My tomato plants grew like gangbusters during our cool, wet summer. They had a ton of fruit on them, but due to the weather the tomatoes were slow to ripen. About a week ago, I noticed they were starting to look funny. They were dying and covered with big black splotches. It turns out they have late blight, which I didn't know about but is a big problem on the east coast. It affects tomatoes and potatoes, and caused the Irish Potato Famine. It is very virulent, and although it usually dies off during the winter up north, it can survive in warmer climates, which leads to its spread.
Unbeknownst to me, it was spread by some tomato plants sold at Lowes. I bought one plant there a few weeks before. I have no way of knowing if I got one of the infected ones or if it just got spread by the wind- it's that contagious.
So I am left with a big empty space in my garden and some green tomatoes. Those of you who live in the Northeast, I recommend starting your own tomatoes from seed or buying them from local growers.