Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Tomato Scarce Summer for the Northeast

The Northeastern US is suffering from a huge tomato crop loss this year. This great op-ed by Dan Barber does a good job of outlining the causes and consequences of the tomato blight.

There's a lot of lessons to be learned here but one huge takeaway for me is to be conscientious about where you get those seeds and seedlings you're planting in your backyard garden. Some quick tips:
  • Try going to your local farmers' market for seedlings sown by local farmers, they'll probably be the ones that work best in your micro climate too!
  • Next stop should be your local nursery--if they don't have veggie starts ask them to start carrying them, a lot of nurseries are just getting started with this. (for Bay Area gardeners I've found good starts at SF's Sloat, Three Bees, Hortica on Castro may have them too. Berkeley's Spiral Gardens is a superstar.)
  • Buy seeds from local sources that have organic and heirloom seed varieties. I still need to work on finding more sources in my area but here are a few I've found: Sustainable Seed Company based in CA and Territorial Seed based in OR
  • If you can't get them there, try places like Seed Saver's Exchange and Native Seed/SEARCH.
  • Learn how to save your own seed!
  • Make your garden a diverse one.

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