Getting Ready to Sprout – Blair County

Although the 2009 growing season was marked by severe blight that destroyed several crops, including tomatoes, people are looking forward to planting their gardens this year.

“They’re all hoping it’s not going to happen again,” Don Leidig with Leidig’s Farms in Warriors Mark said. “I think everybody’s excited about planting stuff. They’re stopping and looking. I think the garden’s going to be a big thing again.”

Leidig said he hopes that the fungal blight that developed on tomatoes, potatoes and petunias last year didn’t survive the long, hard winter. The weather’s already more normal than last year’s rainy spring, Leidig added.

That weather is a double-edged sword, said Tom Ford, Blair County extension director and area educator for commercial horticulture.

“It’s always sort of disconcerting when April has been as dry as it’s been,” Ford said, adding that heavy rains like the ones at the end of the month can increase the amount of blight infections in products. “It’s a little too early to tell.”

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