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Now and then MOFGA organizes "Growers’ Meetings," and this year we had a meeting about growing tomatoes in high tunnels.

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Participants in MOFGA’s 2012 Spring Growth Conference learned about field- and hoophouse-grown tomatoes, including some nitty-gritty details from growers that help ensure success with the crop.

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‘Mountain Magic’ tomato is resistant to late blight. It produces tasty fruit and can be used as rootstock onto which scions of other varieties are grafted.

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Trouble with late blight? Try growing ‘Defiant’ and ‘Legend’ tomatoes.

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Early and late blights caused heavy mortality of tomato plants due to Maine’s extremely long wet spells over the 2008 summer. Yields were much reduced and sometimes nonexistent. Even very experienced gardeners had problems. Using the following method, we saw little blight of consequence until mid-September, and yields were substantial.

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Research paper: A field-grown transgenic tomato line expressing higher levels of polyamines reveals legume cover crop mulch-specific perturbations in fruit phenotype.

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Trees and other perennials are often grafted, but is it worth the time and labor to graft annuals? Cary Rivard is trying find that out with his Southern SARE Graduate Student project under the direction of Frank Louws at North Carolina State University (NCSU.

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Hoop housesI pick my first truly vine ripened tomato in June, and I thank Otho Wells, who was (before he retired) the Extension Specialist in New Hampshire, for dispelling my inkling to move to warmer climates.  He taught us all how to bring a warmer climate to our tomato plants and still grow them to bear all the nutrition and flavor of garden tomatoes. He introduced hoophouses to New England, calling them "high tunnels," because that is all they are.

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Early blight on tomatoesSome farmers and gardeners like to use the same ground year after year for their tomatoes. Often this works, but often it doesn’t – most commonly because of a few tomato diseases that overwinter on crop debris. The most common disease in the Northeast that leads to a tomato crop failure is early blight. In this article I will point out similarities and differences between early blight and two other tomato diseases that are commonly confused with it, late blight and septoria leaf spot.

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Tunnels and greenhouses are now being used widely to produce early and often blemish free tomatoes. However, high humidity is difficult to avoid under plastic, and it creates an ideal environment for fungal diseases that can spread very quickly and cause widespread damage. Two common diseases of tomatoes in tunnels are gray mold and white mold (also called stem rot), which are caused by two fungus species, Botrytis cinerea and Sclerotina sclerotiorum, respectfully. The similarities and differences in the biology of the pathogens is interesting, and an understanding will help growers control problems.

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Nutrition, weather conditions, sunlight and other environmental and cultural factors can influence the health of tomato plants. Here are some common problems.

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