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Tomato-Wilt-Eating-Seeds

I am new here, and don't stop by often, so please forgive
me if this has been posted about....

I have been gardening many years, but am branching out
this year, trying all kinds of new things, including
heirloom tomatoes.

3 of my 7 heirlooms have fallen to what I have identified
as "Wilt".

A few other websites and msg boards I found have people
harvesting fruit and seeds from "wilted"
tomato plants, but that just kinda
bothers me.

Do any of you know if it is safe to eat the fruit
of tomato plants that have fallen to wilt?

And, if the fungus that causes this disease creeps into
the seeds, rendering the seeds useless???
Or can I harvest the seeds, to save for next year,
or to give to friends?

Thanks!!!

Holly
 
Mater - seeds are generally considered 'free' of disease. That is why seeds can travel to country to country without much fuss.
Wilt is caused by a virus. Typically viruses live in the soil and can survive from season to season.
Many hybrid tomatoes have had their ability to fight viral and bacterial diseases advertized with the 'FV' code behind their name. It means that hybrid has shown resistance to fusarium and vermiculum disease, and people growing tomatoes where these problems are prevalent should consider these hybrids.
Heirloomers, although much more adaptive to growing conditions, as well as providing a wider variety of shape, colour and taste, may or may not have resistance to viruses that cause wilt. They can't help it - their genetic code either gives them the ability to fight, or it doesn't. I have found heirloom tomatoes orginally from hotter, humid regions of the world seem to fight f & v problems better. Since heirloom tomatoes breed true, each generation will have the same genetic traits.
Wilt is a disease that attacks the plant from outside its systems, that is, it doesn't develop the problem from inside. Fruit from wilt affected plants is okay to eat and save seed from, although the taste may be off a little.
The fungus lives in the soil, and can survive for years, waiting for its next victim to show up. The best medicine is prevention. Solarize your planting area. Rotate all nightshade family members (tomato, peppers, eggplant) so that none of them grow in the same spot for 4 years. (that step can be dificult to make, but solarizing the soil can cut those years down to 2). Water from below, avoiding wetting the leaves; use drip irrigation with a thick mulch to stop splashing of water droplets from the soil unto the leaves. Clean up garden debris at the end of the season and solarize the soil again if possible.

It is possible to cut off wilt affected branches to save the entire plant. Amputation! Dispose of the cutting in a very hot compost pile, or in the garbage. Dip your cutting blades in disinfectant afterwards, and clean your hands and gloves before touching another plant.
I hope this helps you, Holly. I don't claim to be an authority on the subject. I only type what I have experienced myself.
 
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