Potato Blight

Late Potato Blight (Photo credit: Ben Millett)
Late Potato Blight (Photo credit: Ben Millett)

The return of late potato blight:**

Home gardeners beware: This year, late blight — a destructive infectious disease that caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s- — is killing tomato and potato plants in gardens and on commercial farms in the eastern United States. In addition, basil downy mildew is affecting plants in the Northeast.

“Late blight has never occurred this early and this widespread in the U.S,” said Meg McGrath, associate professor of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology.

One of the most visible early symptoms of the disease is brown spots (lesions) on stems. They begin small and firm, then quickly enlarge, with white fungal growth developing under moist conditions that leads to a soft rot collapsing the stem.

**For the next few weeks, I am going to be on a “working vacation,” so my posts will be somewhat more abbreviated. I will still provide you with something substantial to chew on, though!