Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Garden Bloggers Death Day June 2009

Death has not had a heavy hand in my garden yet this year. He has visited. He even had tea once or at least that is my assumption. The orange mint just won't grow. Death must be picking it. All the other mints are fine and prolific like a mint should be.

Mostly Death has enjoyed taunting me, but I keep eating my fill regardless. He taunts me most with my tomato crop. Tomatoes are not the easiest crop in the world to grow here. Fungal diseases are endemic here. The flea beetles bite holes in the foliage. A week ago a nor'easter came by and broke off a myriad of stems from my caged tomatoes.

The dreaded chipmunk has tasted the first green fruit. He was just seeing if it was ready yet. It isn't, but the little snail enjoyed his castoff. He will be back. He will bring friends. I'll control him with rat traps if he starts throwing tomato eating parties in the garden. If he is just annoying, I'll annoy him back and put up bird netting around the tomatoes.

But despite the reminders that my tomatoes are mortal, this year they seem determined to beat the odds. This is a photo just a week after so many branches came off the tomatoes. You can't even tell. They want to celebrate life while they have a chance.

My basil that is planted near the tomatoes is not nearly as happy. One plant succumbed to this unknown disease. The leaves all turned black. Death visited again. The other two basil plants are alive still, but I do occasionally pick off black leaves. It is a race now between Death and my harvest. Will the others grow fast enough?

There was much death in the cucumber patch this year. The slugs would eat the seedlings down. I'd replant. This went on for some time. I'm nothing if not persistent. The seedlings seem to be growing now. Not thriving. Just growing. Slowly. In the long run this could just be death by cold weather, but maybe it will warm up and they will thrive.

Some death in the garden is anticipated. It helps me out. The garlic foliage is slowly dying. It will be picked at the end of the week. I have it under cover right now since we don't seem to get one day without rain anymore. It should be drying as it dies. Right now it is just rotting. I'm picking it a bit early this year - the end of the week. It might give me a smaller harvest, but at least I have a chance of it keeping.

I've also had bouts of premature aging in the garden. While this isn't precisely Death, it does keep those plants from my plate. The Chinese cabbage above is in bloom. Ignore the weird colors. I thought my camera was dead. It wasn't producing any red colors, but it was just a silly gardener that got the camera stuck in a setting she didn't know existed. Whoops! Not dead yet!

My corn is tasseling. It is half the height that the seed packet said it would get to. It has no ears forming that I can see. Though they seem green and healthy, I'm thinking this is premature aging again. We just had no sun and no heat. At least the cool weather is bringing a good crop of peas. If this keeps up I'll be picking peas all season long.

If you wish to join Garden Bloggers Death Day, visit Kate over at Gardening Without Skills.


  1. Death is a fullstop. So sad if it is premature.... Most will survive and carry through their legacy.

  2. Your tomato patch looks fantastic, Daphne! And I must say, that photo of the bolting Chinese cabbage is a stunner. It looks like something taken deep undersea!

  3. There are worse things than picking peas all season, she says as the last of the peas were picked here, sadly. Also lots of rain, but that is another story. Your lives seem to be outnumbering your deaths nicely. The tomatoes are especially nice. Death had a gala here when the seedlings that were too big for the greenhouse were put into the cold frame too early and got zapped with cold. What do you think about two whole packs of sunflower seeds that never germinated? Does that count as death if it was never alive?

  4. Bangchik, most will if given the chance. I hope my tomatoes beat the odds around here. They usually don't give up the ghost until sometime in September. We don't get a frost until the end of October, but they never make it that far.

    our friend Ben, thanks. I really can't figure them out. I'm happy mind you, but they are growing like crazy. I wish I knew what was making them grow like that. It certainly isn't the weather.

    Frances, sorry your peas are over.And yes there are worse things. I do love the snap peas they are so tasty. Oh wow, I forgot about all the things that just didn't germinate. My brussels sprouts didn't come up. Well one did but it didn't form any roots. It isn't a problem though I have some kale seedlings that I had no spot for them. I'm happy I have them now. They get to live. I have a bunch of sunflowers that bit the dust too. Death by squirrel, death by bird, death by lack of germination. I have one Lemon Queen left. Its lower leaves died, but it seems to be outrunning its issues. I hope it blooms.

  5. Wow! Daphne, this is a terrific post. The photos are great and your story telling skills are outstanding. I didn't know chipmunks liked green tomatoes. I have only 1 tomato plant but many, many chippies. I've been live trapping them and driving them to a nice woods about 4 miles from here.

  6. Tomato-eating parties by chipmunks? LOLOLOL. I love that. Sorry about your losses, but the garden looks GREAT! I am so jealous about your tomatoes. I'd kill for some live 'maters this time of year, but it's just next to impossible in Florida summers. Thanks for participating in GBDD!

  7. The tomatoes are looking very nice after the few set backs. I too am counting the days until I harvest the garlic. I need to plant my leeks so they may come out next week as well.

  8. At least you weren't labeled a murderer! LOL

    That verification word down below will be the death of me....some of these are impossible to decipher.

  9. Donna oh those dreaded chipmunks like the tomatoes almost ripe the best. They are more impatient than I am and can never wait for them to ripen. They try them. They say "ick not quite ripe" then go on to the next poor partially ripe tomato. At least this time he only tried one.

    Kate, I'd kill for tomatoes in the spring and the fall, but I'll never get them like you do (at least that is my assumption). Well the fall I will since I can pick all the partially ripe ones and keep them on the counter. I hope I start getting ripe tomatoes in a couple of weeks. I really can't wait for them.

    Dan, I just hope your weather is better than mine. So much rain is bad for my garlic.

    Annie's Granny, lol well I am occasionally when they get bad. Last year they got really bad. I'm hoping this year they can be deterred without Death by gardener. Oh I hate those verification letters. I've gotten better at them at least. I used to mess them up all the time. It would take me three tries to get it right.