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Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Disease Resistant Tomatoes

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While we're still a good month away from starting tomato seeds indoors, it's not too early to plan what varieties to grow. Growing tomato plants from seed indoors is easy if you have a light setup. They only take about 6 weeks of indoor growing to be ready to plant and you get to choose from a wide range of varieties.

One of the problems gardeners often encounter with tomato plants are leaf blight diseases. Luckily, there are a number of early and late blight tolerant and resistant varieties on the market. So, try some of these this year in your garden.

'Iron Lady' is a determinate, red slicing variety with good resistant to blight and septoria leaf spot, as long as you grow it away from other blight susceptible varieties. 'Defiant' is a hybrid red, 6- to 8-ounce size variety with good leaf and root disease resistance.

'Mountain Magic' is a red cherry tomato that grows strong, produces lots of sweet, crack resistant fruit and doesn't get many leaf diseases. 'Matt's Wild Cherry' is a current-sized, red cherry tomato that is also a good disease tolerant choice.

For a nice saladette or plum-shaped, disease resistant tomato variety try 'Juliet', 'Plum Regal' and 'Valentine'. These varieties will produce an abundance of fruits for salads and canning.

As with any tomato, the healthier you keep the plant, the less problems you'll have. Plant, once the soil has warmed, in compost amended raised beds, keep the weeds away and water regularly. Trellis or stake tall plants to keep the fruits off the ground and mulch to slow the spread of diseases.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.

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