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!".


Ed said...

Never heard of curly top disease and I hope the winters are too harsh up here for whatever bug that carries it to migrate. We have enough problems with other pests.

Unless you have a greenhouse up here, it is almost impossible to grow tomatoes by seed so almost everyone up here buys small plants from the store. We used to get them at the local grocery store and other box store in the spring but they were always disease ridden and never did very well. A couple years ago we went to the local small mom and pop tree nursery which also carries them in the spring and they have done much better.

There are few foods up here that everyone grows in their gardens and I can almost guarantee that before the summer is out, they will be giving them away by the bushel. Squash is one of those along with tomatoes and cucumbers. The only reason we grow our own on my parents farm is so I can control the variety.

Gin said...

It's a given that having a garden equals having problems of some kind. For me this year it's deer. Among other things, they ate the tomatoes, the largest ones that would have been the first to ripen. I love venison, but unfortunately I live in town...a no hunting zone. We're doing the cayenne spray bit accompanied by hanging sweaty t-shirts around the yard hoping that between the two approaches, we'll get something from the garden.

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

Wow, Gin, I never heard of the sweaty t-shirt trick - seems like it would work! If needed, I'll be happy to send some of my hubby's golf shirts - they REEK!
Annie - I'm sorry to hear about your garden troubles - the last set of pics were just so lovely, and everything seemed to be just peachy. Maybe things will come out fig-y instead, and still to a good end. Love the flowers, though!
Thinking positive thoughts for you ~

pamit said...

Annie, all this rain (Colorado is SOAKED) is sure bringing out the pests, ain't it? My garden is way behind yours but I expect to see a lot of issues so it's nice to be reminded about marigolds and such. So far, the rabbits have so much grass and clover to eat they seem to be staying away from my columbines. --I do see a few potato beetles every year too - Colorado is a big potato state, though I don't grow them. I always hate to kill potato beetles because they are so pretty. Lots of good snakes around this year to keep the voles down. Ah, the yin and yang of the food web :-)

edifice rex said...

Hey Ed! Yeah, hopefully that bug will not bother ya'll! what a pisser to lose that many tomato plants. My squash plants are now producing something..I'm curious to see what it will be.

Hey Gin! Well, I'd have that problem too (although we can hunt them here) if we didn't fence the garden so we bit that bullet from the start.

Hey sis! Oh, things will come out fine! We'll still have plenty of crops one way or another.

Hey Pam! Yeah, it's always a give and take. I don't know if it's the rain this year bringing out the bugs or just our year for crap. lol!

HermitJim said...

Sorry to hear of the bugs around your plants. Sometimes we can't seem to win for losing!

Still, maybe you'll get enough to make it worth while.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you have some great muscles. I wish your body would behave for you.
Delighted the magnesium is working better for you. Hang in there.
I still read, your blog, but don't always comment. My compouter throws fits as well as my wifi lately. I didn't even try and garden this year. Too much rain ruined mine last year. I did give some zinnia seeds and gourds a try. We shall see.

Hang in there. I read you, Julie Zickefoose and Florida Cracker. Love your blogs.

ErinFromIowa said... Fig podcast!

edifice rex said...

Hey Jim! Oh yeah, we'll get plenty one way or another!

Hey anon! thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoy the blog! Sorry to hear your garden has been so crappy the past couple of years.
I wish my body would behave too but if it doesn't I'll kick it's butt! lol!

Hey Erin! Great interview!! I enjoyed that! We are trying Celeste now although we've always had good luck with Brown Turkeys.

Anonymous said...

It's always something in a garden. I have really pulled back on my response to alien invasions to the garden. I'm not spraying anything anymore and have very sparingly used the diatomaceous earth. It just seems that there are cycles that will run regardless of my intervention. Pruning away wilt on tomatoes should still give you a very healthy bunch of fruit this early in the year.

edifice rex said...

Hey Woody! Well, this isn't wilt, unfortunately. A few of the plants had set fruit already and I let them go for a while just to see what they would do. but they did just what the article said: the fruit stunted and got hard as a rock. The plants and tomatoes just basically sat there, no growth, no nothing. So I just pulled them all up.
I quit spraying pretty much anything also. Mainly due to laziness but yeah, it doesn't seem to do much good anyway. The birds take care of a lot for me. I will spray a little Neem oil sometimes or Pyola if it's a crop I really treasure.