There is some interesting information about tomato blight and compost which you can read about in the next paragraph. All my tomatoes were dying last summer from tomato blight which is better known as early blight. I did actually harvest some great tomatoes but the plants would have still produced until the first frost if not attacked by tomato blight–a great disappointment.
I read in a book called Compost This Book (on page 82) that “There has been for a long time anecdotal evidence for the ability of composts to protect plants from fungal diseases.” Another researcher wrote in his article Disease Suppressive Media : “In another Florida experiment, composted sewage sludge was applied to a tomato field. The researcher noticed that early blight disease was significantly less with compost than without.”
So I thought maybe I have some hope with compost. I started putting compost around my tomato plants as if it were mulch. One idea to combat early blight is to heavily mulch your tomato plants so that when you water them there won’t be a chance of any of the fungus splashing up onto the leaves from the ground because all the dirt is covered with mulch. Well now this was a new idea that the compost would actually combat the fungus!!
All composts are different in quality and whether they are mature or not. I did read of a garden where compost was used and the plants didn’t do so well, but the next year they were fantastic. The conclusion was that the first year the compost hadn’t fully matured so it was taking nitrogen from the soil. The second year the compost was mature and supplying great nutrients to the plants. So we are dealing with very individualized experiments here.
I wasn’t having any results with my Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes or my Dad’s Cherry tomatoes. But then I started to notice that my Sun-gold tomatoes were sending out new growth and new flowers. I wondered if the compost mulch was attacking the fungus and the Sun-golds were rejuvenating!! It could have also been because it wasn’t so humid anymore.
This year I am going to put lots of compost in the holes that I dig for my tomatoes and I am also going to use it as mulch. You can see from these pictures that there is the diseased, brown, dead parts of the plants coupled with the new growth and new healthy looking tomatoes! Along with the disease resistant seeds that I bought I hope I have more success this year with my tomatoes lasting until the last frost!