Friday, August 28, 2009

Damn the Late Blight

After all my nurturing -- 22 tomato plants from seed -- I've been defeated by the late blight:

This disease has been running rampant throughout Vermont this season, affecting both potatoes and tomatoes. I thought I had beat it. My potatoes were fine, and there were no signs of blight on the tomatoes until about two weeks ago...

Late blight is the same disease that caused the Irish potato famine of the 1850s. It's airborne, serious, and thrives in wet weather -- the first half of our summer. The newspapers are telling us all to destroy the plants to help stop it from spreading next year. It apparently doesn't overwinter in the soil, so that's an advantage, but it can overwinter in infected potatoes left in the soil.

I'm so reluctant to pull up and burn the plants. Tomatoes are always the glory of my garden; canning salsa is my gateway to fall. I've harvested a few unblighted fruit and am I've been waiting to see if I can get any to ripen before they turn. But I think the battle is over. I'm going to need to buy a bushel or two.

A sad season indeed.


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