Plant high-quality, disease-resistant seed varieties to reduce the potential severity of mildew and delay disease development until later in the season, when it’s easier to manage.
Spread ’em Out
Space your plants out to promote air circulation around them. Stake and tie tomatoes so they are not lying on the ground.
Minimize overhead watering by using drip irrigation or hand watering the base of the plants. If you need to overhead water, do it early in the day so the plants have a chance to dry off.
Fertilize with Care
Too much nitrogen makes plants lush and more susceptible to disease—but too little nitrogen might not yield any fruit.
Remove leaves, or even full plants, when disease symptoms first appear, to reduce spread. At the end of the season, remove all crop debris that could be a source of disease next season.
Beth Gugino ’97 Agr, ’00 MS, ’04 PhD Agr is a professor of vegetable pathology.