Real World Gardener Controlling Tomato Diseases in Plant Doctor

March 18th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


Tomatoes are almost the number one plant to grow in the vegetable garden.

Shall we say, botanically a fruit, but we call it a vegetable?

Home grown tomatoes. photo M. Cannon

Last week Plant Doctor looked at the pests that are attracted to your tomatoes, but today we’re looking at the diseases that your tomatoes can succumb to.

Not that you can’t grow healthy plants but in case you’ve had problems and are on the point of giving up, here’s how to deal with some of these diseases.

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager of

Some of the disease problems we talked about are the wilts:-Verticillium wilt which prefers cooler conditions and has a dark brown centre if you cut the stem; Fusarium wilt which occurs more in warmer conditions and has a pinky brown centre when you cut through the stem.

Basically you have to pull out and destroy the plants and not put them into the compost because they will the disease will spread.

Then there's the spotty problems like Septoria or Target Spot which are a combination of fungal and bacterial disease. This can cause spotting on both the leaves and the fruit.

You might be starting to think that there’s too many pests and diseases that go for your tomatoes, but don’t let that stop you from growing them, because they are enjoyable to grow.

Prevention where possible is always best and fortnightly sprays of seaweed solution strengthens the cell walls of the plant. 

Blossom end rot is not a disease but a calcium deficiency. Sometimes caused by lack of sufficient water or irregular watering during dry times.

Adding a sprinkle of Dolomite around the plant when first putting them in will help solve this problem.

Blossom end rot. photo M Cannon

Another tip is to not have the plants flopping around but staked up and remove the lower leaves.

The biggest tip is to rotate where you grow your tomato plants rather than planting them in the same spot year after year.

If you’ve only got one dedicated spot for your veggie bed, then you may have to rethink where you put these tomatoes, say in the front garden amongst your perennial flowers.

If you have any questions about pests of tomatoes or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App