Monday, October 19, 2009

Got Late Blight?

Guidance for Gardeners Report Released by NOFA Vermont
Richmond –
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA Vermont) released a report today to help gardeners clean up plants infected with the late blight disease that struck many of Vermont’s gardens and farms this year. The report, entitled Got Late Blight? Guidance for Gardeners also includes suggestions for avoiding late blight next year.
Late Blight, the disease that led to the Irish potato famine in the 1840’s, decimated tomato and potato crops across the state this year. Farmers throughout Vermont took estimated financial losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars from crop losses due to the blight.

“As gardeners we need to do all we can to help keep late blight from being a problem next year; Vermont’s farmers were hit hard by this disease,” said Wendy Sue Harper, Ph.D. who authored the report. “There are several preventative measures gardeners can take this fall and next spring to help reduce the likelihood of the disease recurring next year.”

Late blight does not overwinter in Vermont’s freezing temperatures but could overwinter on potato tubers insulated in the warmth of a compost pile or buried in soil. The report details measures gardeners can take to destroy infected tubers and compost diseased foliage. The report also includes several recommendations to prevent late blight in the future including checking seed potatoes for blight before planting, choosing resistant varieties, and rotating crops.

The full report, along with a list of resistant tomato and potato varieties, can be found online at

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