Amity Highland Ranch and Ebenezer Hill Gardens LLC

  (Belmont, New York)
Grass-fed Highland beef and free-range chicken and duck eggs

Tomatoes that may thrive in late blight conditions

Because of the late blight scourge of last year, I am growing transplants this year of a variety called Legend, which was developed by Dr. Baggett at the U. of Oregon.  According to several sources which you can find on the Web, this tomato exhibits resistance to late blight and has proven itself in trials in the Pacific Northwest.  Supplies are very limited - call or Email me to order early!

I also have a cherry tomato called Matt's Wild Cherry, which anecdotal evidence from around New York State says continued to produce copious amounts of small, very tasty cherry tomatoes even as companion tomato varieties succumbed to the blight around it.  I have not grown Matt's for some years, but I do recall that the fruit is simply delightful, though I had to pick more to get the same volume as a "normal" cherry tomato.  It's called "wild" because it's believed to be an ancestor of our modern cherry tomato varieties. 

My hope is that the weather does not give this scourge another chance to wipe out our tomato and potato plants.  But I expect to hear reports of the fungus still active around the Northeast, simply because home gardeners may not have known what was wrong with their plants and allowed the plant residues to overwinter near the gardens, instead of discarding them in a plastic bag as was recommended by our friends at the Cornell Cooperative Extension offices around New York, in Vermont and New Hampshire, and elsewhere.  But we can try different plants to see how they fare, and our input on this experiment can be useful to future growers and to the researchers who are diligently working on breeding for late blight resistance.

The Quest for the Winter Harvest

We have been diligently experimenting with methods of extending the summer harvest into the late autumn months.  When the weather cooperates, staying warm into late October and even into November, it's easy to keep growing and harvesting the delicious lettuces and greens you count on us to grow for you.  However, when winter threatens early, as it usually does by the end of October, a grower needs to find a way to protect what is still in good condition for harvest until the customers are ready to buy it, so it can be enjoyed at its peak of flavor and nutrition.  Cold temperatures are not the only culprits:  winter winds, with their drying effect, can be just as damaging to fall crops as low temps are.  Therefore, we've been trying a couple of methods that have worked for other growers to make sure we have top quality produce available for as long as possible during the year.  Our efforts took a gigantic leap forward with the construction of a small  A-Frame unheated greenhouse last fall.  After studying the experts, including Elliot Coleman at Four Seasons Farm in Maine, we determined that we could put a structure right in the main garden in the lower part of the farm as long as it was very sturdy and windproof.  This meant, no PVC piping or hoops!  Rather than take a chance with wind problems, my husband designed something that will definitely stay put even in 60 mph winds (which are not as rare as we would like in our winters). It was completed just before Thanksgiving, so there was just time enough for me to start some planting bed preparation before the outside temps fell too far. 
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