Thursday, June 11, 2015
Down With Disease
So, in keeping with the crappy crap going on around here I thought I'd post about the fact that my garden decided it needed to get in on the act. I've always done pretty well garden-wise and have rarely been plagued with armies of pests or disease the way some other bloggers seem to be, or make out to be anyway. So I guess my luck has run out. Ha! Oh, it's not awful but it can be discouraging.
The first thing I noticed were the tomato plants. They looked kinda, sorta wilted, but I knew that could not be the case. Then the leaves started curling up and twisting excessively towards the top of the plant. The odd twisting is what really told me something was bad wrong.
Later, it was obvious that the plants were stunted and the leaves began to get a purplish color in the veins. A little investigation turned up that this is, appropriately, "curly top disease." Apparently, this little leafhopper spreads the virus by only briefly landing on the plant and biting it. As far as I have been able to determine there is no treatment once the tomato plants are infected. Fortunately, the little leafhopper does not hang around long, preferring to eat other weeds, so it's common that only a section of plants may be infected and it does not spread plant to plant. Only the bug can spread it.
So, all of my tomatoes that we bought and planted are infected. Thankfully, that was not a huge amount this year. Some of them have still produced a few tomatoes but they say they will not taste very well. the saving grace in all of this (hopefully) is that I had a LOT of tomato volunteers come up in the garden this spring, apparently after the bug passed through. And thankfully, I did not rip them all out when weeding! So...we have been transplanting all those starts to rows and hopefully we will still be able to get a decent tomato harvest. Now, I only have a vague idea of what variety those starts may be but it will be good enough, as long as I get some home-grown tomatoes. They are going to come in late...but better than not at all.
I think I also told ya'll about the squash volunteers too. They are doing really well but I was wondering for a while if perhaps they were sterile hybrids that got in somehow. I don't plant hybrids but we may have inadvertently bought some in the off season and threw the scraps in the compost. They are now producing some type of squash vegetable, although it remains to be seen exactly what. I told Jack though, even if they are not yellow squash, you can't go anywhere around here without people trying to give or sell you yellow squash, so I don't think we'll do without. And I don't try to can or freeze it so no problem there either. This picture is old btw, and all the plants there are HUGE now. I'll try to get some more recent ones.
We've also been attacked by the potato beetles; first time for that too and most of my raspberries have died. I got the cabbage in WAY too late and it's all gone to chicken feed. One interesting fact in some of this is that I also noticed that this was the first year I did not plant oodles of marigolds in amongst my tomatoes and such at the same time the crops were planted. Coincidence?? Maybe. But I went and bought 2 big packs of marigolds yesterday. I was trying to get those planted this morning and a thunderstorm came up but they need to go in soon!
And, it also seems my biggest forsythia has some type of gall? About half the shrub is covered in this stuff with no leaves. I haven't taken the time to investigate it yet; maybe some of you know what it is? And if anything can be done? I was going to prune the hell out of it and burn the prunings.
But all is not lost. Most of my flowers are doing beautifully this year and we are going to have loads and loads of blueberries and possibly figs. The second planting of corn is doing great and so are the peas and green beans. Even my watermelon looks promising. My cantaloupes did not come up that I planted (old seeds) so I bought enough for 2 hills, so hopefully we'll get a few melons. The asparagus harvest was not too bad this year and it's spreading and growing.
And the baby chicks are doing really well. Mama Hen takes them out every day and seems to so enjoy having her babies. Our new little Silkies are also doing well although they still keep to themselves and are kinda hard to photograph.
So, I guess all things come and go in seasons and proves the old saying of "never put all your eggs in one basket!".