Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tomato Blight

"A highly contagious fungus that destroys tomato plants has quickly spread to nearly every state in the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic, and the weather over the next week may determine whether the outbreak abates or whether tomato crops are ruined, according to federal and state agriculture officials."

I'm using this picture from the New York Times, I hope crediting it's source is helping me avoid a copyright violation? The entire article is here.

My tomatoes turned ripe before blighting, and I originally thought it was blossom end rot, as I've never before experienced this blight situation. Not in the past 36 years of gradening.

Dang it has decimated the 200 plants I planted, at least 60% are now gone.

I planted all my plants from seed, but I'd ordered seed potatoes only to learn, "There are two strains of late blight — tomato and potato — but the illness can jump from one species to the other. It is highly contagious: A single open lesion on a plant can produce hundreds of thousands of infectious spores."

And from another newspaper, "Mountain tomato growers are on high alert after an outbreak of late blight occurred in the Northeast and Georgia."

This sucks.


Lee said...

Oh gosh Cindy I am so sorry for your tomato crop! This was a big deal up here too. It was spread from big box stores. I didn't get any there and didn't plant any taters (it is a community garden). It is scary though. What we are doing to ourselves with big box stores and hormones and hybrids and oh, i better shut up and stop ranting!

Cindy said...

Well from what I understand, the spores are spreading all over into uncontaminated areas and the overcast days aren't helping. I'm right shocked about it.

Samara said...

Something's got my tomatoes but not my tomatillos. My four tomatillo plants have produced a bumper crop and dang if the whole garden doesn't smell like salsa verde. Yum. I don't think we have this blight though- my tomatoes seem to be splitting from too much moisture.

Anonymous said...

yuck. Does this mean that you won't be able to grow tomatoes or potatoes any more? Will those spores be in the soil now?

Cindy said...

Samara, I'd lost my tomatillos quite awhile back as I planted them in a new bed that I couldn't drag a hose to, the drought killed them then.

Anonymous - Good question. I dunno. Gotta research it.

Yaacov said...

The good news is that late blight needs a live host to survive on. That's why tossing the infected tomato plants is the way to go instead of composting them.

Would you have a minute to add where your out break is to I'm working on mapping out exactly where late blight is spreading to.