It’s always something in the garden. I lost one of the zucchini plants this week. The whole top half of the plant suddenly died off. Some folks will be thinking “squash vine borer” but the dreaded SVB is rarely a problem here and besides, SVB damage is pretty easy to spot. Bacterial wilt is a lot more common, but this wasn’t a case of that either. After examining the stem closely, and finding no evidence of SVBs, it looks like mechanical damage. The stem of the plant was soft and had a rotten smell, but there were no signs of insects or disease. It looks like the stem of the plant split, possibly due to wind, and rot set in. With 7 inches of rain falling last week, conditions were certainly favorable for rot.
Fortunately the rest of the squash plants look good at this point. I haven’t even seen squash bugs yet, though I’m sure they will appear soon.
Right next door to the dead zucchini plant is the bed where sweet potatoes are growing. This year I decided to interplant some of those with lettuce, and that experiment seems to be going quite well. You can see the crisphead Sierra starting to head up in the below photo. The lettuce should be out before the sweet potato vines take over, and I’ll get two crops in one space. Sweet!
A few doors down, the broccoli patch is not doing all that great. The Gypsy variety is heading up, but the heads are not exactly the greatest looking I’ve ever grown. As I’ve said before, the fall planting of broccoli usually does much better here.
Just a few feet down from them we have the runty plants of the Packman variety. It usually does well here, but not this time. It’s been 70 days since I set out the plants, and we have a little button for a head! We’ll see how it does this fall. Last year Imperial, Diplomat and Green Magic did the best in fall, followed by Packman and Arcadia. I also grow the ‘broccolini’ type Apollo. This year I dropped Arcadia, and I’d like to narrow the field down to two or three varieties that consistently do well here. Next spring I may experiment with an early type like Blue Wind.
Nearby the broccoli are the bush beans. Last year I thought I had a problem with striped bean/cucumber beetles. I now know they are pigweed flea beetles, and they actually don’t do any damage to beans or cucumbers, though they love amaranth. They are also very picky about which plants they do eat. In the below photo they have reduced one of the pigweeds to lace, but the lamb’s quarters (and bean plant) next to it is untouched! Too bad we don’t have a bug that feeds on Bermuda grass, or some of our other favorite weeds!
Speaking of bugs, the Japanese beetles have arrived right on schedule. One favorite hangout is the top level of the pole beans, which they seem to use as a speed dating site. I’ll have to start my daily trips out there with a container of soapy water. The pole beans are starting to bloom, which is a welcome sight.
Also pretty much on schedule, the eggplants are blooming and starting to set fruit. That’s the Millionaire variety in the below photo.
I’ll close with something else that’s sweet, figuratively speaking. Many of the hostas are blooming now. I regularly spray Liquid Fence deer repellent on the hostas to keep the deer from eating them up. They really love to eat the blooms, and they seldom last very long before they are eaten up. That’s the huge Big Daddy variety blooming in the below photo. It and several other hostas are planted around the base of our giant mulberry tree.
That’s it for now. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from HA. And if you are a gardener, I hope your garden is giving you more ups than downs!