From the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service:
Late blight devastated crops in 2009
Many farmers and gardeners in Maine saw late blight on their potatoes and tomatoes for the first time in 2009 and experienced firsthand the amount and speed of crop destruction that it can cause. Introduction and widespread distribution of the late blight pathogen into Maine occurred during late June and July, when potato and tomato plants were growing rapidly. Then extended periods of rainy and humid weather hit Maine, completing the disease triangle of pathogen, host, and environment. The results were devastating to the tomato and potato crops in many areas.
Will last year’s late blight affect this year’s garden?
If your garden area is free from plant debris, and your compost pile is free from living plants, last year’s infected tomatoes and potatoes will not affect this year’s garden. While you should rotate vegetable planting areas from year to year, the pathogen that causes late blight does not overwinter in the soil under our conditions.
Click here for the entire UMaine Cooperative Extension article about late blight. If you intend to grow tomatoes and potatoes in 2010, come to Skillin's and we will set you with everything you need to have a great growing year. BUT first check out the information provided by the UMaine Cooperative Extension Service. It is not hard reading and will put your mind at ease!
April 20, 2010