Archive for the ‘disease’ Category

Mums the word Monday, October 18th, 2010

There are a few last spots of color to greet the cooling air and longer nights. Mums and asters continue their show with a rainbow of colors. Asters tend to come in cooler colors – purples, blues and pinks. Mums pick up the warmer spectrum – orange, burgundy, yellow, red and white. I have a purple aster and a burgundy mum.

My aster has gotten a disease I’m afraid, the leaves are turning yellow and rusty with some black spots and the flowers are mangled looking. I believe it is either a rust or fungus of sorts. A quick Googling of this has made me decide it is not “aster yellows” which tends to change the color of the flowers and can affect more than just asters, like coneflowers. I’ll have to watch it and make a point to check margins, veining and where on the plant it stops or starts.

My mum is has pretty blooms on top but is quite scraggly toward the bottom. To keep perennial mugs in better shape I should have cut them back mid-summer. This causes the plant to keep a more compact and less floppy shape. Of course I’m on the shoulda-coulda-woulda side of things so I’ll make a note for next year. For now, I’ll just cut a few for a cute arrangement on my desk.

Huge mysteries Thursday, July 1st, 2010
A slew of volunteer squash and pumpkins have popped up this summer.

Huge, as in, gigantor leaves. This leaf is from a volunteer plant that sprouted up between our cucumbers and potatoes. It’s soon to take over the world and I can’t help but call her Audrey II.

Volunteer leaf is HUGE

It’s in about the same place that we had heirloom pumpkins and hubbard squash – both I’ve planted again this year, on purpose, but neither have this size of leaves. Aaah, Mother Nature is trying to one up me.

Another mystery is what is going on with an heirloom pumpkin’s leaves. The main veins of the leaf have turned dry and rotting. So far my limited research has come up with nothing. The one similar photo I found was also labeled, “Pumpkin leaf with mystery virus” – uh, thanks. I’ll have to get back to you on this one. I’m even more disappointed by the fact that I rotated my crops so my diseases/blights/rots/etc. would be limited. You have a bigger chance for diseases when you plant the same things in the same spots year after year. Guess I’ll have to continue on with my research  – so far there is only one plant showing signs.

Mystery leaf disease on Pumpkin

Bedding down Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

raised garden beds

It’s June 1 and most of the garden is in. The Hubs is supposed to turn a corner of it yet for squash, pumpkin and beans.

In the 3 raised beds:

  1. Onions (Vidalia & Walla Walla?), buttercrunch head lettuce, Okra and soybean (edamame).
  2. Tomatoes, 8 (or whatever seedling survivors I had), purple basil, globe basil, parsley seeds.
  3. Peppers, 6 (some hot, some not?), with a little room leftover to plant . . . ?

The other ground level part of the garden has potatoes (red and yellow), watermelon, cucumber, louffa gourd and a couple volunteer squash/pumpkin (it’s fun to see what makes it through on Mother Nature Alone).

It my daughters bed we’ve been able to harvest radishes and a few salads worth of spinach. The sweet peas, chard and carrots are coming up too, along with a few more heads of buttercrunch.

What I’m concentrating on this year:

  • Weeding a little every day. My scuffle hoe is the best with little weeds, it just scrapes them to smithereens.
  • Sowing, planting in succession. Staggering planting times helps stagger harvest times too.
  • Thinning. Hadn’t done a lot in the past but it really helps with plant health, shape, harvest and weeding. So I’ve kept a buffer zone in between plants.
  • Turning the compost. I usually go with a long composting schedule – I just let it lay and only use it once a year. This year I’m trying to increase its turnover by actually turning it. The better circulation increases it’s breakdown speed.
Garden plans Friday, January 15th, 2010

Whether you are just starting out or are a garden pro (are any of us?!) it does one good to start garden plans early.

If you’ve gardened before, think back about what worked and didn’t as far as layout.

  • Were things too crowded
  • Too spread out
  • Too far from a water source
  • Could you not get to your peppers because of the jungle of raspberries

Taking note of these items always helps to improve on the coming growing season.

If you are new or like things orderly – here are a couple good sources for planning.

The square foot garden is great for beginners and those with limited space.

This garden-planning helper is just plain fun to dink around with.

At any rate – make sure your garden is:

  • By a water source
  • Away from fence lines – neighbors have been known to get carried away with weed killer so keeping your edibles a bit away from property lines will help ensure their survival
  • Little plants can get big fast so don’t think you can cram too much into a small space – then nothing does well
  • Low-lying areas can mean wet feet (rot, mildew) for plants so opt for higher ground
  • Vegetable gardens need a lot of sun – so stay away from big trees (which can also suck up all the moisture) or north and west sides of any structures
Blight Bites Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Tomatoes have succumb to late blight in large numbers. The culprit: cold and wet. Leaves and stems are covered with blackish spots. Leaves shrivel and fruit either molds on the vine or gets riddled with grey, inedible, corky spots. Early blight – a common tomato ailment usually affect the bottom most leaves initially which can be removed and many times the fruit goes unharmed. Early blight is due to using the same spot for growing tomatoes too many years in a row and because of poor cleanup in between seasons. This late blight will also stay in the ground so it’s best to find a new spot next year. Both blights come from a fungus in the dirt – the dirt gets splashed up the plant during rain or overhead sprinkling. Mulching can also hasten splash-up. Fungus has really loved this cooler, consistently-wet summer. I’m just glad The Hub decided to yank all but 1 tomato plant because of slugs – another lover of cool and wet. Now our unharmed tomatoes wait patiently in the sun to warm their skins to rosy, red, orange and yellow.