Each morning I head out to the garden to enjoy a cup of coffee and to check out what’s new from the day before. This summer, I’ve been watching my tomato plants very closely because the vines are full of fruit, but they’re still green. I figure they will all ripen at the same time – then I’ll have more tomatoes than I know what to do with!
However, this morning I was surprised to see some of my Tiny Tim tomatoes are finally turning red! But they are ripening with yellow spots and very soft bottoms. As you may guess….I’m concerned. Last summer I lost nearly all my tomatoes to Blossom End Rot. What can be wrong this time around?
After a bit of research, it looks like my plants have Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV). The virus is a common invader of home gardens and affects the leaves and fruit of tomato plants. The leaves display a yellow, mosaic pattern and/or dark circles while the tomatoes have characteristic yellow spots and streaks across their red skin. Tomatoes infected with TSWV are unfit to eat – fresh or cooked. So that means my tomatoes have to go…..just like last year.
If you know what to look for, you can detect signs of the virus early in the growing season. This is when plants are infected by feeding thrips carrying the virus they picked up from infected weeds. The first signs show up on young leaves as small, dark spots against bronze-colored leaves. That’s the best time to uproot and destroy your tomato plants before the virus spreads. But I didn’t know that until now.
So what do I do now?
• Get rid of my Tiny Tim tomato plant ASAP
• Check the rest of the tomato varieties in my garden for signs of TSWV. If I see signs of the virus, out they go….
• Check the peppers in my garden for TSWV. If I see signs of the virus, they get destroyed too.
How are your tomatoes looking this year?