Blight on Tomatoes

Hello Everyone!  I hope you have been having fun and loving life since last we spoke.

The topic of discussion today is tomatoes, more specifically late season blight.  It is slowing killing my tomato plants though I think they may yet be salvageable.  It is, apparently, a very common problem in gardens and on farms.

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I began to notice the dark brown spots on the leaves and fruits a couple of weeks ago.  As first I thought it was a result of too much water, since it had rained so much recently.  I soon discovered this was not the case.

Blight is a fungal infection (according to my research) which begins at the base of the plant and travels upward as the season progresses.  It affects the leaves first and eventually the fruit.  The fungal spores overwinter in the ground and are splashed onto the plants by watering.  It is for this reason that you should take care when watering tomatoes not to water the leaves, but the base of the plant.  The fungus needs wet leaves to be able to enter the leaf tissue.

You can help protect your tomatoes from blight by:

  1. Selecting healthy, stocky plants
  2. Rotating your crops so that you don’t plant them in the same place for 3-4 years(This can be difficult in small gardens)
  3. Space plants at least 3 feet apart.  This allows for good air circulation between plants.
  4. Grow your tomatoes in wire cages.  This keeps them off the ground and makes them less susceptible to the spores.  You can buy wire cages from a garden store or make them yourself if you are a DIY type of person.
  5. Use 2-3 inches of mulch made of dry leaves, dry grass clippings or straw around each plant starting in early June.  This helps to prevent splash back.
  6. Avoid wetting the tomato foliage when watering.
  7. Apply fungicides if needed.

I had no idea what is was when the blight first appeared on my plants and I had to go online to find the answers.  I got my information from the following websites and all credit goes to the individuals who maintain them.  I merely paraphrased it here.  Please click the links for more complete information.

http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/1996/4-26-1996/tomato.html

https://extension.umass.edu/vegetable/articles/recognizing-tomato-blights

http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/plantpath/extension/fact_sheets/Tomato_-_Field_Staked_-_Late_Blight.htm

I hope that this proves useful to you and that your gardens are faring better than mine.

Lights – A Poem

The cloud-mottled midnight sky stretches far above the lights of the city. 

From my car, traversing the high way between my home and my job guarding a warehouse filled with men’s underwear and tee shirts, I can see the lights of downtown fly past. 

Oh such a multitude! 

A vast array of twinkling, shining lights, pinpointing the city in the gloom. 

The traffic lights in perfect rows as far as my vision extends, blinking first red,  then green in a ceaseless dance of late night traffic. The traffic. 

Not the frenzied, frantic motions of the daylight hours, but something altogether more subtle. 

Headlights, some white, some blue, green or pink, some blindingly bright, others falling at the other end of the spectrum, lead the way, carving out of the darkness, great tunnels, through which the tired travelers find their way.

Tunnels sealed shut again by the taillights and blaring red brake lights. 
I flick my eyes upward, hundreds of feet, to settle on the buildings themselves. 

They glow with white hot light. Windows, one next to another,  floor by floor, like great angular eyes, staring down with indifference. 

Here and there, lights of other colors burn. 

I can see a neon sign, of red and blue, indicating the entrance to some bar. “Aero” something I think it said. 

There is a single purple light, down near the ground. Can’t think what that could be. I leave the purple light as it disappears behind me. 

I contemplate the twin rows of street lights, ranging from what can only be called pale peach to what is positively orange, and the solitary vehicle running between them, heading east. It’s a blue car, that’s all I can tell from here. At least, I think it’s blue. Hard to tell in this light. 

The harsh lights of the oncoming traffic snap me out of my revere and then the lights of the city fade into the rear view mirror, as I make for home, with its mismatched porch lights.

One Lovely Blog Award

one-blog-lovely-award

How is everyone doing today?  Well I hope.  It looks like a bright and sunny day outside, though I cannot testify to that.  I worked all night and have only just gotten out of bed.

I’ve got some amazing news!  I have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Ema Jones!  She writes these amazing posts that feature food from all over the world.  I love to eat and find her recipes mouthwatering! Especially the Swabian Maultaschen recipe!  I would recommend her blog as she has an easy style of writing and a plethora of fascinating topics to talk about.

Rules for winning this award are very simple, here they are:-

1. Thank the person who has nominated you. Provide a link to his/her blog.

2. List the rules and display the award pic.

3. Include 7 facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated.

5. Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven Facts About Me

1. I work in private security for a living.  I currently support my whole family, as my mom is disabled and my dad retired.  I work nights mostly and sleep during the day like a vampire.

