Recent Rains Bring on Diseases in the Garden

André Brock and I visited a 100-year-old gardener in West Feliciana Parish the other day.  This gentleman has a beautiful garden and said he spends an hour a day tending to it, although his daughter helps with the harvesting as his eyesight “isn’t what it used to be”.  He had what he thought was “blossom end rot” on his tomatoes, which seemed a little odd considering the amount of rain we’ve had this spring. (Blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency that we typically see more often in dry years.) It turned out that his tomatoes have buckeye rot,  a disease caused by the soil-borne water mold Phytophthora when rain splashes infested soil onto the lower fruit. We advised him to remove all of the infected fruit from the garden and put down a layer of either newspaper or plastic mulch to prevent any more splashing soil from splashing onto the fruit.

This same gentleman had originally called trying to find out why his blackberries had flowered nicely, but once again produced no fruit.  The variety he is growing is Black Satin, which is supposed to do well here in Louisiana and is self-fertile, but we suspect that the problem is due to poor pollination as our weather this spring has not always been the best for bee activity.

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About Don Ferrin

I am an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Plant Patholgy & Crop Physiology with the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge. I have statewide responsibility for issues and educational programs related to diseases of all horticultural crops in Louisiana.
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