|garden fresh tomatoes|
2 years ago, our daughter was new to planting her own garden. She had helped while living at home with us; however, now that she is a momma with a home of their own the garden duties are a bit different. My husband, her father, was telling her about the Tomato-Tobacco Mosaic Virus Disease; well, I had helped and planted many plants along side of him, however, this was all new to me too. Our grandson has worked as an organic gardener for many years. He worked at a Bed and Breakfast, on an island off the Georgia coast, providing not only their food but for others. He also traveled to South Africa for 6 months; teaching them how to plant and harvest food for themselves.
When I asked Andy Schwartz about the Tomato-Tobacco Mosaic Virus Disease, this is what he said, “Yeah it is very real and I have seen people mishandling plants at nurseries often. Smoking, especially if you roll your own, and gardening do not mix. I do not think about this virus too much because I do not smoke but when volunteers are present I make sure that people are aware. Wearing gloves is good practice. I’d say that buying plants from hardware stores and similar places is the most common way of getting plants infected. People are shopping for plants just after smoking and they handle a couple six packs or pick up something and put it back. I’d say it is not something to be overly concerned about just something to be aware of particularly if you are a smoker.”
|diseased tomato leaf|
The University of Minnesota Extension website explains it this way, “The most common method of transferring the virus from plant to plant is on contaminated hands and tools. Workers who transplant seedlings should refrain from smoking during transplanting and wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. Tools used in transplanting can be placed in boiling water for 5 minutes and then washed with a strong soap or detergent solution. Dipping tools in household bleach is not effective for virus decontamination. Any seedlings that appear to have mosaic symptoms or are stunted and distorted should be removed and destroyed. After removing diseased plants, never handle healthy plants without washing hands and decontaminating tools used to remove diseased plants.”
If you are using your precious time to plant and grow your own tomatoes, doesn’t it make sense to do it properly? Play it safe; follow the rules for a happy harvest of fresh garden tomatoes.
The picture of the diseased tomato leaf caused by the tobacco mosaic virus is provided by University of Minnesota Extension website.