Wednesday, November 4, 2009
How to Deal with the Late Tomato Blight in November
Just about everyone can agree, the back yard vegetable gardens did not do so well this past season. The late blight came early and ruined many tomato and potato crops. Infected plants from a large grower were shipped to many states and sold in big box stores.
The weather was also a major factor in the widespread outbreak. Cool, rainy conditions persisted through much of the summer, perfect conditions for a backyard disaster. While weather conditions are far beyond our control, there are some steps that can be taken to prevent a repeat performance.
If the tomatoes were blighted do not place them in the compost pile. The compost pile might be warm enough that the spores will live. It is best to pull the dead plants and burn them or bag them and throw away in the garbage after the bags have sat in the sun for a dew days. The late blight will not survive a northern winter in the soil.
The problem is with potatoes. If the potatoes were blighted, double check to see that they were all dug. Any volunteer sprouts that appear in the spring should be immediately dug and destroyed.
Another hiding spot for the blight spores can be in some weeds in and near the garden. It is best to yank them, burn or dspose.
Carefully select where you will purchase tomato plants next year or grow your own. Many farms and nurseries sell tomato plants in the spring and it is better to buy locally.
There are other blights which can harm tomatoes besides the always fatal late blight. Some of these blights can survive the winter. Prevent those problems by rotating crops every year.
There have been some reports that there will be tomatoes available next year which were bred to be resistant to the late blight. But the time honored favorite varieties will should be okay if the proper steps are taken now. More information on what to do now can be found here from Penn State.
November Thoughts for the Plan
Herbs can play an important role in vegetable gardens and even in flowers gardens. Herbs can attract many beneficial insects and are useful in cooking. Winter is a time to plan for next spring and what herbs to include.
Many herbs can be grown in containers like sage, parsley, thyme, oregano and even rosemary. One herb which probably won't work very well in a container is lovage; it can almost reach six feet tall and three feet wide. With an herb plant that large one or two will be enough.
Lovage can be used as a substitute for celery; it has a taste almost identical; the leaves even look similar to celery leaves and the seeds very similar to celery seeds. Even the roots of this herb can be used, generally in soups and stews.
Lovage, a perennial is winter hardy and isn't bothered by insects, rabbits or deer. While doing a little research on the herb, I discovered that it was a very popular herb in another century and it was often used for a cordial drink.
Another worthwhile plant is salsify. It isn't really an herb but a root crop which has a really mild oyster like flavor. Sometimes it is also called the oyster plant. This vegetable needs about 120 days to mature, but it can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked. It's a good veggie for anyone who wants to get a jump start on the season as soon as the snows melt.
Salsify, like lovage, are plants which were grown generations ago. They have sort of fallen by the wayside. Yet both are flavorful, healthy and easy to grow.
Learn and Keep Updated on H1N1
Click the ad for updates, click here about swine and the virus discovered in Minnesota and what it means.
Turkey season in Pennsylvania opened on Halloween. The bird pictured had an 11 ¼ inch beard and was taken at 9:50 am Halloween morning. Turkey are plentiful in the woods this year and the populations seem to be increasing every year. The wild birds taste a lot better than most of the factory farmed birds sold in supermarkets. The stuffing can be made from herbs grown in the garden; sage, lovage and parsley are good to use and the flavor will be nothing like the store boughten mix.
Thanksgiving is the 26th this year.
Seems everyone likes to mention something about Ben Franklin. Here's one of Ben's thoughts. Franklin was so impressed with the turkey that he suggested we use it as a national symbol instead of the eagle. Thomas Jefferson told Ben to go fly a kite on that one.
Wild turkeys can run fast - up too 25 miles per hour. They can fly even faster reaching a top speed of 55 miles per hour.
Today, November 4th is the Full Moon, called the Beaver Moon since in the early days it was a good time to set traps in the swamps. Beaver pelts were important for warm winter clothing. Many animals are more active during the Full Moon phases, including deer. Buck rubs are becoming more common in the woods indicating hunting hot spots. To read more, click here. Be careful driving during the full moon phases, deer can run pretty fast across the roads unexpectedly and cause a lot of damage, possible injuries or worse.
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Buy a book, click the ad and support your local bookstore. Maybe a good book on useful herbs in the backyard? Or a book on how to grow tomatoes? Or Vincent di Fondi's latest novel Blessed Abduction?
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For the Heck of it:
November 10, 1951 -This is amazing. On this day, the first coast to coast direct dialing system was available.
November 10, 1975 - The Edmund Fitzgerald sank.
November 11 is Veterans Day, an important and solemn day.
November 13 – Not so solemn and important but a fun day for some, Sadie Hawkins Day.
November 22 – John Kennedy, the youngest person ever elected US president was assassinated in Dallas, Texas in 1963.
Blogs Worth the Read
Vincent di Fondi
On Your Way to the Top
New York's Southern Tier
Urban Veggie Garden