-Daphne Gooding- Grow Appalachia Big Ugly

When David Cook was here for part of a day, I learned an awful lot about the garden. One of the ideas he discussed was varieties.  My recollection was that he said “It’s all about the varieties.”  I have already started re-reading the catalogues for varieties that are resistant to diseases and other problems.  We had primarily looked for organically produced seed and open pollinated varieties.  Here on Big Ugly it is very damp at times and the hollow is deep and steep.  Air flow can be poor unless the wind blows in the same direction as the hollow.  That is a prime recipe for fungal and bacterial disease.

What's left after downy mildew.

What’s left after downy mildew.

Trying to sterilize the soil and kill everything is not an option. We already know that destroying the balance of the biodiversity is counterproductive.  That balance is still recovering in many places where conventional agricultural practices were used.  We have to bridge the gap between correct balance and current conditions.  Resistant varieties can help.

Neem oil fungicide.

Neem oil fungicide.

As I look over the varieties we used, I can see advantages and disadvantages. The Brandywine tomatoes were some of the first to be hit by the fungal disease.  They never recovered.  The Cherokee Purple and Black from Tula (a Russian variety) also were hard hit and never recovered.  The Amish Paste tomatoes were hit, but after Neem treatment they recovered and still produced.  Amish Paste tomatoes were definitely superior to the Roma’s we grew last year.  The fruit was larger and more uniformly ripened.  The best producing tomatoes were the Black Cherry tomatoes.  The same was true about the Chocolate Cherry tomatoes we grew last year.  I am still enjoying the cherry tomatoes each day.

Next year we definitely need to consider the disease resistant qualities of the varieties as well as the other qualities.