Wednesday, July 25, 2012

know that green "powder" that stains your hands when picking?

Cluster of Whopper Tomatoes

 Have you ever been working in your tomato plants on a hot, humid day and realized that your fingers are covered with a kind of yellow-green powder?  Some of us are even a bit allergic to the residue of tomato plants.

I've encountered it for years and never really thought much about it - the slightly sticky powdery stuff comes off the tomato leaf hairs - and then I found this interesting article (thanks to Seeds from Italy's newsletter).

Here's the scoop on what that stuff is!


  1. Well, at least I now know that I'm not crazy. Just this summer I became sensitized to poison ivy (after 40 years of blissfully running freely through the forest). This past weekend (2.5 weeks after the latest unfortunate poison ivy exposure), after a big tomato pruning/tying up effort, and lots of residue on my hands, my finger broke out in insanely itchy little blisters. I was trying to think of whether my field equipment had poison ivy oil on it. But the tomato residue does have perfect timing - the rash broke out that same night. I do hope this isn't the start of something...

    Is there any consensus on what the best soap is to remove the residue? I was using dish soap.

  2. Laura, the word I've always gotten is that the best soaps for this or for poison ivy (!)are the dish soaps that advertise that they "cut grease". Makes sense, since we're trying to cut the oil that causes the problems. Not the soaps that have lotions "to soften hands" or any of that, just plain ol' Dawn or whatever best cuts the oily residue out of your frying pan. Seems to work really well - I even keep a little squeeze container of it in the shower - beats spending $8.95 and more for a little bottle of Ivy Dry soap.

    And another hint - the very best thing I've ever found for drying out poison ivy outbreaks? Clearasil acne cream. No lie. Dries out oil and irritation on teen's faces.... works on my poison ivy blisters. Who knew?

    with a grin,

  3. Thanks Sybil! I'll have to try the Clearasil next time. The dish soap we have is Palmolive, I think, so I'll get a little Dawn to keep in reserve.

    When I was in college, I worked a summer at a hydroponic tomato farm. Had really thick tomato residue on my hands at the end of every day. Good thing it didn't give me a rash back then!


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