By ROBERT S. MERRILL
A fungal disease has been officially confirmed in Franklin County for the first time ever and has the potential to impact home gardeners this coming spring.
Late blight, a disease that wiped out almost all potatoes in Ireland in the 1850s and caused widespread starvation, was confirmed by the University of Idaho in tomato plants from the Riverdale area.
A million people in Ireland starved and another million were forced to emigrate because of the disease. Entire potato crops rotted in the field or in storage because of late blight infection. As a result the population of the country was reduced by almost 25 percent. (See the full story in The Preston Citizen.)
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