Tomato saga

I pulled a third of my tomato plants this week. I had to do it, the blight got them:

blighted

Late blight this time of year isn’t unusual, it is called late blight for a reason after all. And as I noted, our average first frost date is the 25th. That’s average of course, some years we get a first frost before the 10th of September. Although, since it’s 93 in Burlington right now I doubt this will be one of those years (I hope)

As I pulled the plants I picked all the green tomatoes. We’ve had some turn red already, and most of the rest are full sized, and some even tinged with yellow as if they’re about to turn. So I’m hoping to ripen them in a kitchen cabinet and still be able to use them. I brought 2 stretchy grocery bags out to the garden, thinking filling both was probably optimistic.

greentomatoes

As it turns out both were overflowing as I carried them back to the house! I’d guess it’s about 40 POUNDS of green tomatoes. You can see a few tomatoes that were resting on the ground and have blight spots in the bottom of that photo. Those were for the chickens.

So yeah, now I really hope the green ones ripen! I do think it’s worth re-stating this is only one third of my tomato patch. The other 2/3rds are still in the ground. One row is looking light it might be in trouble, but I’m not pulling it yet (out of sheer hope that willpower is stronger then the creeping blight) The third row looks like this:

healthy

Still clean. It’s not lost on me that this is the only row I tied up in mid summer. Tying the vines up to posts felt like I was wreaking havoc on the plants, so I didn’t attack the other two rows. As a result the other two rows spralled all over the ground. I’m wondering if that’s what made them more susceptible to the blight. I’m filing that lesson learned away for next year…

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7 responses to “Tomato saga

  1. I am sorry about your tomatoe plants. Ours haven’t done so well this year, themselves. I found you, by the way, through Ravelry. Hi there!

  2. YIKES! my tomato plants are looking like that. is that what blight is? i was wondering what was wrong with them. what happens if you don’t pull them out? does it spread to other things besides tomatoes.

    p.s. i started my catamount sweater at knitting nite tonight! loving it.

    • Blight will die if the ground freezes solid where you are. Otherwise it can survive in the soil for several years. It will spread to any other plants in the nightshade family, so that can include potatoes, etc… If you have blight and the ground doesn’t freeze just don’t plant any nightshade type plants in that spot for a few years and it’ll go away.

      Interesting factoid: Late blight is what caused the irish potato famine.

  3. Maybe you’ll have some fried green tomatoes or green tomato relish in your future.
    Our tomatoes ended up with fusarium and/or verticillium wilt early on in our season, due to heavy rain + early heat spells. Will you pack your tomatoes in newspaper to try to hold them in storage?

  4. There’s a recipe for a green tomato pickle you may want, a good way to preserve unused crop:

    2 1/2 lbs green tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
    1 1/2 lbs white or yellow onions, sliced 1/4″ thick
    1 1/2 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
    2 Tbsp pickling salt
    1/2 C sugar
    2 C cider vinegar

    Combine tomatoes, onions and mustard seeds.
    Add salt and mix.
    Let stand at room temp 8 to 12 hours.

    Drain vegetables and pack into 2 qt jar.
    Combine sugar and vinegar and dissolve.
    Pour over vegetables.
    Cap tightly and let stand at room temp for 24 hrs.

    Store in refrigerator, keeps several months.

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