Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sounds like Late Blight can't cut the cold...

For the first time in many weeks, I finally made it outside and did some stuff around the backyard. Holy crap, did I have some weeds. The one good thing about monstrous weeds is they are fairly easy to pull. The backyard looks somewhat like what is it supposed to now. I never did get to thinning the water lettuce in the Lake but there's always this weekend coming up. Below is the one window box on the side of my garage that overlooks Lake Larson. Not too bad for a complete afterthought. It's the only container I have that doesn't look like complete and utter garbage from the rains and that's because it faces northeast and has a little bit of an overhang. So, It didn't get hammered with water. The other showpiece window box on the front of the house did horrible and unspeakable things this year. The only thing left standing in it is the coleus, begonias, and the carex. The fushcia rotted totally away.

I'm starting to scheme about the new beds around the deck I want to start and soon. I think the next several weeks will be me ripping sod to audio books on my ipod. Then I can start to move stuff from the front that desparately needs more sun. How dare that big oak grow and cast shade in my yard over the past 5 years.

If you grow tomatoes, live in New England, and don't live under a rock you know that we have been having quite a time with potato Late Blight. I know, I know...potato diseases striking tomatoes?? That doesn't sound right! But in fact, tomatoes and potatoes are very closely related...closely enough that they can get sick from the same diseases. On Gardenweb, I have read a lot of accounts of Late Blight around the Northeast so it is here and not some big marketing ploy by Ortho or MiracleGro. My tomatoes may be showing a touch of it but I'm not that stressed about how they look because it has been a momumentally awful gardening year. I'm just glad that I got some tomatoes this season. Thankfully it has dried out and things aren't as water stressed as they were the majority of the "summer" (and I do use the term summer, loosely.)

I was just sent this article re: Late Blight and how it won't survive our winter from a gardening colleague -


Late blight won’t overwinter in Northeast, experts say


Retailers can share some good news with customers: Late blight won’t overwinter in the area, except in infected potato tubers

Late blight (Phytophthora infestans) has caused big headaches for vegetable gardeners in New England . But retailers can share some good news with customers: Late blight won’t overwinter in the area, except in infected potato tubers according to UConn Home and Garden Education Center .

Here’s the latest from Floriculture Greenhouse Update:
The pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, survives in living tissue and will be killed by freezing temperatures. Therefore, your customers do not need to be concerned about their soil harboring this pathogen and creating a source of infection for next year. Most years, late blight is sporadic or absent in our area because it spreads from the south on wind currents and arrives late in the season, causing far less damage. This year, the pathogen was introduced on tomato transplants carrying the disease so it arrived early and then we had very favorable weather for disease development and spread. If your customers grow potatoes and they have been infected with late blight, it is important to advise that they destroy or bury infected tubers. They should be buried two feet deep. Crop rotation and a thorough fall clean-up of any diseased plants in garden beds are still important practices for reducing the incidence of other diseases.

Some of my readings suggest that the Big Box stores like Lowes, Home "Cheapo", Walmart, and etc. were responsible for having the fungus on tomato plants brought in from god knows where. Tomatoes started from seed or from mom and pop garden centers were safer bets. Hmmmm...sounds like a great reason for the "Buy Local" push that has been gaining popularity out there.

Speaking of Tomatoes, you may remember that I had bought one of those upside down tomato planters from Gardener Supply Catalog this past spring. The jury is out and yes, they do work!!! I put a patio tomato in there so it wouldn't be a huge plant and I'm impressed. The one thing I will say is make sure you have something sturdy enough to hold it...I almost broke the railing on deckzilla when I first hung it. Eric had to rig something on the roof of the house next to the desk.

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