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Author Topic: Late Blight vs Early Blight  (Read 14665 times)
MacSmiley
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Howdy from Zone 4b in South Dakota!


« on: July 30, 2009, 12:29:16 PM »

I just found this Flash slide show from the Univ of NH Co-op Extension which compares photos of late blight with photos of early blight:

http://extension.unh.edu/Agric/Media/BlightPhotos/BlightPhotos.htm

After the slide show finishes, the viewer gets redirected to this UNH Ext article on the subject:

http://extension.unh.edu/Agric/lateblight.htm

I find the discussion there of different fungicides to be quite interesting, including a link to a PDF file of recommendations.

I was also struck by this paragraph, written primarily for field planting, but still applicable to us EBers:

"Promptly destroy all symptomatic plants, plus a border of surrounding plants to eliminate this source of inoculum. Physically pull, bag and dispose of affected plants in the trash or tarp the plants; spores will be killed by sunlight and the heat built-up under the tarp."

That brought new meaning to this EB thread: Santizing potting mix and earth boxes for reuse

 
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kathy
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The mountains of PA Zone 5, almost 4.


« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2009, 03:16:49 PM »

Here's a link that will talk about Bonnie plants and the late blight situation:

http://www.todaysgardencenter.com/news/insidethebox/?storyid=2256
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kath, gardening is my game, EarthBox is my fame. over 45 years in the business.
MacSmiley
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Howdy from Zone 4b in South Dakota!


« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2009, 05:20:54 PM »

So far, the one Bonnie tomato plant I'm growing, the Patio plant, is quite healthy. One of my pepper plants, a Bonnie as well, is fine and dandy. Several of my herb plants are Bonnie, too. My other 3 tomato plants came from local growers.

Whether or not "patient zero" was a Bonnie plant, I can't help but think that there being only ONE supplier for ALL the big box stores can not possibly be a good thing. Got a problem with plants at Wal-Mart? Then go to Home Depot or Lowes to get different plant stock... er... no. They're all selling Bonnie plants, too.

Even if Bonnie wasn't the culprit, I'm wondering if they'll end up with a class action lawsuit anyway for the millions of $$ of lost commercial crops.

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dancing lemons
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Richmond VA Zone 7+


« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 05:22:59 PM »

Years ago (1980's) when I grew an in-ground garden, I could go to several places and get plants.  They were grown by many different people/companies.  When I started with EB I began to notice that almost all of the plants available locally were from Bonnie.  I went everywhere and the same varieties were available and all from Bonnie.  The local seed merchants had closed up shop and thus I imagine Bonnie saw an opportunity to expand their business.  There is a movement afoot in the US "buy local".  I really gave it only a passing thought when I purchased veggies, meat, eggs and other 'groceries'.  Now I am thinking if I do not grow my own plants I will try for locally grown plants when necessary.  It is possible that locally grown plants can be infected/infested with various disease/insects as well.  Bonnie pulled all of their plants out of Richmond VA about mid-July except the plants already in place at WalMart.  WalMart destroyed their remaining Bonnie plants in late July but they do that every year. 

The USDA recalls meat, cheese, soup and other food items when there is a contamination issue.  Did the late blight originate with Bonnie?  We will not know until the investigation is completed.  Personally I hope they can resolve this problem because Bonnie employs lots of folks who undoubtedly need their jobs.  I don't doubt that right now Bonnie has the cleanest growing facilities in the world.  If they are proactive -- they did major sanitation of their greenhouses and all related equipment -- including the trucks used for transport of plants.

In the Richmond VA area these merchants did not have Bonnie Plants this year:

Whole Foods Market (expensive organically grown local plants - good variety)
The Great Big Greenhouse (good prices on plants - fair variety)


Just my thoughts on this matter.
DL

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greenesmith
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Zone 6B NYC


« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 11:05:39 PM »

I don't know, you put the stuff you grow in your body - why buy it at a mass market merchant?  I buy plants at farmers markets, reputable nurseries and grow a lot from seeds. I mean, walmart is ok for plastic bags, but plants I grow to eat?  Yuck.
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MacSmiley
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Howdy from Zone 4b in South Dakota!


« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2009, 01:34:13 AM »

How long does it take for an investigation to take place?  Bonnie may end up being just as much a victim as the farmers and gardeners who have lost their crops. We shall see. Innoculum could have come from a bad batch of non-Bonnie petunias.
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kathy
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The mountains of PA Zone 5, almost 4.


« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2009, 11:00:04 AM »

Here's a new link with an update on the Blight vs Bonnie story: [url][http://www.todaysgardencenter.com/news/?storyid=2279/url] See below for the correct link......I must not have had enough coffee....when I posted this earlier.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2009, 03:13:16 PM by kathy » Logged

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gardendoc
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Ocean Springs, MS Zone 9a


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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2009, 11:35:48 AM »

The people yapping the loudest are the ones who have absolutely no clue what is involved in the plant business.  Once plants leave a growing facility those plants are susceptible to any disease organism out there.  Late blight is a naturally occurring organism that lies quiescent waiting for the right environmental conditions.  More people growing tomatoes means more opportunity for inoculation.  The NE was "lucky" to have the right environmental conditions for this year's outbreak. 

If you think the grower is at fault, then do not buy their plants next year.  Grow your own, then when your plants get some disease you have no one to blame but yourself. 
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“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” – Gerald Ford

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MacSmiley
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Howdy from Zone 4b in South Dakota!


« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2009, 01:16:22 PM »

@kathy Here's the correct code you're trying to do the link for...

