How to deal with tomato blight

Q: This summer all my tomato plants turned brown. The tomatoes turned blotchy and then rotted. Should I dispose of the plants or can I till them into the soil?

I, too, have experienced this blight and extend my sympathies. I’d suggest looking up good recipes for green tomato mincemeat. One fall I made about 50 litres of lovely mincemeat from hundreds of blight-affected green tomatoes that were not going to make it to red. Everyone I know received a litre of it for their holiday tarts.

As to whether you should till in your blight-infected tomatoes, I strongly recommend you do not. All infected material is best stuffed into your garbage can – the less left in your garden soil the better. And, even with this precaution, I highly recommend you plant your tomatoes in a different location next year. Crop rotation is absolutely critical. Remember, too, that potatoes are also very blight-susceptible and should not be planted in infected spots.

Many people enjoy their best success with tomatoes when they grow them in a covered location, perhaps under eaves on the south side of the house, on a covered patio, under plastic or in a greenhouse. Certainly, it was the eventual acquisition of a greenhouse that saved our tomatoes from the blight that took down crops several years in a row.