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

Early blight on tomatoes

Early blight on a tomato leafThe good news is that closer inspection of our tomatoes shows they are infected with early blight, not late blight.  Notice the yellowing of the leaves and (not pictured) the absence of problems on the stems and fruits.  Although both are fungal diseases, early blight tends to be less devastating, and I'm having very good luck keeping the fungus in check with my blight control measures.

The bad news is that early blight tends to stick around after it shows up.  Unlike late blight, which needs living tissue to survive, early blight can overwinter in plant debris or even in saved seeds.  Although it pains me to remove biomass from the farm, we'll continue to take our blighted leaves to the dump.

This week, I ripped out another three tomato plants that showed too much damage to save.  But I can't complain, since the tomatoes have been pouring in.  Here's our August 6 harvest:

Basket of tomatoes

Then skip ahead a few days to August 10, and you'll notice I had to upgrade to the bigger basket:

A bigger basket of tomatoes

No photos of the next few harvests, but suffice it to say that I'm now harvesting large masses of tomatoes three times a week.  We've already frozen a gallon of pizza sauce and three quarts each of spaghetti sauce and tomato-based vegetable soup.  When the peach leather comes out of the automotive dehydrator today, I plan to replace the fruit with a batch of sun-dried tomatoes.

Our homemade chicken waterer is a time-saver on the homestead.

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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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What's the difference between pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce, at least the way you do it?
Comment by irilyth [] Tue Aug 17 09:08:19 2010
It's all a matter of taste, but my pizza sauce is cooked down to almost a tomato paste consistency and is seasoned with thyme and garlic only. Our spaghetti sauce is wetter and is seasoned with onions, garlic, and basil (and if I have it, I throw in mushrooms and/or summer squash.)
Comment by anna Tue Aug 17 09:40:43 2010
Wouldn't drying work more reliably and faster in the oven?
Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Aug 17 13:34:04 2010
You can dry in the oven, but to keep the temperatures below the point where you're cooking the food rather than drying it, you have to leave the oven door open. On a hot summer's day (and with an eye on the electric meter), that just doesn't seem feasible. You can buy electric dehydrators, but I'd rather wait and let Mark make me a solar one that won't use electricity.
Comment by anna Tue Aug 17 13:57:04 2010

Why put the bio mass in the dump? If it not desirable for compost, how about bio char or ash. You could put it in a container ( a large one ) with any waste that is the least bit flammable, light it then smother it like you're making charcoal, or just burn it and everything else you are going to dump and till in the ashes.

I know you said you took a years worth of waste to the dump recently, but was it all really waste? Much of the plastic that things are packaged in now is actually made from wood and alcohol so it can be used if you have the time and energy to make it usable, or as above put it in the container and make char or ashes of it.

Maybe this will light that bulb above your thinking cap. LOL

I'm far from the best recycler but if you look at anything involving Ed Begly, Jr. you see how much people throw away without thinking, and still believe they are doing their part to recycle or reuse.

Comment by vester Tue Aug 17 17:16:04 2010
You're right that a lot of what we took to the dump wasn't useless. On the other hand, you can only keep so many plastic containers around before your barn turns into its own dump... We reuse the things we can, and then work on cutting back our buying so that we have a lot less to throw away. I don't approve of burning plastic, even though you can do it --- the gases put off by the plastic are bad for the environment.
Comment by anna Wed Aug 18 07:50:58 2010

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