I am a Pennsylvania gardener and have been trying to grow vegetables for about two years now. Last year I learned not to plant so much too closely together.
This year was more successful. I have planted tomatoes, peppers and snap peas which the grandchildren swipe with each visit. After last year the zucchinis are planted in another area of the yard.
I was really happy with how well my tomato plants have grown and the many tomatoes there are but not yet ripened.
I hate to complain about too much rain because water is so precious to our lives but we have had such a rainy spring and summer. Now I am hearing about a blight which is affecting everyone’s gardens due to the excessive rain and cooler temperatures. My sister-in-law lost a couple plants due to this blight. Our newspaper had an article about it yesterday explaining how many farms and home gardens are being affected..
After reading about it I went outside to check my plants and to find the brown fungus on the stems. It is only in the beginning stages but said to grow like wildfire. It will grow quickly and affect the leaves and finally the tomatoes.
This blight affects tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers. An interesting fact is it is similar to the blight that caused the potato famine in Ireland in the 1800s. Also a scary fact because this will surely affect vegetable prices this year. There are a lot of families growing their own gardens this year due to the economy. Now they have to deal with this problem.
If caught in the very earliest stages a fungicide may help. You should be able to purchase this at a garden center.
What makes the whole issue worse is that once the fungus is discovered you have to make sure soil is totally cleaned out of the plants. This includes plants, roots and fungus. Once removed it is suggested you allow the plants and roots to dry out in the sun a few days, place them in a trash bag and throw them out. You then must sanitize the soil by covering it with a clear plastic for a week. This allows the sun to bake the dirt although in our area I don’t think we’ve had a full week without rain.
It is also a good idea to plant tomatoes and potatoes in another area of the garden the following year.
Any ripened tomatoes are safe to eat. It is recommend that they be washed as with any vegetable you would grow or buy. Green tomatoes can be placed in a brown paper bag and ripened. I found that interesting. Green tomatoes can be quite tasty also.
I have gone to the garden, trimmed off any areas of the plants which had signs of the fungus. I then sprayed them well with a fungicide but of course, we had a downpour last night. I like the challenge.
Another sad story for today’s economy but hopefully one that can help anyone trying to grow a garden. For me, growing a garden has certainly been educational in many ways.