Look out for late blight

late blight on tomatoLate blight — a very destructive disease of tomatoes and potatoes (yeah, the same disease that caused the Irish potato famine) — has appeared here in New York earlier and more widespread than ever before.

Go check your tomatoes and potatoes for signs of the disease. If you’ve got it, there’s nothing you can do about it. But it’s important that you seal up the infected plants in a plastic bag to prevent its spread to other gardens or commercial farms, and report it to your local Cooperative Extension office.

You can find details on the Cornell University Department of Horticulture blog. Meg McGrath, Cornell plant pathologist has excellent images of the disease in her photo gallery, and Amy Ivy, horticulturist in Clinton and Essex Counties has a podcast on the subject.

The twist on this one: Late blight doesn’t overwinter up here. Its spores are usually carried up from the South on storm fronts. This year, it appears that one source of spores are from infected plants shipped in from production facilities in the South.

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Dropping a load at USDA

My old compatriots at the Rodale Institute drop a load of compost at the new organic People’s Garden in Washington.


Rodale compost at USDA

Hey guys. When do I get my load?

And in more inside the Beltway news, here’s a great slideshow of Michelle and kids planting the White House veggie garden. (Page down after clicking link.)

Push back: First lady’s organic garden concerns chemical firms. I certainly hope so.

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Vegetable varieties website featured on Ken Druse Real Dirt radio

vegetable varieties for gardeners websiteToday’s Real Dirt radio show, hosted by garden writers Ken Druse (Planthropology, etc.) and Vicki Johnson featured an interview with a Cornell co-worker of mine, Lori Bushway. (mp3 podcast).

Lori filled Ken and Vicki in on our Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website. If you’re starting to mull over your seed catalogs this winter, you might want to stop by the site for a visit.

I like to say the site is like an amazon.com for vegetable varieties, only we don’t sell the seeds. You’ll find descriptions of more than 5,000 varieties along with seed sources. And more than 3,000 registered users at the site have been rating and reviewing their favorites — as well as those that haven’t worked so well for them.

So come see which varieties your fellow gardeners recommend, and register and share your favorites.

And thanks Ken and Vicki for your kind words and for all the work you put in hosting my favorite gardening podcast.

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