late blight again - the topic that just won't go away
As I clean up for next year, the Late Blight topic is coming up again. To bag and dispose or to compost?
There are two different camps out there:
Gardener's Corner (Interesting last comment here where they recommend leaving the tomato plants to overwinter in the field as is so they will self-sow.)
Maryland Cooperative Extension
Cornell University Extension
I hate the idea of bagging and disposing, but I am in this camp. It is impossible to predict what our winter weather will be and harder yet to predict the conditions in the compost pile. So best to do what we can to avoid worse blight worse next year.
It seems to me reasons to compost are:
- you garden in a heavily infected community garden where many gardens will not be cleared and hence there is little chance of reducing the number of spores AND you have a reason not to try improve the situation anyway
- you got minimal Late Blight very late (September) and live in a cold area and feel the risks are low compered with the effort to dispose
- you plan to just forgo tomatoes and potatoes for a few years anyway
- you plan to spray all sorts of chemicals next year
- you don't care about potential spread from your garden to a nearby Organic Farmer
Regarding the last point, I just read this story about Old Path Farm, Utica NY (and there are lots of stories like this around). Late blight is an extremely destructive disease.
I am looking forward to our Seed Swap Day this Saturday, when Gretta Anderson, a local farmer from Shared Harvest CSA, will come and speak. Her topic will be "Late Blight: Sharing the collective experience of local organic growers this summer".
And here is a question left today on an earlier post on this blog:
I thought that the problem with the blight this year was that it came so early. Don't NE gardens usually get blight every year, but much later in the season (like, now?) If that's true, then there is no reason to worry about the disposal of the blighted plants at this point. The whole reason for burying them earlier was so that the blight couldn't affect your neighbor's (or your other) plants at their peak moment of the season. I am not an expert, that's just what I thought was the case from everything I read. Is that right? September 28, 2009 2:29 PM
I answered: I don't know. I thought the reason for disposal reason was to reduce the spores around next year. I am going to start a new post on this topic. Thanks for the question. September 28, 2009 3:22 PM
Please leave your opinion. Hopefully this topic will be gone next year and we won't have to belabor it ad infinitum.
Labels: late blight