“Do you have a listing of your early blight resistant tomato varieties? The blight just wiped me out last year. Thank you. ~P.”
Thank you for your email regarding varieties that we carry that are resistant to early tomato blight (Alternaria solani). At this, there are no varieties on the market that are resistant to early blight. However, there is some hope on the horizon. I’ve included a link that tells of new updates towards this end — potential varieties that are released during 2010 will be available in 2011 in catalogs.
As for last year, our main problem in Wisconsin was late blight (Phytophthora infestans). Late blight is one of those that strikes only every few years (usually about once a decade) during summers that are unseasonably cool and wet. Again, there are no varieties of tomatoes that are resistant to this fungal pathogen.
For now, the best I can recommend is to go with varieties that are resist to other diseases. If you plant is stressed from being diseased with things like Verticillium and Fusarium Wilt, Nematodes, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, or Alternaria Stem Canker (Alternaria alternata, not Alternaria solani), it is going to be the perfect host for blight. By chosing varieties that have V, F, N, T, A, St, or TSWV disease resistance, among others, you will be able to keep your plant healthier and make it less susceptible to early (and if the seasonal conditions are right, late) blight.
In addition to varietal selection, another important management strategy for controlling tomato blight is to rotate the crops in your garden (at least a three year rotation) and to practice good garden clean-up practices in the fall.
I hope this information helps you out. If I can answer any other questions, please feel free to ask.
EDITOR’S NOTE, 7/16/13: for more information on controlling early blight, please click here to see my latest article on the disease.
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