The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

A blight by any other name...

Pruned tomatoes

Ripe tomatoIn our garden, it's always a case of good news/bad news. Good news: we started eating our first tomatoes (Jasper) this week and there is technically still no blight in the patch. Bad news: septoria leaf spot has reared its ugly head and required me to snip off half the plants' leaves anyway.

Although not a blight by name, septoria leaf spot is a fungal disease of tomatoes (making it a blight in my book). In our garden, septoria is usually the first such disease to appear, and it seems to weaken the plants sufficiently to let the other fungi get a toehold. But maybe this year our blight-resistant varieties will come through and septoria will be our only fungal problem. Only time will tell.

(As a side note, I feel dumb/condescending typing this, but several of you have asked me about our blight-resistant tomato varieties despite me linking copiously in my posts. If you follow the link above, you can read much more about them. And, in general, if you follow the links in my posts, you'll learn more about the topics in question. And now I'll end my quick course in Web-browsing 101....after an apology for insulting your intelligence!)

Butternut squash plants

Back to the point, you can see our tomatoes in the background of the photo above. The plants look a little naked now with their bottom leaves all gone, but I'm hoping the serious pruning will slow down fungal spread despite a rainy week.

Baby butternut squashIn the foreground are happy, healthy butternuts, thriving and setting fruit in what will probably be next year's tomato patch. Like cabbages, squashes are such a joy in the garden simply because they grow so vigorously that they make me feel like a pro. Honestly, though, other than feeding the soil with a bunch of chicken bedding a few months before planting then mulching the emerging vines, I've done nothing to those plants. Cucurbits, unlike tomatoes, require very little babying in our climate to party all the way across the aisles and into the next beds. I love our naughty butternuts!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Anna--love, love, love the wide shot of your yard at the bottom of the post. I'm so envious! Many factors are at play, but our butternuts really struggle some years. And downy or powdery mildew is always, always the finale thanks to dewy mornings. But boy, in a good year, I have butternuts coming out my ears. Thanks again for posting so often. It's a bright part of each day.
Comment by jen g Fri Jul 3 15:00:48 2015
jen --- Actually, our butternuts tend to succumb a little before we'd like them to as well. But they set enough fruit before then to get us through the winter most years. Still, we're trying a hybrid, Metro F1, for that reason in 2015. I'll keep you posted about whether or not it keeps the powdery mildew at bay.
Comment by anna Sat Jul 4 18:09:08 2015

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