Gardening news doesn’t usually rise to the urgency of real breaking news, but the appearance of late blight in the region is just that serious for the many growers and gardeners who rely on their tomato and potato crops.
This morning, Amy Ivy gave us an update on late blight’s progress north from Long Island to Syracuse and Dutchess County. A few minutes ago, she copied me into an e-mail with the bad news that the disease is now in Clinton County, and is probably well-dispersed across the region.
I’m sorry to say our first case of late blight in Clinton County was just confirmed by the lab at Cornell.
It was on tomatoes in a small home garden just north of Plattsburgh.
It was spreading slowly through the planting, probably due to the hot, dry weather.
So the hot, dry weather probably slowed it down. It’s not pretty, literally, and late blight can wipe out your tomato patch in days. A reminder from Amy: if you suspect late blight, bag the plants and dispose of them (don’t compost!), saving a sample of leaves and stem to bring to the local extension office for I.D. and testing. They’re interested in containing the spread as much as possible, but also in figuring which of the many strains of late blight we have here.
See our related story for more details on the importance of copper as a preventive, and an alternative for home gardeners.