2. I love to write science fiction and fantasy, and especially poetry, though I have to “feel it” to write poetry.  I wrote music in high school.

3. I love all animals, especially cats and panda bears.  Snakes creep me out though, and I’m afraid of spiders and sharks.

4. I’ll eat anything except beets.  I dislike beets intensely.  

5. I self-published a book of poetry a couple of years ago.  It is currently my greatest ambition to have a novel published.  

6. I learned quite young not to care about what people think of me.  I make decisions based on what is best for me and my situation and I say what I think.  Tends to make me unpopular, which is basically par for the course. Ha!

7. I was raised a Baptist Christian.  But the more I go through life, the more Christianity doesn’t make any sense to me.  Sometimes, I think I should become a druid or something, honestly.

Enough about me.  Here are some bloggers that I think are amazing!  You should definitely visit their blogs and check them out.  In no particular order:

  1. Art by Angela Pierce  
  2. I’ve Got Cake
  3. Crowded Earth Kitchen
  4. Random Musings of a Hotel Goddess
  5. Parkadilly
  6. Druid Life
  7. Pardon My Garden
  8. DINNER BANK
  9. Cooking With A Wallflower
  10. Garden of Eady
  11. The Girl In The Little Black Dress
  12. Jayna Grace 
  13. https://2foodwithlove.com
  14. World Around Us
  15. The Geek Anthropologist

Thanks again to Ema Jones for nominating my little blog!  And congrats to all of my nominees!

 

Preservation Techniques – Part 1, Drying

Good morning, everyone! It’s a pleasantly bright and sunny day, here in WS, even if it is a bit hot for my tastes. (I am very much a cold weather person.) I hope you are enjoying your weather, wherever you happen to be.

As the title stated, I’m going to discuss methods of preserving food. I’ll cover each method in an individual post. The lucky method of today is drying.

Dehydration is incredibly versatile and very easy. Whether it involves hanging bunches of herbs or slicing fruits and veggies and putting them in the dehydrator, it’s a “fix it and forget it” kind of method. It great if you have a busy schedule.

If you are using the hang-and-dry method, hang bunches of herbs in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area for several weeks. Dried herbs are best if you crumble them just before you add them to the dish you are preparing.

You can also dry herbs(and just about any thing else) in a dehydrator. Food must be sliced thin in most cases.

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The mandolin. Please be wary of the blade.

This little do-hickey is called a mandolin. Yep, just like the instrument. It slices veg and fruit in uniform slices very quickly.  (For the love of God, Allah, rock ‘n’ roll, or whatever deity you follow, PLEASE be careful. The blade of the mandolin is very sharp and you could cut your finger tips off, if you don’t pay attention. Use the guard at ALL times.)

The dehydrator that I have is just about as simple as it gets. Just plug it in. It uses low heat applied over many hours to remove the moisture and preserve the food. It was warm to the touch and could be moved with my bare hands. As with any kitchen endeavor, take nothing for granted and always exercise caution.

For the purposes of this post, I sliced four potatoes and put them in the dehydrator. In a single layer on each tray, barely touching but not overlapping.

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Potato slices arranged on the dehydrator trays.

Different foods call for different drying times.  Bananas, for example, dry in just 9 hours. The potatoes will take twelve. I started them (and this post!) at about 9 this morning.

Food in the dehydrator must be turned a couple of times during the process. Move upper trays to the bottom and turn left or right. The food will stick slightly to the trays as it’s drying. For best results with the food you are drying, do some research about drying times. Also, some foods need to be treated prior to drying. This usually involves dipping in lemon juice, boiling water, or marinade, in the case of meat. Of course, each food has different requirements for pretreatment.

Why pretreat? It’s to help maintain the color, shape, and/or flavor during the drying process. Potatoes don’t require pretreatment. When they are finished, allow to cool completely and store without crushing, in an airtight jar or sealable plastic bag. Check once a month. Fruit should be packed in a non-aluminum, non-plastic container and kept away from moisture.

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These potato slices are nearly finished. They will be dry and brittle when they are finished. Reconstitute by soaking in water.

Drying is an excellent way to preserve a wide variety of foods for later use.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Look forward to more posts about preservation methods and my beginner’s crochet tutorial, coming soon.

Amber, over and out.