What's the Best Soil Recovery Plan after Early Blight Hits?

The common advice for blight isn’t always the best solution; try these tips to recover your garden soil instead.

| Spring 2017

  • A sign of early blight is small brown spots on leaves with rings that form a bull's eye pattern.
    Photo by Fotolia/burapa nammulsint

Question: What is the best recovery plan for my soil if I had early blight last year? How many years do I have to wait until I can plant nightshade crops in that garden bed again?

Answer: Early blight is common in the gardening world and especially picks on tomatoes; however, it’s controllable. First, let me tell you the common advice and why I don’t agree. Then, I’ll tell you the solution that actually works for me.

Common advice: Prune or stake plants to improve air circulation. Disinfect pruning shears  with 1 part bleach to 4 parts water after each cut.

Dirt Doctor response: Careful pruning is OK; bleach isn’t. Hydrogen peroxide is a better choice.

Common advice: Drip irrigation and soaker hoses help keep foliage dry. Only water during the day.

Dirt Doctor response: I don’t object to watering the foliage under a proper organic program. It naturally rains at night anyway.

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