724-845-8201 Mon--Fri 9-6 Sat 9-5 Sun10-3

Don’t have your tomatoes look like this!


Have your tomatoes look like this!


Gardeners pride themselves in growing their favorite tomatoes; however, late blight has become a problem in our area over the years.  There are sprays that are effective in its control but timing and remembering to spray can be a problem for some.  Plus many gardeners just don’t like to spray.  So for those gardeners that are losing the battle against late blight there are some varieties that are resistant.  This doesn’t mean they won’t get it but they are less likely to be affected then varieties that are not resistant.

Varieties to consider are Mt. Merit, Cloudy Day, and Defiant Hybrid.

Bred in England, Cloudy Day is excellent for growing in our northern climate. This plant does very well in cool, cloudy weather and sunny weather.  It offers a high yield of 5-oz. tasty slicer fruit that are ready in about 70 days and are pure-red and will infuse salads, soups, and sauces with gourmet pizzazz.  The big plus is it offers disease resistance as well; plants seem to laugh off early and late blight.  Cool weather? Late Season? ‘Cloudy Day’ offers up bountiful tomatoes brimming with sunshine.

Mt Merit as disease resistances or tolerances to fusarium 123, verticillium, tomato spot wilt virus and late blight. With moderate resistance to early blight and nematodes. Mountain Merit was judged by growers in the Heartland region as a superior tomato because it is such a nice all-around tomato, perfect for slicing and sandwiches. With a 4-5 week harvest window, these dark red fruits grow on a compact, uniform plant.

Defiant Hybrid named for its defiance of most troublesome tomato diseases is the variety that cracked the genetic code to produce the first tomato bred for resistance to the modern strains of Late Blight disease. Don’t worry it’s not a MGO. This high yielding plant produces 6 to 8 ounce globe-shaped fruits that combine disease resistance with great old-fashioned tomato flavor. Defiant Hybrid is also resistant to Verticillium wilt; Fusarium wilts 1 and 2, and Alternaria Stem CankerFollow these planting practices to also discourage late blight disease on tomatoes:

  •  Plant tomatoes in a raised bed to improve drainage and prevent diseases from spreading. This can be as simple as making a mound or soil in the garden and planting the tomato on the mound.
  • Give tomato plants extra space (more than 24 inches) to let air to move among leaves and keep them dry.
  • Water the soil – not the plants – to prevent splashing. Avoid overhead watering.
  • Mulch with black plastic or landscape fabric to prevent fungus from spreading up onto leaves.
  • Stake tomato plants for better circulation.
  • Remove and destroy affected plants as they appear and at the end of the season.

Garden Tip: Onion sets are now available and your local garden center.  Plant Bottleneck onions 4-6 Inches deep for green onions or scallions. Plant regular onions 1 inch deep for large onions.

.Dave Vargo is the owner of   Kiski Plaza Garden & Feed Center (724-845-8201) in Leechburg.  Products mentioned in the article are available at the garden center.  Any questions call or email dvargokiski@comcast.net.  Like us on Facebook @kiskigardencenter.