Well, it’s happened. My potatoes have been struck all to hell by late blight.
I’ve been watching them with consternation for a few weeks now…hoping hoping hoping that those little brown spots I was seeing weren’t blight. Silly me. I should have chopped them all down right then.
I went out of town last weekend, so almost a week went by without a stop to the garden. On Thursday I sped by after work (note to self: keep some better shoes in your car…traipsing up a hill that is a foot deep in thick weeds in your heels is a terrible, terrible idea) and saw that my potatoes were wrecked. Oddly enough, it seemed to be creeping up the patch. I have two long rows, and the vines at one end were rotted and blackened while the ones at the other ends were still green and strong, just showing lots of spots. I figured it would hit them all at once…guess not.
I’ve read a couple of sources online that say if you cut down your vines, not leaving any green, and let the potatoes sit for at least two weeks in the ground, you can dig up the tubers and it will lessen the chance that the blight actually gets on the potatoes. So today I went by the farm and cut them all down, leaving only little nubs sticking up so I know where the plants were growing. I stuffed all the vines in a old feed bag and gave it to the farm managers. They are going to see that they get incinerated.
Shockingly, none of the tomatoes at the farm seem to have even a touch of it (they don’t grow any potatoes, so that isn’t an issue). Almost every farm around us is reporting that they are getting hit hard- many of them have lost their entire crops. But today we picked a few handfuls of early cherry and plum tomatoes off of perfectly green, healthy plants. My little plot is on an isolated hillside with a forest between it and any other plants of the nightshade family. Keep your fingers crossed. I could personally care less about the whole tomato crop being wiped out, but it would break the hearts of most of the people who belong to the CSA, so I’ll hope for the best.
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We had a very rainy weekend (plus Thursday and Friday). From the very non-scientific measure on my back porch, which is actually a rubbermaid container that holds any veggie scraps we take to the farm, we got about 5+ inches this weekend. It never rained terribly hard, but it was constant.
Something about fall rain makes me miserable. I already dislike this time of year, because I fear cold weather, but crisp Autumn days are actually quite enjoyable. Wet, dreary, grey Autumn days are awful. The rain was less welcome because my parents were in town this weekend for my birthday. It was their first visit to Massachusetts since I came here last year, so I had a lot of activities planned. Mostly we just stayed indoors and made cheese, canned green beans, and played with the cat. It was terribly fun, but I’m afraid they didn’t get a very authentic New England experience.
I was hoping to get some stuff done in the garden this weekend. I wanted to plant my Walking Onions (y’all call them Egyptian Onions up here, I believe) and do a lot of work in my flower garden. It’s starting to look very, very sad and I was commenting to Pete the other day that I’ve developed a bit of disdain for it. In a way I feel like since it isn’t doing anything useful, like feed us, I just don’t have the energy for it. I know it’s temporary, though. In early spring, nothing in the world makes me happier than flowers blooming. So I need to put in some good work now or else I’ll regret it come April.
This Saturday was our last farm-box pickup at our CSA. We got winter squash, gourds, apples, a few tomatoes, green beans, and a big bunch of watercress. I’m sad it’s all over- it’s been a fun experiment to have a CSA share this year and we’ll certainly be a part of it next season. Pete and I have become very involved in the farm, and we’ve already got our plan with the owners for helping out during the winter and early spring months. Strangely, considering my earlier statement about flowers, they’ve asked me to develop a flower share for the CSA which is something they have always wanted to do but never had the time to do it. I told them how much I loved flowers so they asked if I’d like to take point next year developing the program. Hopefully I won’t drive them in to financial ruin.
I’ll have an update about green beans coming up soon!
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