Monday, August 24, 2009

Rural Blight

During the 20 odd years that I lived in Los Angeles, most of it was spent living in a pretty urban area (the Valley, Hollywood, Santa Clarita), and I experienced urban blight every day. The boarded up buildings, structures in desperate need of repair (that always reminded me of the Robyn Hitchcock song My Favorite Buildings), graffitied surfaces everywhere (and not the cool kind of graffiti, which I don't mind so much, just the gang tag kind), and general filth and grime everywhere. It's one of the things I certainly don't miss since moving to the country.

So it was with great surprise that I woke up the other morning, poured my cup of organic Kona coffee, and went for my walk-through to see how much radicchio and pea sprouts the rabbits had dined on before the hot pepper spray sent them running for water (I just love imagining that, since, for Robin's sake, I'm suppressing the urge to shoot the little buggers), and low and behold, I found the dreaded rural blight, growing all over my tomato plants like some kind of brush fire that had made it's way into a neighborhood.

Late Blight on Tomato LeavesIt happened overnight, like the graffiti that wound up on a wall near our place in LA. But I couldn't just paint over this blight. This is the dreaded tomato blight that has decimated tomato gardens all over New England this summer that wasn't.

We thought we had avoided it, as it got warm and drier over the last couple of weeks... Bam! Hurricane comes up the coast, cold front comes down from Canada, and one night of cool, wet conditions, and there it was. It literally happened overnight. There may have been some signs the day before, but they weren't that noticeable, and I was being very wary.

I've ordered some copper spray for the big plant next to the house, that volunteered from the compost. It's only showing small signs, and I've been pulling off any leaf with even a speck on it. Maybe the spray will help. Or, maybe, tomorrow, I'll be pulling it up and shoving it in a plastic bag, like some murder victim on Law and Order. Bagging up all the plants yesterday looked like a battlefield...

We had a lot of tomatoes. Almost all started from seed. Many heirlooms. Much pain. Almost like losing a pet.

We have several bowls full of green tomatoes that we're going to make a nice relish with, but damn.... seriously, We're going through the seven stages of grief here.