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Our tomatoes have the blight *again*! We got new dirt for our potted toms, and washed out the pots, but we didn’t use bleach or any other disinfectant, and I guess that was our mistake. Our beautiful tomatoes are infected again. We have two plants that are potted in entirely new pots, so we’re hoping that they don’t have it. But it could have jumped.

I was already getting excited for our 200-plus tomatoes and all of the meal planning and recipe research, and then, disappointment.

We are trying to chalk it up to learning, but when the grocery store tomatoes and even the farmers market tomatoes leave much to be desired, we are once again…..sad tomatoes.

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2010 tomatoes

Originally uploaded by chifoodies

Our tomatoes are here! We ordered six heirloom plants from Seeds of Change this year. From left to right (variety in parenthesis), we have Goldie (yellow perfection), Xavier (marvel striped), Paul (Paul Robeson), Cal (red calabash), Tilda (German queen), and Malachi (Amish paste). We’re hoping for some fruit in late July. We can’t wait!

Well, it is Spring again, and we’re ready for planting. Last year, our tomatoes sadly failed, succumbing to the blight that was harming so many others across the country. So, I did a little research and reached out to my Twitter and Facebook community, asking for advice. What I have gathered so far is that this year, blight shouldn’t pose a problem. A gardener on Twitter advised me to throw out the soil in our pots and start over. I wonder what we would have to do if we had planted in the ground! We’re playing it safe and dumping out the dirt and starting out with fresh potting soil.

This year, instead of going to a big box store, we ordered seedlings from Seeds of Change, some heirloom tomatoes and with some herbs (thyme, chives, bay, sage, oregano, and rosemary). They arrived yesterday. We got all ¬†of the rest of our supplies today, so tomorrow we plant. It has been unseasonably cool here in Chicago this year, but I think we’re safe now, and we can safely plant our babies without fear of frost.

With luck, by mid-summer we will be harvesting some Yellow Perfection!

I am sad to report that all three of our tomato plants have the blight. I mentioned this to a colleague at work, and she knew immediately that we had purchased them at a big box store, and confirmed that she had heard this from other friends.

We’re sad.

So now I need to do a little more research to find out how to properly dispose of them, because I hear the fungus is really contagious. Do we need to throw out the dirt in the pots and start all over?
To be continued. Next year, for sure, we are growing from seed.

Well, I think Floyd and Clyde are pretty well toast. Clyde for sure is done for, and I don’t have much hope for Floyd, though he doesn’t look quite as bad with the blight.

Myrtle, on the other hand, had some spots on her leaves, but so far the fruit looks healthy. I learned from articles I have been reading that you can fight the blight if you break off infected branches from the stalk early enough. However, one article did caution that if you clip off too many, you risk killing the whole plant.

So this morning I figured I had nothing to lose, so I attempted to clip the ugly-looking leaves and stems to see if there is any possibility of saving some of the fruit. I will report back here our results in a few weeks. I am sad, but determined to learn what we can so that we can have greater success next year.

Meanwhile, our basil is looking quite handsome, and I think we will soon need to harvest it and make lots of pesto and freeze it for some quick winter meals.


Sad Tomato

Originally uploaded by chifoodies

We are sad here at Sarah and Gillian’s Chicago Culinary Capers. Our tomatoes seem to be suffering from the blight that has been plaguing the east coast. Since we are new to gardening, we decided to get seedlings from a big box store at the advice of a friend. Everything looked great for the first few weeks, and we were really excited! We didn’t kill them! They were getting bigger and actually bearing fruit!

Sadly, we think that the seedlings were contaminated by the time we got them. I haven’t seen any news about the blight in the Midwest, but since we are growing them in pots I’m pretty certain that they’ve been infected all along. I was *so* looking forward to our first caprese salad from the garden. Alas, I think we’re going to have to get our tomatoes from the Green City Market.

We’ll try again next year, this time growing from seed.


Floyd bears the first fruit

Originally uploaded by chifoodies

I know, it’s silly, but we named our tomato plants. We’re so excited that we’re finally cultivating green thumbs, and that our little porch plantings are not only surviving, but thriving this summer! We have three tomato plants, Floyd, Clyde, and Myrtle, and Floyd bore this beautiful little green baby last week. We couldn’t be more proud! We also have buxom basil, flourishing parsley, terrific thyme and tarragon, and awesome oregano. Oh, and a little mint plant we call Mindy. We are eagerly anticipating some delicious caprese salads in a couple of weeks. Yum!