Father’s Day in the Garden
Next Sunday is Fathers’ Day. I’m reminding you early in case you’ve forgotten but if your Dad is like most, he has been passing along (maybe not so) subtle hints about what’s on his wish list.
For me, Fathers’ Day is a reminder to start my strict Bordo regimen. I will begin on Sunday (if the weather permits) and go right through until the plants have finished producing. It is this scheduled garden activity that keeps my tomatoes blight-free throughout the summer. Every year I have a healthy tomato crop and I owe a large part of that success to Bordo.
What is it?
Bordo is a copper-based fungicide. Copper sulfate (or CuSO4 for the chemists out there) is more precise. The product itself is an organic wettable powder used on more than just tomatoes. The list is long but includes grapes, apples, potatoes, peaches, ornamental flowers, and squash. Basically any plant susceptible to fungal infections.
An Ounce of Prevention…
Bordo is a prevention, not a cure. This is very important and it is why I have to stick to my strict schedule. Once a plant has contracted a fungal infection, Bordo will not fix it. And where tomatoes are concerned, nothing will.
On my farm I follow the guidelines on the can – unless it is raining on the day I want to spray (guidelines vary depending on what you are using the product for). Rain just pushes my spray day out and I continue on.
Coverage is key when it comes to Bordo. Because blight is spread via wind and rain, covering the tops and undersides of all leaves, fruits, and stems is very important. And I always spray in the morning so the water can dry, leaving the Bordo on the plant.
I try to avoid spraying the flowers and if I see that the plant has put out a bunch of them, I wait a few days. The bees can do their work and then I can get in there and do mine. Bordo isn’t harmful to bees, I just don’t think they appreciate the interruptions.
Bordo is an organic fungicide but, as we have learned over the years, organic doesn’t necessarily mean completely safe. Copper buildup in the soil can be harmful to the organisms living there. To combat this, I rotate my crops every year: if I planted tomatoes there last year, you can bet they won’t be there in that spot this year.
Avoid large amounts of the stuff in water bodies. If you have a pond, keep it at a distance and don’t spray on windy days when the wind is blowing in that direction.
Enjoy blight-free tomatoes this season and remember, this is a prevention not a cure. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Find Bordo Copper Spray at your local Home Hardware.