Wednesday, August 01, 2012

your neighbors are probably right {a garden update}

On July 1st, I surveyed my garden's progress after just returning from a long vacation. Some plants didn't fare well without being watered (hehem, poor strawberries), but luckily it rained a good bit while I was away so most plants looked good. My neighbor behind us saw me eating a cherry tomato (yay, tomatoes already! was what I was thinking) and said "Yawh gettin' one or two now, but you won't have enough for a salad until August." Pish posh, said I. I'll have tons of tomatoes before then.

Chocolate peppers

It turns out he was right! Glancing out my window this morning, I realized it is now August, and I have just enough tomatoes for a first salad. Trust the locals, y'all. In less exciting news, my zucchini and squash plants are all but dead. I've seen squash bugs on them rarely, so I didn't think it was a problem, but it turns out they hide during the day so you have to go out there first thing to see them.

Root of a newly deceased squash plant. Cause of death: bugs. I think.

My leaves had began yellowing at first, which I thought was just underwatering, but it turns out it was probably the first sign of trouble. Organic mulch is their preferred habitat, so I was likely my own culprit by surrounding each plant with fresh compost. Oh well, next year I'll go for straw and leaves.

One plant might survive? It remains to be seen.

For now, I'm pulling up the dead plants and considering what to put down in their place. Cucumbers or carrots? It seems cucumbers can encounter the same bug trouble as squash, so I'm leaning toward carrots.

Anyone know why each stem is black on my peppers?
Meanwhile, the potted herbs out front are doing quite well. 

I water them daily and fertilize every two weeks, and I occasionally prune them and make pesto and/or dry them in paper bags. I opted to replace the dead strawberries and sunflowers with lavender and dill to round out my herb garden. So far, they are the much easier, more satisfying, and cheaper of the gardening experiences this year. 

The cat is inspecting my work.

Hopefully in future years my vegetable gardening knowhow will grow and allow me some better success. For now, Vivi and I are grinning at our basket of cherry tomatoes that will make a refreshing summer salad tonight.

Previewing next week's score. Whoa!

How is your garden growing?

Editor's note: This post is part of The Homestead Barn Hop and The Morristribe Homesteader Blog Carnival.


Becky Elmuccio said...

We are in cherry tomato heaven right now too. So jealous that your herbs are doing well. The excessive heat made mine bite the dust this summer.

Babci said...

Looks like rot . Not your fault , it rained and was warm so fungus may have gotten it . What does an organic gardener do about fungus ? Hmm....I'll look into that .

Emily Sefcik said...

Ugh. Squash bugs. Gross. They got my zucchini and yellow squash the first to rounds of gardening here in Texas and I had no idea what happened until the second time when I actually saw the grub in the stalk of the dying plant. It made me gag a bit. So...we skipped squash this summer. Perhaps I'll try again next time but I've heard they're harder to get rid of once you've already had them so I need to do more research...Glad everything else looks fantastic!

Babci said...

With an organic garden I would think you do the best you can to keep the plants healthy and hope they can fend off the bugs . The organic spray for fungus is baking soda and water ! I mentioned the possibility of fungus because of the grayish looking leaves . Remove those leaves on the remaining plant , those spores will spread . Diseased plants are prone to insect infestation .

hobomama said...

Your tomatoes are much further along than ours! Last year I was harvesting the bulk of ours in November. It's finally gotten hot here, though, so maybe soon-ish?

If it's fungus, I've heard you can spray diluted milk on the leaves. Go figure!

D M Roudebush said...

Don't use straw,we did and the squash bugs loved hiding in it! They got our zucchini and pumpkins both. I waited too long to act and lost all the plants.I will be more prepared next year!

Alice said...

Your tomatoes look amazing! I'm having so much trouble with mine this year. Fungus. Also, I tried the chocolate peppers and got nothing! That said, my squash are doing great. It seems to me that some years one thing will thrive and another wont and the next year it's different and you never know. As for planting carrots now, they take quite a long time, I would think it's a little late- beans on the other hand grow fast and usually wont let you down. I love everyone's comments about the fungus treatments- I need it for my cukes- they are a sad, sad case.


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