Preventing Tomato Disease
In the Indoor Garden

Preventing tomato disease depends on your ability to eliminate sources of tomato disease. A study has shown the following to be the largest sources of tomato disease in studied greenhouses...

  1. field trimmed transplants

  2. unsterilized transplanting trays

  3. unsterilized potting soil

  4. improperly fumigated greenhouse

  5. nesting insects from outdoors

  6. diseased perennials nearby

  7. failure to rotate crops

  8. overhead irrigation

  9. contaminated garden tools

Since we are gardening indoors, and are not shipping out tomatoes anywhere, many of these sources are eliminated. This makes preventing tomato disease much easier for the indoor grower. The greatest sources of disease for the indoor grower are...

  1. unsterilized transplanting trays

  2. unsterilized potting soil

  3. failure to rotate crops

  4. contaminated garden tools

  5. blossom end rot

Unsterilized Transplanting Trays

If you are not using new, disposable trays each time you are transplanting, than wash your trays with soap and water before you use them... simple as that. If you have a recurring problem with disease, you may want to soak your trays in a 10% bleach solution as part of a larger effort to eliminate the source.

Unsterilized Potting Soil/Failure to Rotate

As a rule of thumb, you should never use soil from outdoors or reuse soil right away, without composting it first. Neither of these will be sterile sources of soil. The best solution is to make a fresh soilless mix each time.

A good place to start would be equal parts vermiculite, perlite, and sphagnum peat, than add 10% worm castings to it. Adding 1 teaspoon of lime per gallon of soil will help prevent blossom end rot later.

Reusing soil before the roots and other organic matter have had a chance to break down is much like failing to rotate crops outdoors. Using a sterile soil mix to begin with will go a long way toward preventing tomato disease.

Contaminated Garden Tools

One of the easiest ways of preventing tomato disease is to always be clean. One of the most common examples would be when a gardener is pruning the suckers away. Contamination can occur at the root level, too, from your other tools. The best solution is to wash your hands when cloning or pruning, and wash your tools regularly with soap and water in between uses.

Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot occurs when a tomato plant has set many fruit, but now there is not enough calcium to properly develop them all. Even if there is enough calcium, high humidity will prevent its transport within the tomato plant. The result is rotten fruit. You can prevent this nutrition related disease by keeping your humidity lower and properly feeding your tomato plants. Visit my how to grow tomatoes page to find out how.

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