Archive for April 16th, 2010

Late Blight: A Community Disease

Friday, April 16th, 2010

blighty2.jpgAs I work my way through tomatoes canned two years ago, I worry about being able to replenish them this coming season. Last summer’s attack of Late Blight, an air-borne fungal disease, destroyed tomato and potato crops throughout New England. One important step for home gardeners to take this year is to buy locally-grown tomato starts. This avoids the chance of importing infected plants from growers in southern states where Late Blight can overwinter. 

To further help you protect yourself as well as our surrounding community of growers, the UNH Cooperative Extension maintains a Late Blight and Information & Update page. It includes an online slide show, Late Blight 2010: Prevention, Identification & Management, and a list of prevention techniques:

 

Late Blight: A Community Disease

Ensure your garden is not a source of disease!

Late blight persists in potato tubers

• Search and destroy volunteer potato plants sprouting in the garden or compost pile (bag and place in the garbage).

• Buy new potato seed from a source that can provide assurance they are disease free.

• Do not plant potatoes left-over from last year’s infected crop or potatoes purchased from a grocery store.

• Buy tomato transplants from a locally grown source that can provide assurance they are disease free.

• Minimize leaf wetness by staking tomatoes, using good spacing and practicing good weed management.

• If late blight occurs in your garden, remove affected tissue and promptly report to extension in your state.

In the News: Rain, Early Heat Challenge Farmers

Friday, April 16th, 2010

As you probably noticed, this spring hasn’t really been typical. We’ve had flooding, again, and then there where those days of 80 degree weather. Although the warm spell may have been nice for those of us who were ready to get out of the house, those who are trying to handle the weather so they can farm have a different outlook.

Earlier this week Seacoast Online ran an article by Dave Choate titled “Rain, Early Heat Challenge Local Farmers.” And that’s just what this spring’s weather has been doing.

“Farming and producing food, it’s not just simply you stick something in the ground, it grows and then you harvest it,” [New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner Lorraine Merrill] said. “It’s a lot of complex knowledge and decisions and skills.”

To read the entire article, click here.