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Are Your Tomatoes Victims of the Tomato Blight?

August 12, 2009
Late Blight Tomato, Courtesy OSU Extension

Late Blight Tomato, Courtesy OSU Extension

NY tomatoes are in trouble this year; an Irish-famine style blight has taken hold of the local tomato crop in the aftermath of the rains and cool summers.

Dan Barber of  Blue Hill Farms wrote a detailed article about how us amateur gardeners contribute to a broader ecosystem – including how we contribute to the spreading of diseases like late blight:

Here’s the unhappy twist: the explosion of home gardeners — the very people most conscious of buying local food and opting out of the conventional food chain — has paradoxically set the stage for the worst local tomato harvest in memory.

So what do we do?

For starters, if you’re planning a garden (and not growing from seed — the preferable, if less convenient, choice), then buy starter plants from a local grower or nursery. A tomato plant that travels 2,000 miles is no different from a tomato that has traveled 2,000 miles to your plate.

If you’re worried about your tomatoes, Cornell University extension has a fairly unwieldy but useful diagnostic tool, and see if you recognize these pictures of the blight that’s sweeping the Northeast:

Late Blight on a Tomato, Courtesy Cornell Extension

Late Blight on a Tomato, Courtesy Cornell Extension

Late Blight on a Tomato Leaf, Courtesy Cornell Extension

Late Blight on a Tomato Leaf, Courtesy Cornell Extension

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One Comment leave one →
  1. banderson35 permalink
    September 2, 2009 7:42 pm

    This blight has spread to other states, including Missouri (i.e. west of the Mississippi)

    Seedling nurseries are scrambling to regroup before next season’s crop.

    Great photos.IS Cornell leading the fight?

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