An infectious fungus is killing off tomato crops in Essex County. Scientist’s blame the quick spread of a disease called “late blight” on the summer’s cold and wet weather. Janice LeBoeuf is a Vegetable Crops Specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. She says there’s not much farmers can do to protect their tomatoes, outside of applying fungicide.
“For gardeners, if they see it they can [pull out] the plants and bury them or seal them in plastic bags and that prevents the spores from getting out and attacking more plants. But often even the plants without symptoms may already have the beginnings of an infection.”
LeBoeuf says the disease this year is the worst she’s ever seen it in Essex County. She’s says she expects up to 10-percent of the area’s tomato crops will be lost.