Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 6/24/13

I have to admit, my garden isn’t looking as pretty as I’d like. Specifically, I’m having trouble with my cucurbits and tomatoes. With all the rain we’ve had, on top of the typical Charleston humidity, I’m fighting to keep my plants alive. The tomatoes have Septoria Leaf Spot. Most of my squash and all my pumpkins were assassinated by squash borers. And my cucumbers are fighting mildew of some sort, and it’s spreading to my casaba melons. I’m harvesting good cucumbers and tomatoes, but I’m fighting to keep the plants alive.

SAD NEWS:

Well, let’s get the sad news over with. Like I said, I lost plants to squash borers – all my pumpkins and all my yellow squash. I have one spaghetti squash left and a couple of butternut squash, as well as a couple of zucchini trying to hang on. Here’s a picture of the zucchini that didn’t make it.

Dead zucchini plants ~ thanks to squash borers

Dead zucchini plants ~ thanks to squash borers

Yesterday, I pulled all the pumpkins and squash that didn’t make it. The main stem was mushy – the sign that squash borers are the culprit. <sigh> All my attempts to stave them off failed.

I’m still fighting the Septoria Leaf Spot on my tomatoes. I continually trim the affected branches, as much as I can, anyway. I’m concerned about trimming off so many branches, the plant won’t survive. The picture below is of my roma tomatoes – a hybrid variety (not an heirloom). I guess hybrids aren’t any more resistant to fungus than heirlooms.

Tomato plants with Septoria Leaf Spot

Tomato plants with Septoria Leaf Spot

GROWING:

Now for the happy news. The chard I planted this spring is now almost as big as the plant that returned from last spring’s planting.

Swiss chard

Swiss chard

My dill is producing heads now. I have two different varieties of dill. The title picture above is the large head on one of my dill plants. The picture below are the heads on my fern dill. These make great spice for pickles!

Dill heads

Dill heads

FRUITING:

Last spring, I received some free seed for “mini red heart peppers.” They didn’t grow well last year, but I planted the last of the free seed this year. They’re growing great this year. I looked up “mini red heart peppers” on the internet, but didn’t find anything. Hmm….someone nicknamed the peppers? I did find Sweetheart peppers that look like this; they’re a hybrid variety, so I couldn’t save the seed from mine – if that’s what these are. I think I’ll try saving the seed anyway and see if they germinate next year. I haven’t tasted them yet, but I’m about to. They’re turning red!

Sweetheart peppers?

Sweetheart peppers?

I’ll be picking lots of jalapenos soon.

Jalapenos

Jalapenos

My lima bean pods are plumping up. I can feel the lima beans forming inside the pod. Harvest time is coming!

Henderson lima beans

Henderson lima beans

I have a butternut squash growing. It’s vine is surviving, so we’ll see if I can get this all the way to harvest. And maybe get some more?? One can only hope.

Butternut squash

Butternut squash

Remember the white watermelon I had growing? Well, the branch of the vine it was on got pinched somehow, and it died. So, back to the drawing board on that one. At least I’m starting to see new tips growing on the vine, so flowers should follow soon. Also, no melons yet on my red watermelon or my casaba. However, I do have canteloupes, a tigger melon, and a lemon drop melon growing!

Cantaloupe 1

Cantaloupe 1

Cantaloupe 2

Cantaloupe 2

Tigger melon

Tigger melon

Lemon drop melon

Lemon drop melon

PLANTING:

Finally, I did some planting. I found a couple packages of gladioli bulbs that I never planted. The deadline for planting was June 1, but I figured I’d try it – even if it is three weeks late. We’ll see what happens. Here’s the gladioli I planted last month (I have them on both sides of my front door; this is one side.)

Gladioli

Gladioli

Well, that’s my garden this week. How does your garden grow?

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4 comments on “Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 6/24/13

  1. First beans starting to flower. Lettuce and spinach have both bolted. It’s too early for tomatoes and peppers but we have set tomatoes on our patio tomato plant. In our community garden we can’t even plant until early May so we are already behind. We have had a lot of problems this year (upstate New York) with slugs, and we are now entering a period of heavy rains and not enough heat. We fear our tomatoes will be struck by late blight, which totally ruined all our tomatoes about 3 years ago.

    • I’ve struggled with slugs, as well. This has been the wettest spring in years! We’re already 13″ ahead of normal!! I lost half my strawberries to slugs or mold. Ew. I don’t have blight on my tomatoes, but that leaf spot is awful! I’m not sure how long the plants are going to survive. 😦

  2. I fear I also have septoria leaf spot on my tomatoes (all 13 plants!), which makes me very sad, though I seemed to have been spared the ravaging effects of squash bugs and cucumber beetles this year (knock on wood).

    • Just keep trimming off the affected leaves/branches, and try an organic copper fungicide. It won’t cure it, but it can slow down its progression. My tomato plants have been trimmed so much they look like tomato topiaries! But, they’re still alive and growing.

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