There are problems out in the veggie garden, and instead of hiding away from them, I’m going to elaborate. Because then you might learn from my mistakes or at least my lack of trying. I have spent enough time gardening (tacked on with a degree and work with the extension) that I know what is wrong with my plants. Knowing what is wrong doesn’t exactly mean that I can make everything green again. I remember in school someone once said that being a horticulturist doesn’t mean you never have plants get sick or die. It just means you throw them away without much thought when they do. Seriously, a great control measure when something isn’t doing well, is to get rid of it and don’t stress over the fact that it died. Just try something else.
My garden is weedy. The problem weeds are mostly all green foxtail, and I’m pretty sure the weed seeds are coming from the irrigation water. I’ve mostly given up, although sometimes I’ll start pulling weeds again. With the black plastic mulch on many of my plants, most of the weeds are growing in the furrows. It isn’t too terrible, and the plants are big enough to out compete the weeds.
I’ve already lost two squash plants to what I believe to be a stem rot. My guess is the soil got a bit too saturated several times, and the disease set in. I pulled up the plants immediately after they wilted, and the other vining plants are filling in. I have one squash plant that has beautiful, basketball sized squash on it, but the plant looks horrible. There are yellow or dead leaves everywhere. You can see the plant behind the sunflowers in the picture above. I think that the main problem is spider mites. I noticed them earlier, but didn’t do anything about it. Bad mistake. With the hot weather, the spider mites took off, and they are killing my squash plant. Not too happy about that. I am now doing what I should have done as soon as I noticed them: spraying the plants down with a hard stream of water. I’ve a little nervous to use insecticidal soaps or neem oil (two other main control measures) because of the hot temperatures (they can damage the plant when it is too hot) and I don’t have any on hand. I’ll stick to the daily hard stream of water and see how the plants do. (There is also the possibility that the plant got glyphosate on it. A while ago I did spray some weeds in the garden, and might have gotten too close. I’m hoping it is just spider mites.)
Otherwise, the garden is doing wonderful. The tomatoes are just starting to ripen in earnest. I’m getting the perfect amount of cucumbers and peppers for fresh eating, and gobs of eggplant that I’ll freeze for ratatouille later on. The sunflowers are taller than me, not bad for a plant that was an afterthought and didn’t get any special attention.
On a final note, big produce does not mean you are a good gardener. Usually it means you are a slow harvester. (In a movie I saw once, a man held up a giant zucchini, all impressed at the size.) This giant cucumber hid underneath the tomatoes before I found it. Surprisingly, it didn’t taste that bad.
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My garden update: everything is dead except for a few tiny basil plants.