Friday, September 2, 2011


Last Saturday, I went out to putter about in the garden. I haven't been able to spend the kind of time out there that makes it look tended, and I was finally able to give a couple of hours to all those little tasks that do not HAVE to be done, but the garden is happier for it. I started at the beans, which just do not get eaten at our house. Phaedra was picking cucumbers, and said, "That tomato has blight."

I cannot remember if I wrote about blight last year, but it's a big deal. You pick tomatoes one day from healthy plant, and the next day they look like they have black mold on their stems and the fruit is rotting on the vine. To top it off, it effects potatoes, too. (Remember that Irish potato famine?)

I sent Phaedra in to get Jason, and we started pulling all the tomatoes out of the garden and putting them in the compost. We picked the fruit that was not too green and not spotty. We checked the potatoes and they looked fine. And then it was time for our dinner company to arrive.

The next day, a hurricane blew through our neck of the woods. It was the sort of rain that kept a body inside, so I did nothing about the potatoes.

Monday dawned clear and cool and clean. I spent the day dreading the task of digging potatoes. I placed calls to a couple of people who might be able to tell me whether there was any point. By late afternoon, I called the girls and we began digging potatoes.

It turned out to be really great. We cleared the potato patch and put maybe 100 pounds of potatoes in the basement. The potatoes all looked fine, but it was better to be safe, because the blight will rot the potatoes in the ground if there is a living plant still above the ground.

Today, I discovered blight in the greenhouse. The good news is that we are done with tomatoes. We have 80 quarts put up for winter. We gave one friend 15 pounds the other day, and another friend came to do the final picking today. She took home maybe 40 pounds of tomatoes that all looked pretty good. There was only a plant or two showing the first marks of blight, and all the fruit still looked good. Her plan was to process tomatoes today, so that should work.

I just have to clear put the greenhouse and find out what to do about the blight in there next year. I know it can stay in the soil. I'll have all winter to ponder that. It's time to turn our attention to tidying things and mulching to carry them through winter. Also, we have no applesauce in the larder. The list keeps going, but at least we know what's on it this year.

1 comment:

  1. According to the dirt doctor blight is caused by poor soil. Even compost and mulch as good as they are do not fix this because more microbes are not as good as good microbes. So he recommends fertilizer (poop) and corn and alfalfa be mixed in with your compost and then add milk to whatever you spray on your plants for insect control.

    He also recommends treating soil with fish meal as general way to improve soil but not specifically for blight.