Friday, August 7, 2009

Milk spray for fungal treatment on tomatoes - BEWARE!

Sometimes the treatment is worse than the disease.

In a knee-jerk reaction to a little bit of yellow on the lower leaves on my tomato plants, I decided to spray a milk and water solution (1:1). Of course, I read about it on the internet :) So, I sprayed half my plants once a week for 3 weeks with this organic and "safe" alternative. At least I thought it was safe. After the 3rd application, I noticed a fuzzy black mold on the leave surfaces that got the milk treatment. I'm 99% sure that the mold is due to the milk. Maybe a weaker solution would have been better? We don't get rain in the summer, so there was no chance of the milk solution washing off. In fact, I began to hate the look of the leaves with the crusty dried milk solution..which then morphed into mold. I'm pretty sure there would have been less damage, if I'd just left the plants alone. The other half of the plants that didn't get my "treatment" look much better. No black fuzzy mold. I actually sprayed them once with a cornmeal solution. But then, I ran out of cornmeal and forgot to spray again - probably for the best!

The moral of this story is don't believe everything you hear...or read...please...for your garden's sake.

Oh well, the tomatoes are going to survive my silly treatment. I can see plenty of new growth and suckers. Some would be 10 feet tall, if I had stakes that height! Instead they are sort of flopping over after reaching the tops of the stakes. I just tasted Paul Robeson - delicious! Gotta love that coloring; it matches my vase:


Michelle said...

Wow, your plants are loaded with fruit! Paul Robeson has been one of my all time favorite tomatoes for a number of years - delicious.

Autumn Belle said...

Jackie, thank you very much for this information. Now I can learn from your experience. Wow, I have learnt that there are so many types of tomatoes after joining blotanical.

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

No harm in trying Jackie... Vary a little bit, after a couple of trial and error, you will be successful. Great Info.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi Jackie! I know that feeling... I also had a scary moment. First, I removed some worst looking leaves. Then, I sprayed the plants with magnesium solution. They look good so far. Many plants start showing yellow already.I think the lower leaves can be removed safely. They also recommend to remove big leaves that block fruit from the sun. I am always very careful because the fruit should be protected from extreme heat like we had several days ago. I also started to pinch the tops since our tomato growing season is not so long... If I don't do pinching, I'll end with tons of green fruit. Of course, they can be used, too. Good luck to you! Paul Robeson looks good. I have this type first time this year.

Stefaneener said...

The tomatoes look great by the vase! Still life definitely.

Sorry about the mold . .. it's hard not to try things. I keep reminding myself that I'll get another chance next year, but still!

DirtDigger (Tessa) said...

Thanks for passing the info on. Great looking tomatoes! I feel like a Greek salad suddenly :)

Jackie said...

Great to see some other people growing Paul Robeson. Great minds think alike ;)

Anonymous said...

Spraying 1:1 ratio (50% milk) is way too much milk. 10% is ideal and 30% is too strong.

Benefits of spraying 10% skim milk on tomato plants are well researched and documented. But there are important guidelines:

1. Use skim milk. It works equally well and avoids problems caused by milk fat (like bad smell.)

2. Mix 1 part skim milk to 9 parts water. 10% is ideal, and over 30% is too much milk.

3. Do not saturate leaves with milk spray. Just spray enough to leave a very light mist on them. If you see a drop of milk, you sprayed too much.

4. Spray only once every 7 - 14 days before sunrise or close to sunset. Every 14 days in very hot climates, more often in cooler areas.

5. Don't spray when temp is above 80 degrees.

Good luck!