[NAFEX] tomato blight

Kieran &/or Donna holycow at frontiernet.net
Wed Jul 29 23:32:47 EDT 2009

Mt. Pinatubo went off in 1992 and here in Tennessee we had a dull cloudy 
drizzly summer.  It didn't rain all that much really, but the sun never came 
out so things never dried off.  Hoeing the garden meant simply moving the 
weeds.  We always have early blight here, it's a fact of life for most 
gardeners.  But in '92 there was late blight here, and it blighted the later 
blossoms.  People who planted their tomatoes late had no fruit at all.  All 
our plants were from seed, grown on a field that we had plowed for the first 
time in years.  The blight was everywhere that year.  If it came to most 
gardens on nursery plants, the conditions for blight to grow on the plants 
had to be there in the nursery.  In the south, it tends to be too hot and 
dry for late blight to grow except for late fall as rain and dropping temps 
are stressing the plants to death anyway.
    I had planted 50 volunteers of a rather so-so "2-bite" cherry type that 
proved to be quite blight resistant for both me and someone I'd given seeds 
to.  They cropped till frost while all other varieties wimped out early. 
I'm growing that variety ("Yellow Star") again for the first time in several 
years, planted them late so they aren't cropping yet.  We too are having a 
wet year, a great relief after 2 severe drought years alternating with 
barely adequate years.  If late blight hits here and wipes out my other 
plants early, I have no doubt I'll have late tomatoes from the Yellow Star 
plants.  Hopefully I'll have seeds to share if some of you have annual 
trouble with late blight.  It's nothing to jump up and down about, not bad 
but not great.  On the other hand, I compared production one year to a 
favorite variety, "Pink Ping Pong" which is the same size.  The yellow stars 
made 4X the crop per plant as the ping pongs.  Donna 

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