The Q&A Archives: Verticlum Wilt(sp) On Tomatoe Plants

Question: I have severe wilt problems from my soil which shortens growing season by august and reduces yield drastically, are there any varieties that are immune.I have tried resistant varieties and they do not work. This problem is confirmed by soil tests. I am told there is nothing short of replacing the soil that will solve my problem, is this true.
The problem is getting worse each year, my yield from 12 Burpee big boy plants in a year has dropped from 400-500 lbs per year to maybe 150 lbs, this is no joke I did get that many tomatoes from only 12 plants. My garden is raised bed 25ft by 40 ft, if I add a new plot away from the existing garden for just tomatoes will the wilt infest it also?? Are there any chemicals that would help. Obviously replacing the soil is a solution but the soil is very good and I get excellent yield on anything else I plant. HELP

Answer: This is a soil borne problem and can be spread on tools, brought in with transplants, and so on, including I would fear, the sides to the raised bed. I would worry that the problem could be accidently transferred into the new soil, and after all that work, it would be so disappointing!

Resistant varieties are not immune, but when well cared for and grown in otherwise healthy soil may be able to produce well. In some instances, using copious amounts of compost and organic matter in preparing the soil also seems to help resistant plants outgrow the problem. (Be sure you are not adding diseased plants to your compost pile, however.)

Unfortunately, Burpee Big Boy does NOT have the disease resistance of some of the other varieties that are available, so I would strongly suggest you try one that is resistant to verticillium as well as other problems. You might try one of these instead: the new Bush Big Boy(VFNT), Big Beef (VFNTAS), Big Girl (VF), SuperTasty (VFNTAS), Better Boy (VFN)and see if you have better results.

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