My Square Foot Garden: Bonus Update, Blight!

I’d planned to wait until my my regular Thursday garden update to share what I’m doing. However, if it works to help save even a fraction of what’s out there, I would feel selfish because I hadn’t posted it sooner. It may not work at all but it may, too. It may well be it’s too little too late. I’d rather try and fail than not try and fail, anyway. And I can hope, can’t I? You may already know about it. If you don’t and you read this, you’ll learn something new.

The blight in my garden has been on my mind during the day and disturbed my sleep at night. I started Googling “organic fungicide” in earnest and finally came across something I could do that was readily accessible, cheap and fairly easy—all right at the top of my list of requirements. And here it is:

"Food" Grade Corn Meal

You’d better believe I felt strange with that bag of corn meal in my buggy. I had a hard time finding any that was just corn meal and not mix or self-rising. The additives in those would kill any plant.

The site I found said to mix one cup corn meal into one gallon water and let it set overnight. It also said you can use either food grade or horticultural corn meal but another site said to only use food grade.

Whisk it in

After it has set, all the corn meal will have settled to the bottom of the bowl. By the way, I used rainwater and not tap.

Let it set overnight

The next day, it’s time to strain. I used a regular strainer with a strainer bag my friend Shari sent me. I didn’t put the corn meal mixture through the bag but simply laid it in the strainer.

Set up the strainer

The sprayer I have is an El Cheapo but it does the job and I don’t need something fancy.

Get your sprayer

When you’ve finished straining the stuff and filling the sprayer, you will be left with wet sludgy corn meal in the bottom of the bowl

What's left in the bowl

and strainer.


Here are my poor little cherry toms. Sad, aren’t they?

Poor pitiful cherry tomatoes

I waited until it warmed up before I started spraying. Yesterday and today have both been unseasonably cool.


I took the “sludge” and put it at the base of some of the worst plants:


Then I got ready to sift on some dry meal:

Getting ready to sift it on

After I covered the ground under the tomato plants, it looked like it had snowed, though it was yellow snow. (EWWWWWwww!)


For the first time, I pulled the hose that my neighbor fixed for me over to the garden. I needed a hose end sprayer but I didn’t have one.


The droplets were rather large but I tried to keep the water directed onto the dirt and not the plants.

Watering it in

After watering it in well, all I could do was hope and pray that it will work somewhat, at least.

Some notes about the corn meal:

  1. Don’t put it on young plants. Only use it on established plants because it can stunt young ones.
  2. DO NOT use “corn gluten” as a fungicide. It can be used as a weed killer because it slows or stops germination.

Other than those two things, it is said to be safe and effective. As for the effective part, we shall see what we shall see and I will keep you updated.

13 Responses to My Square Foot Garden: Bonus Update, Blight!

  1. Shari July 20, 2009 at 8:21 am #

    Thanks for the tip! So far this year blight has stayed out of our yard. I’m hoping for the best in your garden. I’ve never tried anything once the blight has hit and will be anxious to hear if it works, even a bit. Did the article say when to apply? As a precaution or after signs of blight are evident?


  2. Dwain July 20, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    Just to be clear — you sifted the dry meal on the soil under the plants, and not on the plants, right?

  3. Mary Jane July 20, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    Hope it works! At least it shouldn’t hurt anything.

  4. Tommie July 20, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    Shari, the article (the link is in the 4th paragraph and it isn’t long) said not to put it on young plants. I doubt it will do that much good for me at this point but, as MJ said, it shouldn’t hurt anything. As a matter of fact, it will enrich the soil a little bit and it probably will either kill or weaken the blight spores.

    Yes, Dwain, I sifted the dry meal around the plants but if it gets on them, that won’t hurt, either. I sprayed them with the corn meal/water combo.

  5. Melissa July 20, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    The third actual photo of your plants looks like my tomato plants. I wonder if blight is what I have?! I might have to try this cornmeal trick.

    I love reading about your garden and experiences! I hope this works for you.

    • Tommie July 20, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

      If that’s what yours looks like, I’m afraid they’ve been hit with the blight, too. It’s a terrible thing and I don’t know if I’m shooting in the dark or not. Time will tell. The corn meal isn’t expensive and it’s easy to apply so, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I hope it works, too. Thanks for the encouragement, Melissa!

  6. terry in the keys July 21, 2009 at 7:43 pm #

    Hope this is successful for you Tommie. Any idea how long it’s supposed to take to see results. I plan to look up the article you put the link to and read it. Thanks for the info and pictures.

    • Tommie July 21, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

      I put it on day before yesterday and they are looking better today. I ate some ‘maters outta my garden for supper! Thank YOU for your comment and the hope you share!

  7. Melissa July 22, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

    I had a thought today about GMO’s and how corn is probably the most common. Would this affect a gardener trying to keep organic or not?

    I talked to the boy and he said that it wouldn’t hurt trying! heh. So, yeah. I think I am going to try. We have new growth at the base of our tomato stalks, so we’ll see! I’m off to the grocery store to see if I can find some corn meal. The stuff we have is probably 20+ years old!

    • Tommie July 22, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

      To tell you the truth, I don’t know. Wish I could say for sure one way or another but I can’t. All I know is, I’m desperate!

  8. Tommie July 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    BTW, the 20 year old stuff might even be better!

  9. Melissa July 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    How are your tomato plants doing? Any better?! I decided I’m going to go for it! They need help. I have one tomato plant that is all brown. completely! So, I need to get to the others before they die too.

    • Tommie July 24, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

      To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I’ve sprayed with the corn meal “soup”, put corn meal on the ground, sprayed with Epsom salt solution, put ES on the ground and sprayed with baking soda. I may be guilty of doing too much now but I hate not to. I may end up pulling them Sunday. This is taking over my life.

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