Friday, August 07, 2009

Tazewell Garden Project, part 4: Bounty Hunters

We built the containers in April. We transplanted the seeds in May. We nurtured and hovered and did rain dances (though unnecessary) throughout the early summer. And now, in the heat of August, our efforts are paying off -- with FOOD.

Oh food glorious food, how delighted we are you've arrived! In this long-awaited phase of the Tazewell Garden Project, we are reaping what we've sowed (-slash-watered-slash-weeded).

Granted, it's a modest bounty -- several yellow tomatoes, a bunch of cherry tomatoes, 5 string beans, 3 peppers, and ongoing Swiss chard. But we have a reason, I swear! Because Jacob and I recently found out that a late blight hit the Northeast in July, damaging tomatoes particularly hard.

What is blight, you ask? Why, it's a highly contagious fungus whose spread is helped by cool, wet weather -- exactly what we experienced for the first two months of summer. (More in-depth explanation and examples here.)

Fun blight facts, courtesy of this post from Skippy's Vegetable Garden, include:

* Late blight was responsible for the Irish potato famine of the mid-19th century. (And for the Tazewell Produce Famine. Oh, history's dreadful cycle!)

* It is one of the few plant diseases that can destroy an entire crop. (Damn spores.)

* The disease can wipe out entire tomato and potato fields within a week if conditions are wet. (Check.)

* Late blight spores can travel over 40 miles under the right conditions. (With a coffee, books on tape, and frequent bathroom stops.)

In any event, this all explains why only two of our five tomato plants are producing anything, and even they look sickly. And though I'm very sad we won't have anywhere near a bumper crop of my fave food, I'm infinitely relieved that I didn't kill them as previously supposed.

But enough doom and gloom. Let's put the LIGHT in BLIGHT with some beautiful pics (courtesy of Jacob) of the first real summer feast with all locally harvested food, minus the chicken. (The watermelon was from a CSA.) Correction: Watermelon was from a roadside farm stand and green beans were a combo of CSA and Tazewell Garden!

Enjoy! Try not to get too hungry. :)

Note on slideshow: Click on "full screen" icon in lower right and then "show info" in upper right corner to see the captions.

No comments:

Post a Comment