Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blessing and the Blight

A few photos and notes strickly about the farm this week!

Most of the tomato plants are looking so good, so tall and so full of flowers. However, one of them is starting to take on a few characteristics of a fungal disease called Tomato Blight. This disease affects the lower leaves, giving them a yellow color dotted with black spots. If you start to see this on your plants, try to catch it while it is just beginning. You can spray the plants with an organic fungicide if you catch it quick, and that will hopefully end the spread of it to your other tomato (or potato plants). Otherwise you need to tear out the infected plants, put them into plastic bags and throw them away. The preferred method of riding your farm from blight is to burn the plants, but farming in the city doesn't allow us to do this.

Blight can be a scary disease for farmers. It has the ability to wipe out entire fields of crops within hours, leaving the farmer without any product. Harvest Moon Farms experienced a small amount of blight this past week, but caught it with the organic fungicide spray, thankfully. Some farmers in New York haven't been so lucky. Whole farms worth of tomatoes have been wiped out by it recently, driving the price of tomatoes way up and leaving some farmers with nothing for the season. The blight that is taking out tomatoes in New York is the same type that caused the Irish Potato Famine, and this strain can transfer from tomato to potato as well. This article from the New York Times goes into more detail, it leaves me heartbroken:

On the upside, we have a surprise pumpkin patch growing along the side of our parking lot, which I am super excited about! It planted itself out of compost of last years Halloween pumpkins and Harvest Festival cornstalk decorations. We have some healthy corn surrounded by burgeoning pumpkin blossoms, all looking very healthy. It has inspired us to plant more squash there and we are hoping it trails along the parking lot, leaving us this years supply of pumpkins for our carving contest!

Lastly, I love in the morning when the cantaloupe leaves are wearing a necklace of dew drops. For those of you who don't wake up with the sun, here is a photo of one of our Charentais Cantaloupe plants doing just that. Enjoy.

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