant collapsing in a rotten mess. This is what we are fighting against.

Summary of  blighted sites
 Under glassOpen groundPatio
Quantity000
per cent000