How quickly we can go from drought to deluge. It has been raining almost every day; and the garden is showing both the positive and negative effects of this.
Let’s go ahead and cover the “challenges” first:
Spots on Cherry Tomato leaves: I have no clue. Nitrogen issues, Blight, Over-watering? I haven’t had time to delve into it; but I did cut off most of the damage. The plant is still cranking out cherry tomatoes, so we’ll watch and wait.
The stem has a white fuzzy growth, which screams “fungus” to me. Since these photos were taken, things appear to have improved. I’ll focus on this more when I get a chance.
Pale Celery. I’m pretty sure this has to do with the haphazard transplanting I did. I did fertilize last week and after last Sunday’s Atomic Grow™ application they greened up considerably.
Pale Red Pepper leaves. Possibly root-bound, over-watered or underfertilized. I’ll try to help this plant this week. It is still making peppers, so I think it will be OK.
The pickleworms are back, and are now attacking the broccoli. The advice that I have found is to either poison with pesticide or give up the idea of gardening in the summer. Well, I’m too stubborn for that. The unfortunate part is that by the time I find them, they have destroyed an entire stem. I have begun to alternate between pinching them to death, and leaving the leaf intact and dousing the entry hole with Atomic Grow™. Atomic Grow™ is not a pesticide, but it makes insects pretty miserable, so it’s worth a shot.
Entrance hole with frass (poop).
It’s not all bad news. When I first discovered these little monsters, some were already dead and rotting inside their hidey holes. I hope they died from alcohol poisoning as an effect of the increased sugars the plant produces on Atomic Grow™. I sprayed everything today and will update when something happens.
Squash Bugs. Shown here on the cucumber plant. I suspect they are responsible for the sick watermelon vine that is not doing well at all. In honor of their name I have been busily squashing them. Feel free to drop by and stomp to your heart’s content. We’ve got plenty to go around!
Harlequin Bug. Isn’t she Pretty? Pretty evil! See that shriveled up broccoli leaf? Thanks a lot you little six-legged piece of abstract art with sucking mouth parts! She is now a “Mashed Bug”, too.
Are you impressed that I knew it was a female? It wasn’t hard, since she left her Beetlejuice-looking eggs under another leaf. I did a lot of squashing that day.
One more downer and then I’ll move on to the good stuff. The three baby cucumbers I got excited about all shriveled up like this. Yes, that really sucks. However, I did some research tonight and learned that female cucumber flowers do this when not properly pollinated. Even though it looks like a cucumber, it is still waiting to snuggle with a bee as long as the flower is there. I figure that since these babies were buried under the big, lush leaves they didn’t get to meet up with the pollinators. I have since learned how to pollinate with an artist’s brush whenever I find one of these little gals. Speaking of sex…don’t go away. There is some sex at the end of this post.
Good news and bad news: The bananas are still doing their thing; but there are only going to be six. All of the following flowers have dropped off. AJ has done some research and learned that the bananas are formed from female flowers, Usually there are multiple hands and then many rows of sterile flowers that drop off along the stem. I’m pretty sure I jinxed them by expecting a huge bunch of bananas. We figure this puny output has to do with lack of fertilizer and/or water. AJ is on the job and we will be working to ensure larger families in the future.
The muskmelons are doing great. Nothing would irk me more than to lose these to the squash vine borers (pickleworms). I learned online that covering the fruit can prevent the moths from laying eggs on them. Paper bags were mentioned, but seemed to be messy and to fall apart when wet. Not a good option for rainy Florida.
Then I found a blog by someone using pantyhose to protect her melons. Best use of pantyhose ever! I have covered a couple of the largest muskmelons and will track their progress in relation to the uncovered ones. So far, so good.
Despite the pest problems, the broccoli is still going strong. I don’t know whether or not I will get any broccoli, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
The baby heirloom tomatoes are getting big. I have got to get these things planted ASAP!
Pole beans are finally starting to climb. So far, these are the most perplexing of all my crops. They have taken off this week, so maybe there is still hope.
Here is a detail of The Oasis last night, showing the Poblanos, Tomatoes and Carrots.
This is the Poblano on the left before we went out of town. It grew quite a bit while we were gone.
Despite the issues, the Cherry Tomatoes continue to proliferate.
The regular tomatoes also continue to thrive. I counted over sixty on this trellis today.
June 3rd’s Harvest
The Oasis as it greeted us on Sunday.
O2. Both beds are looking a bit overgrown, as the lettuce is going to seed and the tomatoes are completely out of control. I’m formulating the next phase, once the lettuce plants are removed. Be sure to read the Palmarosa post for some great news about seeds I was given by my cousin Alan.
The mystery guests are growing up fast. One day soon, you’ll be looking back and reminiscing about how it seems like only yesterday that they looked just like bird poop. They will move past this awkward stage within a week or so.
And last but not least…
“Birds do it, bees do it, lizards on the trees do it.” Or something like that.