Excerpt from the Popular Farming Series magabook Organic Farm & Garden with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Organic Farm & Garden here.
America’s favorite backyard crop, tomatoes, is a favorite food for pests. The tomato plant can fall prey to insects, slugs and fungal diseases, so tomatoes need monitoring throughout the season.
Start by paying attention to the tomato types you plant. Seed packets of disease-resistant tomatoes are marked with combinations of the letters V, F, T, N and A, which indicate resistance to known tomato problems: V for Verticillium wilt; F for Fusarium wilt; N for nematodes; T for tobacco mosaic virus; and A for alternaria (early blight).
Planting resistant varieties will help ward off problems before they start. Also look for tomatoes that yield early and offer mid-season harvests because they will bear fruit before the onslaught of late-summer fungal diseases. Heritage tomato varieties common to your area may also have a natural resistance to some pests and blights.