blight « Tag

Posted on 08 October 2011 by

How to Prevent Tomato Blight the Organic Way

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I love heirloom tomatoes but with this love comes a price.

Many heirloom tomatoes are susceptible to many plant diseases.

These plants were bred for their fruit and not their resistance.

As time went on and science continued to develop, tomatoes were bred for such characteristics as disease resistance, large fruit, and storage ability.

The beauty and taste of the heirloom began to fall away. Today, many gardeners plant heirloom tomatoes not only for their taste but also as a way of keeping our gardening past alive.

Nowadays there is a resurgence of gardening the old way or what I like to call organically. This type of farming consists of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 18 January 2010 by

Preventing Late Blight

tomato-blightBy Vanessa Richins

Last year was a sad year in the tomato world, wasn’t it?

It felt like every other word I read on gardening sites mentioned “blight.”

Rain, an influx of new gardeners (which meant a larger chance for spreading), infected plants sold at retail chains and other conditions meant many tomato plants fell prey to late blight.

Next year can be better, though, if we all take steps to manage the disease.

The fungus needs a host that is living, so it will die on tomato plants left over the winter. It’s best to clean them all out, though, to help prevent any of the other diseases.

When you’re ready to plant again in the spring, I would suggest Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 28 August 2009 by

Stop the Tomato Slander!

Tomato CasualBy Kira Hamman

Let’s get this cleared up right now: the late blight is not the fault of the tomatoes, heirloom or hybrid.

Nor is it the fault of the home gardeners who are trying to distance themselves, even just a little, from the corporate food grid.

It’s not the fault of potatoes, or the recession, or Michelle Obama.

And it’s only kind of the fault of the big box plant brokers who sold the infected plants.

No, the bulk of the blame for the epidemic of late blight this growing season belongs squarely where the blame for epidemics nearly always belongs: Mama Nature. We had a cool, wet spring and early summer, and the blight just loved it. Hey, it happens.

It’s all part of a little process Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 26 August 2009 by

Some Partly Blame Home Gardeners, Heirlooms for Late Blight Explosion


angry-tomatoBy Vanessa Richins

As many of you know, this year has been a struggle for tomato gardeners in the Northeast and beyond.

After unusually long bouts of cool weather, rain and humidity, many tomato plants have fallen prey to the same disease that caused the great Irish potato famines – late blight.

In an Op-Ed in the New York Times, Dan Barber explains some of the conditions that made it a perfect situation for late blight to ravage tomato plants. He includes heirloom tomatoes and the explosion of interest in home gardening as a large part of the problem.

I can agree somewhat with what he is saying. As far as home gardeners go, he explains that the problems began when some of the large chain stores sold infected plants. This caused the plants to be grown in many home yards, which usually aren’t as closely watched for diseases as farms may be.

There have also been Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 22 August 2009 by

Reader Questions: Tomato Blight

late-blightBy Vanessa Richins

This season, we have a lot of readers concerned about the late blight that has spread throughout the Northeastern United States. Here’s 2 reader questions about the tomatoes themselves.


“Good morning, I had many of my tomato plants infected with the fungus.Some of the cherry tomato plants that were next to the infected ones appear normal. The tomatoes are red and without white spots. Is it safe to eat these tomatoes? Thank you for your help and time. Have a nice day. P.s. Is this fungus harmful to humans if ingested?”


“Can tomatoes be eaten from plants that show blight–I pulled out all my plants but some tomatoes are still green and sitting in the sun.I would like to know if they’re safe to eat if they turn red.”

Hi! The virus itself is not harmful to humans, so they are safe to eat. It depends on if they start showing signs of blight. So far it sounds like Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 20 July 2009 by

Irish Potato Famine Disease Hits Tomatoes in Northeastern States

blightBy Vanessa Richins

In 1845, Ireland was hit with late blight (caused by Phytophthora infestans), which killed much of the potato crops.

Since this was their main crop, a famine grew in the country.

It lasted for the next 6 years.

In the end, it is believed that about 1.5 million people died from starvation and 1 million people went to other countries.

Since tomatoes are in the same family (Solanaceae) as potatoes. it can also be affected by late blight.

2009 thus far has been one of the rainiest years in a while. The wet, cool conditions are perfect for the development of a fungus like Phytophthora infestans. This year

In the Northeast (from Ohio to Maine), reports have come in that plants Read the rest of this entry »


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