Monday, August 24, 2009


I read an article today about late blight which is affecting local tomatoes and potatoes. There’s usually some around here and there but partly do to the wetter, cooler summer, it’s much more widespread than normal. And apparently there’s more than one strain around too. This year it’s also being found on eggplants and peppers.

So you know, blight first appears on tomato leaves as a brown spot with white fungus on the upper surface. There’s much more fungus on the underside of the leaves. It spreads to the fruit as brown or black spots. On the heavily infested tomatoes there’ll be a mold-like substance inside.

The best way to control it, according to the article, is to inspect your plants thoroughly and often. Pull any that are showing signs of blight. Do not toss them on your compost heap. That’ll allow the pathogens that cause the blight to spread. Instead, put the plants in a plastic bag and then discard or bury at least two feet deep. You could also use pesticides but be sure you follow the precaution warning closely. And do you really want to eat tomatoes after they’re sprayed with something that you have to wear a biohazard suit to apply?

If you’re doing any canning, make sure you use fruit with limited or no disease although the USDA claims eating the fungus will not really hurt you. Um, okay. That’s something I prefer not to find out. I’m not much of a tomato person to begin with so going without this year is no hardship for me personally.

However, blight spreads quickly and easily and can wipe out entire crops in no time. People live for their homemade sauce and that’s a real shame because many will not get to make it this year.

For more information, click here.

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