Late Tomato Blight. It’s an evil, evil thing.
Last week I was on vacation in the Adirondacks again with the family. Through a lucky set of circumstances we were able to go twice this summer. That’s right, the majority of last weeks posts (well the writing, I did the projects and took the pictures ahead of time) was done from tiny little Inlet NY in the Adirondack mountains, sitting in the the ONLY spot in the town that had wifi–the Inlet Public Library (there was no cell service either except for about a 2 ft square spot on the beach. I’m not exaggerating) . Actually since the library closed at 3, I only got to sit inside twice, the rest of the time I (along with lots of other folks) were on the benches that were helpfully set up outside. It wasn’t perfect, but at least it was there, and I was happy to throw a few bucks in the “wifi donation jar”.
But back to the tomatoes. When I left I had gorgeous, lush plants.
(note: this picture is actually from a few weeks before-but it gives you an idea of how healthy and lush they were)
I came home to this.
I was not happy. Everyone steered clear of me for several hours.
Late Blight is a fungal infection that attacks potatoes and tomatoes. Yes, it’s the same Irish potato blight that you read about in school that was responsible for the migration of so many Irish to America (and deaths of millions more). This fungus has been particularly terrible in the northeast for the last several years–I haven’t gotten a decent tomato crop since I started gardening in 2005. This year I tried a regime of Green Cure and Copper Fungicide–both considered organic products–but I wasn’t as regular as I should have been about spraying them. . . and of course the week I was gone they didn’t get sprayed at all.
The problem with Late Blight is that you can’t CURE it. And it’s FAST. You can try to prevent it, and if you catch it when it starts you might be able to sort of knock it back and keep the plant alive (mostly by using the types of products I mentioned). My problem was there was no sign of it when I left, and when I returned it was too late.
So I’ve pulled up a couple of the plants that were the absolute worst (pictured above), yanked all the tomatoes off and put all the plant material in trash bags to go to the curb (you shouldn’t compost it because you don’t want to reinfect the rest of your soil). I still have many more plants to deal with, but I’m hoping to ripen a few more tomatoes on those before I have to yank them.
What did that leave me with? A bunch of tomatoes that were red or had a blush of red which were set aside to ripen, and then green tomatoes. Lots and lots of green tomatoes. As in way more then you see in this picture.
I hate to waste food, so I’ve been processing green tomatoes like a mad woman for the last few days. Pickles. Salsas. Chutneys. I kid you not when I say that I’ve been hard at work in various stages of washing, sorting, preparing, cooking and canning from about 8am-9pm for the last several days. I did take time out for church, a quick visit with my mom, and I did have to spend the afternoon yesterday doing some back to school shopping–but then I came back to finish up some pickles. As for the red tomatoes, they are safe to eat–the blight doesn’t do a thing to humans. But I did read one source that said that blight can change the PH of the tomatoes, so to be on the safe side we are either eating tomatoes fresh or I’m slicing and dehydrating them.
If you are wondering if I will be posting recipes, yes, I will eventually. When I get a few minutes..
Other then last night when hubs cooked/grilled, we’ve been eating ramen and sandwiches and such because I’m in the middle of canning and can’t stop to cook. Yes, I’ll be getting back to meal planning next week.
Today I’ve got to actually attack the post vacation laundry. The kids have been cycling it through the washer and dryer/line but there has been no folding. I’m buried under mountains of clean and rather wrinkled laundry. I’ve got to pay bills, vacuum, and maybe get to write some posts (this practically doesn’t count).
In the next day or two I’ve got a cool Labor Day ish project I need to do, photograph and write about. I’ve got cucumbers and beans and more tomoates in the garden ready to be harvested. I’ve got permission to pick some of the millions of crab apples at my church that should be made into crabapple butter, spiced crab apples and more.
There is just lots of “stuff” going on. So if you don’t see me writing, I’m busy DOING. And if you miss hearing about it, well, pop on over to the Frugal Upstate Facebook Page--I usually try to put up a few photos a day there and answer folks comments and questions.