This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

planning early for late blight

We had such a bad time with late blight at our community garden last year.  This year we will be distributing late blight resistant tomatoes to any of our gardeners who want to give them a try.  We have contracted to have 500 seedlings grown for us.  They will be grown locally by Sandra at Underwood Greenhouses, a old greenhouse (circa 1905) in Belmont.

Sandra has purchased all of the seeds and is planning to begin planting in March (I think).  I am looking forward to photographing the process.  I can't wait to see all those little tomato plants growing.

Here is our late blight resistant variety list:
Defiant PhR (Johnny's Seed)
Mountain Magic (Johnny's Seed)
Plum Regal (Johnny's Seed)
Legend (Reimer Seeds)
Old Brooks (Reimer Seeds)
Sun Gold (Johnny's Seed)

I tried to find a source for Ferline (Thompson and Morgan) that will ship to the US, but haven't been able to.

Sandra will also grow some heirloom tomatoes for us.  The Brandywine variety is one she and her father have saved for 50 years.  These varieties will not be resistant to late blight.  For them, I am thinking of trying a plastic.tunnel.  I suppose it would need to be about 5 feet tall.  I am just beginning to look into where I would buy one of these. A tunnel would keep moisture off of the plant's leaves.

Here is the list of heirlooms being grown for us:
Brandywine (saved seeds)
Cherokee Purple (Johnny's)
Gold Medal (Reimer)
Cosmonaut Volkov (Territorial)
San Marzano Gigante (Territorial)
Prudens Purple (Johnny's)
Mortgage Lifter (Reimer)
Tiffen Mennonite (Reimer)
Purple Calabash (Territorial)
Moskvich (Johnny's)

I have also been reading about grafted tomatoes (article on grafted tomatoes at almanac.com).  It seems if you graft a nice delicate heirloom onto a tough resistant root stock, the heirloom will take on some characteristics of the root stock.  You still get heirloom tomatoes but the plant is more vigorous and has more disease resistance. Territorial is selling some grafted Brandywines.  I might try this too, just to compare. And, if I get time, I'd like to look into what is involved in grafting my own plants.
I am sure Sandra will be growing extra plants, so these varieties should be available for other gardeners too. I think you can contact her through her website, Underwood Greenhouses,, if you ant to make sure.

13 Comments:

Blogger Kat said...

I was looking for tomatoe covers ideas...if you search images for that on google you will see some intersting ideas ppl have come up with for home gardens. I grow a couple large plants near a deck. I have seen some triangular/ teepee like structures. I was gowing to make some kind of plastic like awning off the deck. Otherwise I might resort to umbrellas on tall poles!!

January 30, 2013 9:05 PM

 
Blogger Linda said...

As it turns out, I actually did a bit of research just a couple of days ago regarding how to get seeds from the UK to the US. It is possible to get a permit to import small quantities of seeds (where "small" is up to 50 packets of up to 50 seeds each) as many times as you want for 3 years. The permit is free, but you need to go to a USDA office in person, with a picture ID, to get yourself approved to apply for one. There are multiple USDA offices in Massachusetts.

That being said, neither Thompson & Morgan nor Nicky's Nursery will ship to the U.S., though Nicky's will ship to Canada. If you know someone in the UK or Canada who can receive the seeds and then mail them to you, it can be done.

January 30, 2013 10:39 PM

 
Anonymous Marian (LondonUK) said...

Hi Kathy, we were very badly hit with potato blight last year. Not so bad with Tomato, so the allotment society has bought some Bordeaux Mix for our gardeners. You mix with water and spray lightly on to the foliage to control the infection of the plants. I assume you can get this in the US? There is little that the regular gardener can purchase to control this it seems as the chemicals (quite rightly so) are heavily regulated.
I have also registered with "Blightwatch UK", you enter your post code and they send you an email bulletin when the blight is spotted in your area.
Marian (London UK)

February 01, 2013 5:30 AM

 
Blogger kathy said...

I actually found a US site for Thompson and Morgan. So Ferline is in the mail on its way to me.

