Or on your tomatoes, thanks to “Southern growers” and according to The New York Times. I was alerted to the tomato pandemic via a bit in the Arkansas Times, and while there are no fingers specifically pointing Arkansasward, we know who they mean.
We’ve unwittingly contributed to the disaster by shipping plants to unsuspecting northern farmers who, if you can believe such rumors, actually grow tomatoes for sale. Why anyone would want a tomato grown in outdoor temperatures of less than 105 degrees is beyond me. That’s like importing watermelons from Canada. Ridiculous.
I guess we know how to get even, though. The NY Times says,
“According to plant pathologists, this killer round of blight began with a widespread infiltration of the disease in tomato starter plants. Large retailers like Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart bought starter plants from industrial breeding operations in the South and distributed them throughout the Northeast. (Fungal spores, which can travel up to 40 miles, may also have been dispersed in transit.) Once those infected starter plants arrived at the stores, they were purchased and planted, transferring their pathogens like tiny Trojan horses into backyard and community gardens.”
I can envision thousands those baby Arkansas plants flinging killer spores like confetti-tears all the way to New Jersey. Sounds more like a pitiful cry for help. Remember Hansel and Gretel and those breadcrumbs? Exactly.
So does this leave us tomatoless down here? Hmmm….
“So what’s going on here? Plant physiologists use the term “disease triangle” to describe the conditions necessary for a disease outbreak. You need the pathogen to be present (that’s the late blight), you need a host (in this case tomatoes and potatoes) and you need a favorable environment for the disease — for late blight that’s lots of rain, moderate temperatures and high humidity.”
The emphasis is mine. Clearly, if God meant for tomatoes to flourish in places like Vermont she would’ve turned up the heat considerably. In fact, I suspect this may be God’s way of telling those folks to grow Brussels sprouts instead.
There’s talk that we might have a shortage down here, but barring some apocalyptic meteor-disaster climate change or salmonella outbreak, anyone living in Arkansas could reasonably put in a few plants right now and harvest tomatoes clear through Halloween. How’s that for trick or treat?