Reboot my container garden from a Fusarium wilt.
July 29, 2012 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Reboot my container garden from a Fusarium wilt.

My tomato-heavy balcony container garden has been rocked by a Fusarium wilt. Basification and reduced water have allowed me to get some fruit out, but it's not going to last much longer. The only real 'treatment' that I found is to not plant susceptible species for 3 years or sterilize everything. What can I replace them with right now which
a) is not susceptible to Fusarium
b) will quickly provide attractive foliage
c) can be obtained without going to a specialty store?
posted by a robot made out of meat to Home & Garden (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Plant pathologist here. I should ask where you are, but it doesn't matter that much: if you are anywhere in this heat wave, you could just let the soil in your container garden dry out and hope for the best. Or, keep the soil moist and place some black plastic on top to "solarize" it (make it really hot). You could also plant Fusarium-resistant cultivars of tomato (seed packages marked with an "F". Or, douse the soil with "Actinovate", a soil biocontrol agent (I've never tried it with Fusarium, but it might work). Or, to answer your actual question, plant anything that isn't in the tomato family. Not peppers, not potatoes, not petunias. "Right now" is a bad time to plant anything, but how about rosemary? Later, when it's cooler, you can put it pansies, which are very tolerant of cool in autumn. Or ornamental kale.
posted by acrasis at 2:51 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I prune as much as is feasible, especially if they're indeterminate tomatoes. Keep the plants from touching each other and keep each plant from turning into a tangled jungle. I feed the plants extra-well (extra compost, liquid seaweed are both miracle drugs) and keep the tomato factory going as long as I can; it's possible to turn things around for awhile.

Afterward, solarize your soil and plant some cool-season crops that don't so much share diseases with nightshades. Greens, lettuces, beans (if you have a trellis), herbs, there's TONS of stuff to start in the late summer to give you fall crops. I find delicious things to be highly attractive, I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but cooking greens like mustards and kales and chards really are awfully pretty foliage.
posted by desuetude at 11:42 PM on July 29, 2012

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