Tomato Late Blight Report
August 12, 2009
In March, I got seed for a number of tomato varieties that someone or other said might resist tomato late blight, the awful disease, spread by airborne spores, that has been killing a lot of tomatoes in the California Bay Area for about 15 years. (and has recently been killing East Coast tomatoes as well) I planted some of them at City College, and some in my Mission District community garden. I also planted 'Stupice' tomato as a control--a plant I know gets late blight, just to be sure it's around.
The plants are bigger at City College, probably because the soil is in better shape. There are only a few blight lesions here and there on the plants. They ripened a few fruits in July, but a long foggy period in mid July through early August has meant a break in ripe fruit for now.
At Dearborn, more fruit is ripening, due to the warmer microclimate. I have lost one plant to late blight, and it is a 'Legend' tomato. This variety was bred to be late blight resistant, but clearly can't resist the strain, or the plant pathologists call it, the race, of late blight we have here. The plant is now only a couple of brown stalks. Some of the other plants have some blight lesions on stems or leaf stems, but are still bearing. The best looking plant, good color, lots of fruits, and no sign of late blight so far is one called 'Juliet'. If this one proves resistant, I will be realy pleased, because it makes nice oval fruits, like paste tomatoes but smaller, and lots of them. They are bigger than a cherry tomato though, about 1 3/4 to 2 inches long. Flavor--not too great, but they worked really well to make broiled appetizer tomatoes last night.
(Recipe: Mix 4 tablespoons of finely chopped green onions, 4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise, and two tablespoons of finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley. Cut 6-8 small tomatoes in half. Spread/mound the cheese mixture on the halves. Broil 2-3 minutes or untill the high places on the topping just begin to brown. Serve hot as appetizer or side dish. This recipe is in my book Golden Gate Gardening.)
Anyway, I promise photos soon. And welcome any reports or photos from others who may be growing any of the varieties we grew at City College last spring.