Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Late Blight on my Tomatoes

I've been quiet here in the blogosphere. I've been avoiding posting about this.... maybe hoping that if I didn't write about it, somehow it wouldn't be true. But sadly, it is true.

My tomatoes, those 136 babies of mine, lovingly planted with fish heads and guts - yes. Gone. All gone.

For those of you that follow me on Facebook, you have seen the horrible photos. 

My tomatoes were attacked by Late Blight. This is an airborne disease that LOVES the drizzly and cool conditions we have had here on the Central Coast. In my 20+ years of growing tomatoes, I have never seen anything like this before. I noticed what I thought was a bit of leaf curl on a late Friday afternoon. The Lovey and I did some chores around the farm during the weekend, so the next time I was in the field was Tuesday. The 'leaf curl' had advanced to black areas on the stems and the leaves were just devastated.

I emailed Cynthia from Love Apple Farm. At her suggestion, I took a sample to the local Agriculture Extension in Salinas for diagnosis. Two days later the Late Blight was confirmed and I let Cynthia know. She was able to spread the word to a lot of people through her newsletter

I, however, had to take all my tomatoes out. ALL OF THEM. I had tried to prune away the bad parts of the plants daily, but this disease spreads FAST. The tomatoes went from having a little curl to completely decimated and thus removed in a week. Eight days. Gone. I cried, drank away my sorrows a bit, cried a little more, and then got to work. Because the disease is airborne, we had to cover the tomatoes with a tarp so that it doesn't spread to others with tomato plants (or eggplant or potatoes). This will NOT go into the compost. We will bury them to completely smother the spores.

So my field now looks like this:

These words from an Aerosmith song are ringing in my head: 
There's a hole in my soul that's been killing me forever
It's a place where a garden never grows

And for you that would like to take a listen, here it is:

1 comment:

alke said...

I am soooo soo sorry! I had to cut down all my tomatoes last year, I just got the reminder from folia - that it happend in this week. This blight is a terrible thing. I have half of the plants this year, all out of the rain - either in the shadow of the house or under a roof. I'm seeing the first signs, but at least I had three weeks of harvesting.... Hugs to you, that is a terrible loss....