‘Burn them!’ Monty Don shares what to do with blight-affected tomato plants and fruit

Gardeners' World: Monty Don discusses dealing with tomato blight

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Gardening expert Monty Don has shared how to deal with tomato blight. The Gardeners’ World host shared a photo on Instagram three days ago which revealed his own blight-affected outdoor tomato plants. Monty said while blight is “devastating” it’s unlikely to survive in the soil over winter.

However, he urged fellow gardeners not to grow tomatoes or potatoes – a cousin of tomatoes – in the same plot next year.

Previously, in a video for BBC Gardeners’ World, Monty shared the signs of tomato blight, what to do with the affected plants and whether you can still eat the fruit.

Tomato plants located outside are more susceptible to blight than those in a greenhouse.

Monty’s greenhouse tomatoes were infected with the fungal infection which “swept through” the greenhouse, causing many of his tomatoes to look rotten.

Signs of tomato blight

Ripening tomatoes will have brown, sunken spots if they have tomato blight.

This will then spread to the leaves and stems with the leaves dying off.

What to do with blight-affected tomato plants

Monty said his plants had “potato blight”, a fungus which can turn potatoes to “mush” and defoliate them.

The gardening expert further explained: “It affects tomatoes because tomatoes are cousins of potatoes.

“So, having seen the damage, I then stripped all the foliage off the plants, thinking it would stop the spread and that the existing fruit would ripen.

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“The blight had spread to the stems. It’s really clear here and even worse than that, it’s spread to the fruit.

“These are blighted fruit. If I leave these, they won’t ripen and the blight will get to them first.”

The tomatoes had shrunken and turned brown, making them look rotten.

Monty said the only option is to “harvest the green ones” and cook them.

The gardening pro suggested making green tomato chutney.

The red ones that seem to be unaffected by blight can be eaten.

Any infected plants and tomatoes will need to be disposed of.

Monty explained: “The plants and any infected tomatoes I will burn.

“If you can’t burn them, you could bury them.

“Bury them at least a metre deep and that will rot down.

“Or, bag them up and take them to your green waste disposal unit.

“I’m afraid that’s it. That’s my tomato crop a goner!”

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