Every year, when the rains return and the temperature drops at night to around 50 degrees, Late Season Blight strikes the tomato patch. Now, a nominally intelligent gardener would think to themselves, 'Hmm the forecast says that the remnants of a Japanese typhoon is about to hit the area...I should rip out the tomatoes.' But, I'm brightly optimistic and see the weather forecast and think, 'The garden does need a good soaking.'The Crony Brothers saw it all coming and kept asking concerned questions about the remaining tomatoes hanging on the vine, especially the big ones. They didn't have good crop this year and thought that my optimism bordered on delusional thinking. They were right.
The last time that Late Season Blight hit, I cried, because it took out all of my late season heirlooms before they ripened in the middle of August. But, this time, I had already had my fill of tomatoes. So, I merely dramatically complained about it on my blog and then drank a glass of red wine.
Late Season Blight is a fungus, the same fungus that wiped out the potato crops in The Irish Potato Famine in 1847. Late Season Blight can wipe out an entire crop in a couple of days, so it's best to keep a close eye on your plants. The fungus works its way up from the base of the plants, so look at the stems for black patches. Remove all of the infected foliage and dispose of it in the trash, bury it 2 feet deep, or add it to a hot burning compost heap. Don't bother trying to ripen the infected tomatoes because they will merely rot and slump on your window sill. The fungus is always present in our soil and it merely takes the right conditions to help it thrive.
I disposed of all of our tomato plants and did share some left over ripe tomatoes and several massive green tomatoes with The Crony Brothers. My Victory Garden looks better and is ready for me to plant something new. So, did you rip your tomatoes out before the storm? If not, how did they do?