Sunday, May 17, 2009


To limit the spread of Early Blight to the tomatoes, I decided to pull all the potatoes this weekend. Also, I haven't seen evidence of blight on the potatoes, just the leaves, so I figured it was better to get them out now. Had we left them longer, we would have gotten more, but I think we did well anyway. We planted 12 pounds of seed potato and got 41.5 pounds back. Next year, I only want to plant Red La Sota potatoes--they gave us a MUCH higher yield (over 4 times what we planted, as opposed to barely 2 times what we planted on the White Kennebecs), and seem much more resistant to the blight.

For pest and disease control, I have been spraying everything with neem oil about once a month and spot treating where necessary once week. It has made a big big difference in pest control and I believe it's helping with the blight and powdery mildew too. I have gone out and cut diseased leaves off the tomato plants and removed them from the garden, but I haven't had to do as much of that as I usually do. We got a really really heavy rain yesterday, so it'll be interesting to see what sort of fungal problems crop up this week (the rain makes it all splash up from the soil).

Also an olla update: I give them two thumbs up and want to add more to the garden. The upside is that the plants in the olla bed are doing just as well, if not better than the other plants. The bed with the ollas has not been watered since the seedlings were transplanted and got established. I add water to them every day or every other day and find I end up using about 2 gallons of water over 6 ollas each time---this keeps twelve 3-4 foot tomato plants happy in 85-90 degree weather. It also greatly decreases the weeds in the bed. I'm only finding I need to pull weeds immediately around the ollas. The downsides are it's not fun to reach between the plants to fill them (I don't like the smell of tomato leaves) and occasionally I find spiders under the lids when I raise them. I don't have any good data or anything, but I'd say these save a significant amount of water, which also decreases the amount of rain water storage we need. I would like to have "real", larger ollas, but I'm not convinced the benefits of that outweigh the huge difference in cost.

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