Deep Roots asked for suggestions on controlling blight. My favorite gardening book recommends neem oil, and since I use neem to deal with a wide variety of gardening problems, that may well have been why my plants weren’t bothered. It seems like everyone else lost tomatoes to blight this year!
For those of you who have never used neem, it’s derived from the seeds of the neem tree, which is found in Africa, India, Australia and southeast Asia. It’s used for both pest control and disease control.
The active ingredient in neem works great as an organic pesticide because it works in two ways: first, it blocks the progression of an insect’s life cycle; second, it acts as an appetite suppressant. So, a pest takes a nibble or two and stops feeding. It may take a couple of days to kill the pest, but your plant won’t suffer in the mean time. It’s known to repel mealy bugs, armyworms, aphids, cabbage worms, whiteflies, mites, fungus gnats, beetles, moth larvae, mushroom flies, leafminers, caterpillars, locust, nematodes and the Japanese beetle.
As a pesticide, it’s very safe, with little to no effect on beneficials, like butterflies, spiders, bees, earthworms, and ladybugs. Evidence also shows that it has little impact on birds, fish and other wildlife, too.
Neem oil is not just for pests. It also controls black spot, downy mildew, powdery mildew, anthracnose, rust, early blight and late blight. It is my most frequently used organic spray. In fact, I find if I spray neem very early in the season and again mid-season, I seldom have huge problems to deal with.
You can purchase neem at any garden center. Just follow the directions for application.