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first the bad news: maybe late blight?

July 20, 2010

I came home last Friday after the latest jaunt in a series of fantastic trips over the past couple of weeks, welcomed by my honey and the wagging Pooker, along with threats of a thunderstorm. We thought we’d add another weave on the tomato stakes before they got wet, since the plants look to be thriving. This is what we found, and it’s a little heartbreaking. These Amish Pastes were bound for the trash bin, since I’m afraid it might be the dread late blight.
(click to see bigger)

Last I heard, it was seen in Maryland, PA, and Canada, but not in central NY. Have you seen it?

We have just five more plants–all different–and picked the first ripe non-cherry tonight. Since we had exactly zero last summer, it’s precious. The garden gives us so many rewards, but to be cheated out of perhaps the most revered one of all would take some of the shine off the rest.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 1:56 pm

    I feel your pain! Definitely looks like blight, though i’d always thought mine had “early blight.” either way, it’s bad news. i’ve had some success with picking off diseased leaves (diligently on a daily basis) and actually harvesting tomatoes. good luck ;)

    • July 23, 2010 10:35 am

      Thanks, Liz. This plant had something going on with the lower leaves, probably early blight, and I’m going to be more diligent about pulling those off when I see them. I don’t know if early blight can progress to this. We are watchful now!

  2. July 21, 2010 6:25 pm

    Say it isn’t so. I will hope that it will just be the one.

  3. July 23, 2010 8:55 am

    Aargh! That picture looks ominous, Lynn :(
    If you haven’t already disposed of them, the more fully developed tomatoes may still ripen if you pick them and let them sit on a windowsill or somewhere. I had some luck doing that last year.
    One of our neighbors found early blight (which is yellow) on her toms a few weeks back. She picked off and disposed of those leaves and sprinkled powdered milk at the base of the plant. The PM apparently works well against the bad bacteria. So far, so good she told us 2 days ago.
    Kylie did really well at the market in Clinton yesterday. Her best day yet! She’s off to Ilion in the rain today. It’s good to see the gardens getting wet. The plants are singing :)
    And I’m vacuuming :( Oh well, gotta do it some time.
    Give the pooch a pat for me :)

  4. Kylie permalink
    July 27, 2010 6:11 am

    Nooooooooo! Damn you, late blight! I’m so sorry Lynn. I know I would be devastated if I found it on my tomatoes. So sorry for your loss. I’ll bet you’re more determined than ever on those hydroponics, eh?

    • August 6, 2010 8:13 am

      Well, we have not outfitted the basement yet, but it might be coming. It might not be late blight but there’s some disease out there. The vines are full of green fruit. I just want some!!!

  5. July 30, 2010 8:55 pm

    Tomatoes exist just to break our hearts, I’m afraid. Mine were all eaten by the squirrels.

    • August 6, 2010 8:11 am

      Varmints! Sorry. The fruit or the plants? The chipmunks ate every last sunflower seed I planted–the easiest of all things to grow. I finally managed to get a few going in pots kept up off the ground.

  6. Julie permalink
    August 17, 2010 6:19 am

    Hello Lynn,

    I was out online looking for some help with the exact same situation and I came across your blog as a link from Horticulture mag (which I subscribe to). I live in northern Vermont and I’ve lost all my tomatoes (13 plants) to late blight, or what appears to be late blight, black splotches on the stems and early blight yellow and spotted leaves. No one I know has had a problem with late blight but me… what a stinker. I lost them all last year too, I wish I could find a variety that is resistant, or do something else to minimize the damage. I heard about spraying watered down milk on the plants, but I take many family vacation in the summer so I can’t be very consistent with preventive care.

    Got any ideas?


    • August 17, 2010 11:40 am

      I’m so sorry, Julie. I think Susan is right that tomatoes exist to break our hearts. Kerri (commenter above) has mentioned the milk treatment, but that’s the first I’ve heard. Since my plants continue to decline, I’m not a good source of prevention tips. Copper as a fungicide is the only organic method I’ve heard of, and it’s not exactly a neutral thing to put on something you’re going to eat. I’m about to harvest all the green tomatoes on the striped roma plant and then pull it out. It hardly has any leaves left, and fruits that do ripen do so with brown spots. No big harvest happening here.
      P.S. those Horticulture folk are great people.
      Best of luck to you and keep in touch.

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