Fungus Amongus….

Late tomato blight damage.

A humongus fungus among us….

Last summer was an incredibly wet year for us. By May it was declared that we had received enough rain to pull us out of the drought status that had afflicted our region for 2+ years. One of the worst gardening years on record for me! All of that moisture, combined with steady lower than average temperatures created the perfect environment for all sorts of evil garden demons… er, well, maybe not evil…

One of the most damaging plagues last year was the late tomato blight. It’s really common here in the cool damp mountains, and farmers are always hanging around the feed store complaining about it. It’s a highly contagious fungus that spreads through the air and can completely destroy tomato crops.

However, last summer, the fungus was unsually widespread and fierce, devastating crops all over the eastern half of the United States. Upon tracking the source of the outbreak, researchers discovered that a large plant company who supplies vegetable starts to large chain stores like Wal-Mart and Lowe’s could have been partially responsible for the massive outbreak.

All of it makes me think hard about agri-business and globalization and giant corporations… And really, I guess what I think is that gardening is way more important than any sort of political soapbox or anti-corporate fear mongering. If being able to buy a tomato plant at the hardware store will get people out in their backyards and eating healthy home grown food, then that’s good.

But, for myself, I’ll be starting all my own from seed this year. And making sure I have enough to give to all my neighbors who are upwind from me!

Click this link to go to the NY Times article about it:

Published in: on February 11, 2010 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  

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