Trouble in the vegetable patch? Break out the aspirin – it nips pesky blights in the bud

It has been hailed as a wonder drug that can fix a headache, treat fever and even help prevent a heart attack or cancer. Now, it seems, aspirin has added yet another life-saving string to its bow – at least for tomatoes and potatoes.

Gardeners are being advised to spray their plants with a solution containing the drug to help prevent devastating blight infections that can turn them to mush.

James Wong, an ethnobotanist and BBC science presenter, told The Independent on Sunday that aspirin could induce a state called “systemically acquired resistance” – a kind of general readiness state.

Mr Wong, a regular on Gardeners’ Question Time, advised dosing the plants with a water-based aspirin solution, particularly with heavy rain forecast for the rest of the week for much of the country. Wet weather produces the ideal conditions for blight and other pests.

One recent study found that the use of the spray, which can be made at home, resulted in a “47 per cent reduction” in blight.

from the Independent – 11 May 2014