By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
I love heirloom tomatoes but with this love comes a price.
Many heirloom tomatoes are susceptible to many plant diseases.
These plants were bred for their fruit and not their resistance.
As time went on and science continued to develop, tomatoes were bred for such characteristics as disease resistance, large fruit, and storage ability.
The beauty and taste of the heirloom began to fall away. Today, many gardeners plant heirloom tomatoes not only for their taste but also as a way of keeping our gardening past alive.
Nowadays there is a resurgence of gardening the old way or what I like to call organically. This type of farming consists of using what you have to deal with a problem. An example of how this works is the time tested beer in a bowl to kill slugs or newspaper around a tomato stem to prevent cutworms. This type of approach to problem solving forces the gardener to understand the mechanics of the problem and come up with a household solution. This is how the tale of the copper wire and hydrogen peroxide came about.
The combination of copper wire and hydrogen peroxide is a great organic way of preventing tomato blight. Copper, as a treatment for blight, has now become the base by which many blight treatments have been created around. Copper sulfate is one organic choice but an easier technique utilizes a common copper wire.
To begin the process that will protect your tomato plant from blight requires that the tomato plant be planted in the ground. The procedure needs to be done early in the season while the stem is soft and not woody. You will need 3-inches of 16 gauge wire per tomato plant. The tomato stem needs to be about the size of a pencil when this process is done. To commence with the procedure, measure Â½-inch from the top of the soil line. At this point, run the copper wire through the stem. Once the wire is through the stem, adjust the length on each side so that they are equal. At this point, the ends can be left up or bent down into the soil.
After the wire has been run through the stem, mist each plant with undiluted 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. This hydrogen peroxide treatment will need to occur once a week.
These treatments combined will prevent both early and late tomato blight.
While many studies have been done on this topic and results have varied in effectiveness, nowhere has this treatment been found not to prevent tomato blight. In the studies, both groups of plants, control and experimental, did not suffer from tomato blight. These results could have occurred due to weather, good luck or some mechanism that we have yet to understand. So my opinion of this treatment is to go ahead and use it. There is no harm and no foul. It is better to use this treatment, whether it is an old wise-tale or not, and possibly prevent a problem than not use it and develop tomato blight.
So until we blog again, what is old is new again not only in the wedding realm but also in the garden season. Try a gentle coax, from those organic folks, who relish every little bee.