June 17, 2010

Tomato plant
Photo by Jessica Walliser
I’m grudgingly using organic sprays this year to protect my tomatoes from tomato blight.

Rain, rain, rain.  We are already 4 inches over the average for the month of June, and it’s barely halfway over. This does not bode well for the tomato blight again this year. Could the Northeast end up with “the perfect storm” again this year? 

So many gardeners suffered last year with the complete loss of their tomato crop—including me. They say it was a combination of the excessively wet weather and the introduction of infected plants sold at a big box chain. Then it spread like wildfire on the wind; and the spores are still out there, likely having overwintered on potato tubers. I can handle it for one year, but, damn, if it happens again this year, there are going to be a lot of depressed gardeners walking around with their heads hung low, including me.

I have never, ever sprayed my tomatoes with anything. I avoided even organic fungicides last year, but I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet this year and start a preventative program. They say that’s the only way to fight this blight beast: Nip it in the bud before it even arrives. 

So I’m going to do it. I’m going to spray something in my vegetable garden for the first time in nearly 20 years. And it hurts. I don’t want to do it—even with organic stuff.  I don’t like to be tied to a spray program, I don’t like to introduce any “foreign” substances to what I grow, and I don’t like knowing that I have to do it religiously or else I loose them all. 

But, I do like tomatoes. A lot. So I’m gonna do it. I’m not gonna like it, but I’m gonna do it (sigh).

A good friend has already started using Serenade on her maters. Before I spoke with her I was going to use a copper-based product. But after some research, I’m going to follow her lead and avoid copper.  We have a nice little koi pond here and the copper isn’t good for aquatic life, so I’m nixing it from the plan. I guess I’m going to start Serenading my tomatoes tomorrow.  “You’re the one that I want, one that I want, ooo, ooo, ooo, honey…”

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