Tomato, Basil Diseases

Tomato blight in the northeast. Important now for backyard growers to understand the signs of disease in their small plots, as the outcome could affect larger volumes of food grown elsewhere.

Our wet weather here in the Piedmont sets the stage for other diseases. This from Chatham County Organic Extension agent Debbie Roos:

"Bad news for basil growers: basil downy mildew was confirmed at a NC farm this week (unfortunately right here in Chatham County). Basil downy mildew is a very new disease and this is the first confirmed case in the state. Basil growers are at high risk for this disease. I posted photos and information on Cooperative Extension’s Growing Small Farms website at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/chatham/ag/SustAg/basildownymildew.html

Unfotunately, this can possibly affect a number of members of the Lmiaceae or mint family."

Wikipedia says this about the mints, a large and useful family:

Lamiaceae or Labiatae, also known as the mint family, is a family of plants.

The plants are frequently aromatic in all parts and include many widely used culinary herbs, such as basil, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, thyme, lavender, and perilla. Some are shrubs, trees, such as teak, or rarely vines. Many members of the family are widely cultivated, owing not only to their aromatic qualities but also their ease of cultivation: these plants are among the easiest plants to propagate by stem cuttings. Besides those grown for their edible leaves, some are grown for decorative foliage, such as coleus.

The stems are frequently square in cross section, but this is not found in all members of the family, and is sometimes found in other plant families."

So, keep an eye on your gardens, and pull out sick plants to keep the spores from spreading to the rest of your garden and beyond. Early is better than later.

1 comment:

Jill said...

My farmer had to pull out his ENTIRE tomato crop (thousands of $$$), and I have the blight in mine as well. ARGGGHHHHH!!!!