Late Blight

Hopefully this isn’t going to be a repeat of the late blight disaster of 2009. If you can’t remember what the symptoms of late blight look like, please go to the Cornell website for tomato/potato diseases or just google late blight.

If you suspect any of your plants of having this fungus you can ask either Kathy, William, or Susan to have a look. Copper based fungicides are supposed to work to keep it at bay.

Sorry for the nasty news…. keep an eye on your plants.


Late Blight in Garden

Our tomato plants have been attacked by blight. It is very bad news. William has removed all but three of his tomatoes (those remaining will be gone soon). He also cut back his potatoes to the ground. We only have a week to really deal with the issue.

If you have any qualms about removing your plants, you need to know that this could ruin the soil at the community gardens for years. William is going to speak to each gardener that he sees and tell them the news, and what to look for. It is important to be ruthless. Removing individual leaves does nothing to stop the mold from spreading. Every garden William has looked at has blight already. The biggest problem is going to be with gardeners who are away.

We need to have all of the diseased plants out by Wednesday. If you don’t remove them, the garden committee will…it’s terrible but it has to be done.

Late Blight Strikes Tomato and Potato Growers Statewide

Press release, July 30, 2009

by Dr. Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension

It’s been an exceptionally rainy and cool summer and one of the consequences is that Late Blight disease has been reported in every corner of Vermont and across the Northeast. With these weather conditions Late Blight rapidly kills the foliage of tomato and potato plants. Many hundreds of farmers and gardeners have already been stricken, and it is likely that the situation will get worse unless the weather turns hot and dry.

Late Blight is caused by a fungus, Phytophthora infestans, and it’s the same disease that led to the Irish potato famine almost 150 years ago. The disease is not directly harmful to people as it only infects potatoes, tomatoes, and some related weeds.

The good news is that the disease does not persist in the soil from year to year, so with proper action, farmers and gardeners should be able to avoid this problem next year. In addition, infected potato crops may still yield edible tubers if the diseased foliage is destroyed soon after infection is observed.

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