Wednesday, August 12, 2009


HOW MANY places a day can go. First Shadow dies and now...

Late blight has come to Annabessacook Farm. I took one day off from farming -- just one fucking day -- and that's all it took for blight to ravage my tomatoes, reducing a jungle of lush, green foliage to a leper colony. Purple lesions that look like Kaposi sarcoma marked the stems and fruit and leaves of my crop.

I thought I was lucky because I grew my tomatoes from seed instead of from plants purchased at one of the huge outlets tagged for selling infected plants to thousands of gardeners across the northeast.


The incessant June-July rain, the secession of cloudy days, the tropical-like humidity, the recent middle-of-the-night thunder showers, and all those infected plants growing in neighboring gardens releasing a million spores of the pathogen into the atmosphere and it was only a matter of when, not if.

The cause of the Irish potato famine in the late 1840s, late blight come early is vicious. I was skeptical it could wipe out an entire commercial crop of tomatoes within 72 hours, but I'm no longer a doubting Thomas. Just last night, after my single day off, I harvested green tomatoes to fry up southern style for dinner and I saw no symptoms on any of my plants. This afternoon, blight had spread like a bad rumor among my pomodoros.

The leaves turn their colors just as one looks away from them....

How many places a day can go.


maryanne said...

I am so sorry to hear about the blight and the death of Shadow. Farm life can be hard, and I know you have a tender heart.

I've read accounts of the Great Famine in Ireland, and we are really lucky not to be dependent on one crop, but it has to be awful to see your whole harvest wiped out so suddenly. Hoping next year will be a better year for all.

Beth said...

I had no idea a crop blight could be so dramatic, devastating and swift. I am really sorry to hear of this. It sounds as though there was nothing you could do so don't beat yourself up over that day off. Again, so sorry Craig and I hope the rest of the season continues on a positivepath for you and Job.

Robert M said...

That was harsh. You're tomatoes were attacked like they had HIV. I know how disappointing it is to lose a crop but damn!

Did your dad go to the Redtail convention in Vegas?

Robert M said...

i don't know if this makes sense where you live but tis techniques looks interesting.