Gretta's late blight advice
At the Seed Swap last weekend, Gretta (a local farmer, Shared Harvest CSA) talked with us about Late Blight. Her advice is to compost or dig in the tomatoes but make sure you remove all potatoes. The potatoes are the potential for spreading spores next year. Late Blight can overwinter in live plants (i.e. the potato tubers).
- DON'T let ANY undug potatoes sprout next year.
- Plant low crops in your old potato bed, so you can see and remove any sprouts.
- Try to dig ALL your potatoes this fall. It can be very hard to find them all. Have a potato digging party.
Less important is what you do with the tomato debris. These will not provide a live plant source for overwintering spores. Options:
- Dig in the tomato debris, layer on manure or compost, and plant cover crop. Turn this under in the spring.
- Compost the tomato debris and use it next year.
- OK to leave the plants standing in place and clean up next spring, but you should be layering on compost/manure and planting cover crops, so it makes makes more sense to clean it now.
And one more thing: in an area that was heavily infected by Late Blight (like my community plot), it doesn't make sense to plant tomatoes or potatoes again next year. Try to plant somewhere else.
Here are sources for this advice:
UMASS extension Late Blight Management for Fall
Johnny's Late Blight information
Labels: late blight