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Last Visit 2013-12-21 10:16:06 |Start Date 2006-10-04 18:08:27 |Comments 59 |Entries 79 |Images 19 |

Category: farming

08/29/09 11:43 - 65ºF - ID#49659

a sad day (tomato blight)

we were protected, at least for a lot longer than most farmers, especially the organic farmers, who can't use poisons to prevent the disease.

but late blight came to our farm this week. one week ago, our tomatoes were perfectly fine. but today we were forced to pull all of our 450 tomato plants. the signs appeared on tuesday. by thursday, i was fairly convinced, and friday i was sure. it took me a full day to convince mark, but he gave in today as well.

late blight is a disease that exists all the time, but it doesn't usually appear until after tomato season ends (after the first frost). but this year, a major distributor of seedling tomatoes (bonnie plants, in alabama) delivered infected plants to walmart, lowes, kmart, and other large stores in that vein. so everyone who bought their plants from those stores got infected plants. and although we had started organic plants from seeds, we eventually got blight, because the disease travels by air.

rochester has had no tomatoes this year. and pretty much everyone east of us didn't have any either. it is really sad.

we were actually lucky. despite the cold, rainy weather, we got to harvest vine ripe tomatoes for about 10 days before we got the blight. we got about 50 pounds of fresh, red tomatoes and enjoyed every single one of them. they were so good! i love tomatoes!

today we harvested the remaining green tomatoes that did not have signs of blight. about 200 pounds. they will ripen inside, but never taste as good as they would if they were ripened on the vines. 450 plants should give a harvest of about 4000-5000 pounds. we pulled the other plants out of the ground, because keeping them there would only help to spread the disease.

here are some photos, although the disease doesn't show up nearly as well on the photos as it does in reality. there are black splotches on the stems, the foliage is dying, and the fruits have darkened, leathery splotches. it is suggested that anyone noting this disease pull their plants right away. there is no cure, not even pesticides or fungicides at this point.


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close up of green tomato. the "dead giveaway" sign of late blight is the white powdery substance, which contains the spores that are widespread by the wind.


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nasty partially red tomato that rotted away, also containing white powdery spores.


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our large harvest of green tomatoes.


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beautiful harvest of heirloom tomatoes from the previous day.

despite this problem, will we grow tomatoes again next year?

hell yes!
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08/07/09 07:10 - 70ºF - ID#49483

get a job, hippie!

my bank account has been below $200 for months now and I'm sick of scrimping on every single thing, even toilet paper.

so I've been looking for a job for over a month now.

this has been so challenging! Whenever I've wanted a job before, I've always found one in two days at the most. but this time around, I spent an entire month. I was searching the want ads in about a million places and, of course, searching on the internet. I even went to two different temp agencies, but..... nothing!

I guess it was so hard because
1. the economy sucks these days. This has expanded my awareness of the economy a whole lot and I can empathize with people in rough places so much more now.
2. I now live in the country and it's much more difficult to find a job in the country than in the city.

This was the worst: I applied at an apiary (a bee yard) for a seasonal job and the lady told me that they run that ad in the Penny Saver every year and they usually get 5-7 calls for their two positions. This year they got over 50 calls! Man, it is rough out there.

I'd advise anyone who is just irked with their job to not quit right now unless you have enough to sustain you while you search.

So, after applying to 11 jobs, I finally got one. Probably the one I like best, because I'm getting paid to farm! And to work in a greenhouse. And it's full-time, year round.

I started yesterday; It's tough work! I was sure beat when I got home yesterday. You really work every minute there, except your half hour lunch and fifteen minute break.

I get paid $9.25/hour. This is pretty incredible, because I've looked around at jobs on farms before and they only pay about $4/hour, because they call them "internships" instead of jobs.

The only problem is the pesticides. (I don't spray them, but I can feel that they're there. And I've never eaten fresh-picked tomatoes that tasted like supermarket tomatoes before!) But I guess this just makes me appreciate our own farm even more.

The best thing, apart from the money that I desperately need, is that Mark has been cooking dinner for us! Yesterday, he made an amazing tofu/rice/boiled cabbage/swiss chard dinner and today he beat that by miles with his pasta with marinara and fried green tomatoes and mushrooms:

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yum! what a great thing to come home to!
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