Marian, that's great. I am talking with our Gardeners about providing pest controls for all to use. The sprays recommended here are called Copper fungicide (the label says this is made the same a Bordeaux Mix, which is copper and lime) and a newer one is Oxidate, active ingredient is hydrogen dioxide, which Johnny's recommends alternating with copper spray. I have heard complaints that the oxidate will kill beneficials on leaf surfaces, but on the good side alternating would lower copper accumulation in soil.

I have found the US site where we can be emailed with late blight near us: http://www.usablight.org/alerts I'll sign up today! I see from the map that the first late blight of the season have already been found in Florida. A region centered on Naples! Hmm. That's where I was a couple weeks ago.


February 03, 2013 12:42 PM

 
Blogger Linda said...

I suppose I should have mentioned the existence of the U.S. Thompson & Morgan site! Unfortunately, the thing I was looking for wasn't available via the U.S. or Canadian sites, so it will be trickier to get. I'm glad you were able to find yours, though!

February 03, 2013 1:28 PM

 
Anonymous Marian(LondonUK) said...

Hi Kathy, what a shame about the blight in Naples, FL. When we were over there the year before last (I like to know what is going on in the news locally when I travel) the commercial tomato growers just outside of Naples were in despair about blight then. Plus as per commerical growers here, the large chain supermarkets squeeze them so tight on price, a crop failing must be heartbreaking for them.
Thanks for the info on the Oxidate etc., I will see if similar is available here in Blighty! How terrible, excuse the pun!!!
Marian (LondonUK_

February 03, 2013 3:11 PM

 
Anonymous Marian(LondonUK) said...

I meant to add thanks for the list of blight resistant tomatoes, I had a couple, but the extensive list is very useful. I have to try and find the "Cosmonaut Volkov" tomato seed here in the UK, fantastic name. As I become older and more whacky I seem to be attracted toward seed that have amusing people names, e.g. Carrot Nigel. I find myself watering saying "Come on Nigel" thinking my veg affection will make them produce a great crop.
Marian (LondonUK)

February 03, 2013 3:54 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

Yes! I have a rose called Mr Lincoln. And in the vegetable garden I can talk to Escarole Natacha, Victoria Butterhead (a lettuce) and Sugar Ann peas. I am looking forward to growing the Cosmonaut.

February 03, 2013 4:14 PM

 
OpenID henbogle.com said...

I've toyed with the idea of grafting tomatoes, but haven't tried it yet. Johnny's has a good instructional video on tomato grafting. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/MediaPlayer.aspx?VideoID=72&source=JSSVideos

It sounds like it would really help, but a big time commitment to make the grafts.

February 03, 2013 8:13 PM

 
Blogger kb said...

I'm down in CT and had no blight last year. I grew tomatoes from Hudson Valley Seed Library including Cosmonaut Volkov that you list. The others I grew were Rutgers and New York. All had no blight problems. Once the plants had first flower I did pull off all suckers almost to the first flowering fork, a good 12-18" off the ground which may have helped keep the plants dry. Other than that I did nothing, they even grew unattended for 6wks in July and August while I was away.

February 05, 2013 11:16 AM

 
Blogger kb said...

I'm down in CT and had no blight last year. I grew tomatoes from Hudson Valley Seed Library including Cosmonaut Volkov that you list. The others I grew were Rutgers and New York. All had no blight problems. Once the plants had first flower I did pull off all suckers almost to the first flowering fork, a good 12-18" off the ground which may have helped keep the plants dry. Other than that I did nothing, they even grew unattended for 6wks in July and August while I was away.

February 05, 2013 11:17 AM

 
Blogger David Velten said...

One thing to remember about grafted tomatoes: the root stock confers resistance to soil-borne diseases like verticilium and fusarium wilt, but not to air-borne diseases like the blights. You can find grafted scions like Legend that have blight resistance but most of them are determinate varieties.

February 09, 2013 5:38 PM

 
Blogger Pam said...

Good article in USA Today about grafted tomatoes and benefits - http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/09/grafted-tomatoes-become-super-producers/1903799/

February 09, 2013 11:55 PM

 

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