[ url = http://www.todaysgardencenter.com/news/?storyid=2279 ] an update on the Blight vs Bonnie story [ /url ]

but without the spaces,

which then looks like this:  an update on the Blight vs Bonnie story

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'm with gardendoc on this issue. IMHO, I think Bonnie was a victim in this situation. Question might be, then: Did the homogenous marketing of Bonnie plants hasten or hinder the removal of diseased plants from the shelves, at least?
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kathy
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The mountains of PA Zone 5, almost 4.


« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2009, 03:16:17 PM »

I am also on that same page....they are talking about the worst growing conditions in the NE ever..   I know myself if not for daconil, my plants would be in bad shape this year. I think the grower or growers have been given a bum rap.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 08:55:54 AM by kathy » Logged

kath, gardening is my game, EarthBox is my fame. over 45 years in the business.
Dave Lambert
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2009, 01:13:20 PM »

The company (Bonnie Plants) which distributed these tomatoes grows them from seed at various sites and ships plugs to 62 (now 61) of their own or subcontracted “growing stations”.  Infected plants were found at chain stores in at least Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, indicating that a number of these stations were involved and implicating a common source at one of more of the core facilities.  The situation in Maine is perhaps the clearest.  When Tom Zitter (NY) notified other states that infected plants had been found at a store in Ithaca, Cooperative Extension or the Maine Department of Agriculture started looking and found infected plants in all of the stores visited.  These include ones in Augusta (southern Maine) four in Bangor/Brewer, Lincoln (north of Bangor), Houlton, Presque Isle (2) and Madawaska (far northern Maine).  Twenty percent or more of the plants were infected at these stores, regardless of location or proximity to any conceivable source of infection.  The tomatoes had been delivered one week before.  Their symptoms (a few heavily infected plants and others with younger lesions) indicated that infection had occurred 1-2 weeks earlier (the latent period for blight is a minimum of 5-7 days), and were consistent with a situation in which a few older lesions had infected the rest, possibly in the truck.  At this point in time, no blight had been discovered anywhere else in Maine, despite several weeks of scouting by growers and Extension.  The source station of these plants, in Dresden ME, was immediately visited by one or more Bonnie representatives, who cut the company’s ties to the operation.   One representative encountered at a Bangor store suggested that the state’s department of agriculture should be called to shut the place down.  This implies that there was sufficient cause to take such a drastic measure and that Bonnie had not been supervising the place, which appeared in poor condition on subsequent visits and is now in bankruptcy proceedings.  Dresden has since become the focus of the southern Maine epidemic, which has affected mostly home and market gardeners, the latter often organic.  Six acres of organic seed are currently in a problematic situation at one nearby farm.  The area around Dresden has not experienced blight in recent years and this year’s general outbreak occurred subsequent to the problems at the tomato greenhouse, and was not the source them.   
   Late blight isn't "everywhere", it doesn't survive in the soil for more than a few weeks and doesn't just  appear with wet weather.  It requires live tissue to survive the winter, either infected potatoes, greenhouse plants or plants in Florida.  Most of these sources are rare, none to a couple per state.  Blight generally does not spread more than 10-20 miles per week.  Shipping infected plants all over short-circuits the normally slow spread, and is why, along with the weather, that blight was so early and widespread.
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seansmum
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Queensbury, NY. Zone 4-5


« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2009, 09:08:50 PM »

I was extremely concerned about my tomato plants back in July when the first news broke about late blight. Something else infected my plants but I have been fortunate enough to harvest some fruit. A friend of mine owns one of the most reputable garden centers in the area. He grows all his plants from seed. He hasn't had any complaints about his stock but he has lost all the tomato plants in his own personal garden. I don't think we can play the blame game in this situation. Nature is a strong force. Sometimes it's not the fault of anyone. As a society we are always too ready to place blame. occasionally things just happen and sometimes we ourselves just didn't pay enough attention. I think one of this country's largest problems is that we feel the need to find somebody to blame for all that is not right in our lives.
 Sue
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gardendoc
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Ocean Springs, MS Zone 9a


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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2009, 10:15:58 PM »

Well said
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“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” – Gerald Ford

Be the fountain, not the drain
mjb8743
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Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2009, 10:23:18 PM »

Quote
Sometimes it's not the fault of anyone. As a society we are always too ready to place blame. occasionally things just happen and sometimes we ourselves just didn't pay enough attention. I think one of this country's largest problems is that we feel the need to find somebody to blame for all that is not right in our lives.
 Sue

You are right... we do feel a need to find the cause of troubles, and are sometimes too quick to point a finger. However, along with this country's free enterprise system comes a lot of greed. The urge to make a buck allows the distribution or sale of diseased plants as long as no one notices it. Once the **** hit the fan, sales were stopped and diseased plants destroyed. It took screaming headlines to make that happen. I don't fault anyone as causing the blight, but knowingly selling diseased plants is another issue.  How many obviously sick plants went on sale and out to ignorant customers who thought they were getting a bargain?

It's not just the tomatoes. Sadly, on the one hand, we point fingers looking for the guilty party, and on the other, the need to show a profit takes priority over ethics. The pursuit of happiness all too often equates with the pursuit of the dollar.

Mickie
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
alwayslearning
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SF Bay Area near SJ Zone 8b


« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2009, 10:38:42 PM »

A wise boss once advised me, "Never assume malice if a simpler explanation (such as lack of awareness or understanding) will do." 

It is fascinating that these plant supply issues are similar to the grocery chain (contaminated food and/or processing facilities), and the public health chain (H1N1 transmission most recently, of course)...all are challenges of distribution and interim handling.   What will come of it?  I suspect that growers will adopt more stringent labeling and tracking of "batches", either voluntarily or mandated.  How much this will cost the end purchaser, who knows.  

« Last Edit: August 15, 2009, 09:46:50 PM by alwayslearning » Logged
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