Friday, August 12, 2011

Fighting Blight: A Fermented Recipe

Although blight is often referred to as a fungal spore, it can also be a protozoa, bacteria or virus as well. It's almost a catch all term for what often inflicts vegetation during damp or humid and windy conditions. It affects a wide variety of plants, from carrots to potatoes and apple trees to squash. It's hard on a plant, and even harder to get a harvest once your plant is infected.

After planting over 60 tomatoes, I was on the verge of loosing every single one of them to blight. I searched online for organic home remedies and found some, such as epsom salt dissolved in water. Unfortunately, I did not find that this particular solution made any noticeable difference to my plants.


Fermented foods are incredibly good for us. They provide loads of good bacteria to help fight and overpopulate the bad. It makes sense to reason then that fermented formulas would help us fight microbial pests in the garden too. After all, the soil could be likened to the human digestive system, with beneficial bacteria working hard to make nutrients available for use while keeping dangerous pathogens in check.

I recalled reading about a fermented garlic and ginger recipe to deal with fungal problems in the garden a long time ago. Since I'm learning to incorporate fermented foods in my diet, it felt appropriate to try this for my tomatoes as well.


The results to date have been amazing. My tomato plants are looking incredible and the tomatoes themselves are ripening quickly without any signs of being infected. I have been spraying this solution weekly to continue to keep the tomato plants healthy and to harvest what tomatoes remain on the plants.

What follows is the protocol and recipe I used:

Fermented Ginger & Garlic Spray (makes 2 gallons)

2 small garlic bulbs
2 small ginger roots (equivalent in size to the garlic)
1/2 cup cane sugar (do not use white sugar)
Purified water
2 gallon mason jar with lid
Sprayer or mister

Peel, crush, chop and mince your garlic and place it into your mason jar. Do the same with your ginger. Fill with purified water, leaving one inch of head space. Do not use chlorinated water, as it will inhibit bacterial growth. Place lid on loosely. Let steep at room temper for 24 hours.

Add the cane sugar, stir and set the lid on top of the jar. I used a glass lid, which provides weight, but still allows air to bubble out as it ferments. Place in a warm spot for five days. The solution will turn cloudy when it is ready to use. Strain and refrigerate until you're ready to spray.

Remove all yellow leaves and any leaves touching the fruit on your tomato plants. Remove any additional leaves that may be inhibiting air circulation around your plants. Use a ratio of approximately 1/10 solution to 9/10 water (rain barrel water preferably). Spray the plants and fruit thoroughly. I continued to spray everything in my garden - except my lettuce - with this solution. Store leftover solution in a cold cellar or fridge until you need it again. When you're down to one batch left, start another jar fermenting.

Note: When I started experimenting with this solution, my aim was to save what was left of my harvest, and so I snapped off all new growth on my plants. I do not know if this solution would have allowed me to continue developing new fruit or not.

Linked to Fight Back Friday, Barn Hop, Tomato Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, WFMW, Health2Day
Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thurdsay, Living Well Blog Hop.

23 comments:

Moira said...

I am going to try this thanks!!!
Moira

Andrea said...

I wish I am living in our farm to be trying this. At the moment, my mothers vegetables are just left on their own, survival of the fittest. It is good we are growing traditional varieties and not hybrids, which are more susceptible and needs lots of nutrients. I hope many will read this post.

cmv... said...

brilliant! wish I would have found this when i lost ALL of my tomatoes to blight two years ago.

clabbermouth said...

Wow! Impressive. I wonder if just using fermented liquids, like whey or kombucha, would work as well.

Shanon Hilton said...

Hi CMV, I lost 90% of my tomatoes last year to blight, so hopefully this will be helpful if your tomatoes get infected again!

Shanon Hilton said...

Hi Clabbermouth, I'm really not sure, but definitely something to experiment with. If you do, let me know how it works!

Shanon Hilton said...

Hi Moira, Let me know how it goes! Thanks for commenting!

Shanon Hilton said...

Hi Andrea, I think heritage seeds are definitely the way to go, and it would be great if you saved the seeds from your Mother's garden. They may just toughen up from the neglect and produce even better next year!

COB said...

You are a freaking genius!!!! I have never heard of this before, but I LOVE IT!! Way to go you!!

COB said...

You are a freaking genius. I have never heard of this but I LOVE IT!!! Way to go you!!

Rachel said...

All my tomatoes are on their way out. It's gotten progressively worse each year (not surprisingly) and we had a lot of rain this year, haven't had to water but a few times. I think I'll try this and see if anything can be salvaged and definitely plan on it for next year.

christin b said...

Do you ever ingest this? I was thinking salad dressing by adding oil??...Seems like a great thing to sip when you are sick,

Shanon Hilton said...

COB:Thanks, that's sweet of you.

Rachel: I'm thinking if I start this protocol earlier next year, maybe I'll be able to keep the blight at bay altogether and hopefully, get a bigger harvest!

Christin: No, I've never drank this. Garlic and ginger are definitely good if you're sick though.

countrygoddess said...

I will be making a batch. I live in Vermont and last year we had a terrible tomato blight that wiped out everyone's plants. I've heard that this year there is another blight going around and I don't want my beautiful plants to fall victim. Thank you!!

Carol J. Alexander said...

Very interesting. I'm going to keep this in mind for next season. Thanks for posting.

Allison at Novice Life said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhh - thank you so much for sharing. I am definitely going to hang on to this!

Ubermom said...

Holy cow! We are struggling with blight on the cucumbers right now. Brilliant! My second oldest son is a fanatic about the garden and he's getting going on this. Thanks! By the way, I came over from Real Food Wednesday.

Diana Bauman said...

Oh my goodness, I am going to have to try this next season! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Jo's Health Corner/www.naturallysports.com said...

Wow! This is great!I always looking for a natural approach to deal with problems in the garden..

Thanks for linking up to the Living Well Blog Hop! We really appreciate it..We hope to see you this Friday again..

Kendra at New Life On A Homestead said...

Thank you so much for sharing this!! I always have trouble with blight with my tomatoes especially. Sure wish I had this recipe in Spring, lol!! I'm anxious to give it a try next year. THANK YOU!!

Beebs said...

Hi,
Quick (dumb) question. You state "cane sugar", not white sugar. Do ya use brown cane?
thanks...

Shanon Hilton said...

Not a dumb question at all. As I understand it, white sugar - due to it's bleaching - contains chemical residues that affect the bacterial fermentation. So, I've always used cane sugar that wasn't bleached, or brown cane sugar. Hope that's helpful.

Beebs said...

Thanks Shanon...sure does. Unfortunately, I bought white pure can sugar & used that. I has now been 5 days since I added the pure cane sugar. I'm going to strain it & try it (if I get blight again this year), but will also make another batch with brown cane sugar.
Thanks again...Beebs