Saturday, June 27, 2015

Surveying the damage

The title was a little over the top, but the weather for the last two weeks has not been plant friendly.  Too much rain and  too little sun is not only adverse to photosynthesis and growth, but is conducive to fungal diseases.  Today it looks like the wet weather is finally clearing out and things may dry out.  I'm sick and tired of walking through wet grass and avoiding mud. 

The garlic was knocked over by the storms a week ago.  Before the most recent storms marched through I tried digging a few of them up but so much wet soil came up with the roots it just seemed futile.  It's going to take a while before the ground dries out enough to get the garlic out, if it hasn't rotted out. 

The last set of cole crops is not doing very well.  I set out four sets of cole crops this year, about 18 days apart.  The first three sets were outstanding.  This one not so much.  It was probably the heat wave several weeks ago followed by the sunless cool weather that set them back.  There's a Green Magic broccoli that is forming up a small head. It's leaves are mostly brown around the edges.  An adjacent Aspabroc broccoli  never gave me anything, it went to the rabbits.  The lone kohlrabi has taken entirely too long to size up.  I'm sure it's woody.  Also one for the rabbits.   There's a cabbage tucked under the broccoli that just might give me a head once the broccoli is out.

Once the last cole crops and the row of carrots are out, in about a week, I'll seed the bed with berseem clover.  This is a new strategy in the garden.  I'm hoping the clover will fix some nitrogen in the soil and provide rabbit forage in the bargain.

The winter squash are really late getting started, but I can see they are growing.  Some decent weather and they should take off.  This was another experiment with field peas as a cover crop.  I don't know if the field peas really held them back.  I pulled up a lot of the peas to feed the rabbits when I should have been cutting them with shears, and weeds set in, lots of weeds, which I've been pulling up for days.  With some sunshine it looks like the squash is about to shade out the weeds.

A few more of the Super San Marzano tomatoes have gotten blossom end rot, but most of the newly formed tomatoes appear to be free of BER.  The real problem with the tomatoes, and potatoes, is blight, a result of the cloudy wet weather.  The slicing tomatoes  - Grandma's Pick, Granny Smith and Big Beef - have been more affected than the sauce tomatoes.  I've been removing lower leaves affected with blight and have sprayed the plants twice with Mancozeb.  I plan to spray one more time.  None of the synthetic fungicides are completely safe to use.  I chose Mancozeb because it breaks down very quickly, is not systemic and is effective against blights and rusts. 

The Big Beef tomato on the right looks skeletal from removal of blighted foliage.  I'm hoping it recovers.

I posted recently about removing flower buds from young plants so the growth would not be hindered because so much of the plant's energy was going into forming fruit.  That strategy seems to have worked well for the pickling cucumbers.  The plants are up to the top of the trellis, and a few days ago there were enough cukes to make three quarts of dill pickles.  It will be about a week before any more cucumbers are ready to pick, and that's what I want, cucumbers that mature in batches for pickling.  Here's an example of a plant whose buds should have been thinned.  It's an Alma paprika with way too many peppers for the size of the plant.  I may try pickling these peppers when they are ripe.

That's where the vegetable garden is at the end of June.  It has been a very productive late spring with a bit of a slowdown in June.  I'm hoping that more normal summer weather will get things back on track.


Mark Willis said...

If your variety of blight is like ours, there is probably little hope for the tomatoes. :( Having said that, I am placing a lot of faith in some new allegedly blight-resistant varieties this year, so we shall see...
You are right about thinning the fruit. A small number of good fruits is better than loads of mediocre ones, but it needs self-discipline to accept that!

Daphne Gould said...

I hope you get some nice weather for a while. I keep hoping for rain and we got some last night. It always seems to be either too much rain or too little.

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