Monday, July 21, 2008


Robin found this beetle on the floor of our den this morning . She was scared to touch it so she covered it with a bowl and called me to remove it.This one is a female. The male has horns. It is a kind of rhinoceros beetle. I took it outside and released it in the garden.
It took off somewhere.
Dynastes tityus

Tomato Leaf Blight

Cassie wants to know what tomato leaf blight looks like so i'm posting some photos. Here in the South the blight is inevitable because of the heat and humidity which make ideal conditions for it to get started and spread.
Many heirloom varieties are highly susceptible to it. That's why hybrid tomatoes were developed, to breed in resistance. We grow Big Beef as our main crop of slicing tomatoes. They are pretty resistant.
Making sure your soil is biologically active, high in organic matter and contains all the macro and micro-nutrients the tomatoes need makes the plants grow strongly and helps them resist the onslaught of the blight.

Spraying really good actively aerated compost tea regularly when the hot humid weather is predicted is very helpful in postponing the arrival and severity of the blight infestation. We have used Serenade Organic Fungicide ( the active ingredient is a bacteria called bacillus subtilus) and it helps some.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Tomatoes are starting to ripen now. We've had a few mater sammmiches this week. Yummmm!. My favorite so far is Eva Purple Ball. Unblemished, not very acidic, meaty. Tigerelle has rather small green striped fruit that split around the middle. Won't grow them again. Amana Orange is very flavorful and quite large but cracks at the top which lets in rots pretty quickly. Speaking of rot... we've been having very humid weather with afternoon storms almost every day for the past 10 days or so. I'm not complaining about the rain because we are still in a rainfall deficit here. But these are prime conditions for tomato leaf blight which is busting out all over the plants. I brewed some compost tea over night to spray on the tomato plants to suppress the blight but it has been raining all day so far so i can't spray. The tea is only good for 12 more hours so i hope it stops raining soon otherwise i'll have to brew some more tomorrow. In the mean time the blight is spreading by the force of the raindrops.