Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Ugly (or the 'less beautiful' depending on your mood...)

So I mentioned previously that we've been having some issue with some of the plants in the garden. This is expected and normal, but also frustrating, maddening... For example, look at these beautiful tomatoes! These were some of the very first big ripe tomatoes I pulled off our plants.

Flip them over... and not so pretty:

I had pulled many green tomatoes out of the garden with a similar issue prior to taking these pictures. And kept searching for other signs of late blight. There are many fungal diseases that can effect tomato plants, but late blight is the biggest and baddest of them all. Since I have Harry Potter on the mind, let's call it the 'Voldemort of tomato diseases.'

Two years ago when the summer was wet and cool and almost everybody had late blight in their tomato patches, my husband David and I pulled all but one of our dozen or so tomato plants up out of the garden. They were all infected and produced only blighted, nasty tasting fruits. So, when I first saw this happening to the tomatoes at First Church, I took a bite out of the better looking side of the tomato and waited to cringe. It tasted fine. Maybe even yummy!

Turns out this was just "blossom end rot" caused by lack of calcium (which can in turn be caused by over, under, or inconsistent watering). Thankfully, with some help from a crew of dedicated waterers (thank you!) and a change to cooler wetter weather, this problem seems to have all but disappeared.

That said, we've still lost some plants. You'll notice some empty cages at the front of the big bed and a plant soon to disappear from the small raised bed.

All the yellow pear plants seem to have been infected with 'Fusarium wilt' very early on. I noticed that these plants had branches that were particularly wilted and no amount of watering would help them. The wilting started at the bottom of a side of the plant moved upwards and then gradually overtook the whole thing. Yuck!

If you are interested in learning about tomato's many afflictions. I found that this website was particularly informative.

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