Monty Don: Gardening pro shares how to ‘help speed up’ tomato ripening amid blight disease

Gardeners' World: Monty Don discusses dealing with tomato blight

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Gardeners’ World lead host Monty Don has recently been hit with tomato blight. Last week, Monty share a photo of his outdoor “Gardeners’ Delight” variety tomatoes. The gardening pro said “that’s the end of them” in a heartbreaking post on Instagram.

However, Monty said although tomato blight may seem “devastating”, it’s unlikely the fungal disease is unlikely to survive in the soil over the winter months.

He advised his followers not to plant potatoes or tomatoes in the same spot next year.

Now, it seems Monty’s prized greenhouse tomatoes have been hit with the same disease.

But to ensure the fruit ripens, Monty said he has “stripped” the tomato plants of their leaves.

He said in a post on Instagram: “Greenhouse tomatoes stripped of all leaves to improve ventilation as counter to blight, and to help speed up ripening.”

Tomato blight is a fungus disease that spreads in the foliage and stems of tomato plants.

It also affects potatoes and can leave both the crops to collapse and decay.

The fungal disease is less common in greenhouses but can still occur.

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It most commonly occurs in wet, warm weather and can spread rapidly from plant to plant.

Monty’s post was immediately inundated with support and comments from his followers.

Many fellow gardeners claimed Monty’s advice worked, leaving them with ripe tomatoes.

One person said: “I took your advice and my tomatoes are starting ripen!! At last – thank you.”

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Another person agreed: “That’s what I do, it really does help.”

A third user said: “I did this several weeks ago in a race to get them ripened before blight invaded the greenhouse.

“Got a decent crop but you do need the heat to get them ripened.”

Other users claimed they will be putting Monty’s advice into practice “straight away”.

Signs of tomato blight to look out for:

On potatoes, look out for rotting leaves which later collapse, shrivel up and turn brown.

You might also see white fungal growth on the underside of leaves.

Tomato and potato plants may have brown lesions on stems.

On tomatoes, brown patches may appear on green fruit while more mature fruits will decay.

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