Friday, July 31, 2009

Garden Blogger's Death Day July 2009

Clank! Bring out your dead! Clank! Bring out your dead! My tomato was seemingly dying. It wasn't the tomatoes fault, it was mine. When the sunny weather hit I didn't know yet that I needed to water the plants in pots every single day. But as I was crying over the poor thing I could hear it squeak, "I'm not dead yet," in a very plaintive voice. So I watered it. It mostly recovered. It lost a lot of leaves, but it is still growing.

Since I hadn't watered them all well enough, blossom end rot took a portion of the harvest. This is is a cruel fate. Death by gardener. It wasn't even mother nature that killed these two or the others that fell not long after and keep falling to this day.

Mother nature is taking its toll on the tomatoes though. Alice is the worst off but others are succumbing to something that is yellowing its leaves. The chronic leaf spot disease is taking its toll too. Still the tomatoes say in their little squeaky voices, "Not dead yet!"

Sadly yesterday I saw this in the garden. Is this the first sign of late blight in my tomatoes? It could well be. If so it hasn't long to live no matter what that little squeaky voice keeps saying. Nor do the rest of the tomatoes. I really hope I'm wrong. I found it on the wilted Miracle of the Market pictured above. So I may have weakened the plant just enough to make it susceptible. Will this also be death by gardener? I'll continue what I always do for my tomatoes. I'll pick of any offending parts and trash them.

My indolence got me in trouble with my chard. They are such nice plants. They pump out leaf after tasty leaf. They don't complain. They require only one thing. They require me to pick off any leaf miner eggs before they hatch. I have to do this every three days. It isn't hard or time consuming, just a little eye straining. I forgot one week. My penance was to see the miners eat the chard that is rightfully mine. Death by gardener again.

Not all the death in my garden is caused by me. Mother nature takes her toll too. When I first saw the above in my garden I wondered what could cause it. Then I remembered seeing a four lined plant bug in my garden for the first time this year. So far it makes some of the plants look a bit ugly, but it hasn't killed a plant yet. A leaf or two has gone down but the pepper is still producing just fine.

When a foul wind blew through the garden last week, it took down my dill. It was a really strong wind that blew them over. Poor things. They had such beautiful flowers. I'm not crying over them however as I have so many dill in bloom right now. Sadly the wind started blowing over my bean poles too. Some other poles caught them. I'm a little worried that the next wind may take them all down. I've got my fingers crossed.

One of the saddest sights of all was my corn. You really don't see much in this photo, but if you really look you can see why I cut it all down. Can't see it yet? Well it is what you don't see that is the telling part. The earwigs cut all the silks off the corn. Without silks the corn can't get fertilized. I figured it wasn't worth them taking up the space the beans could use if they won't set any kernels. Sigh. I've been eating corn from the farmers market. Next year I'll skip planting corn. I'll have a two sisters garden.

If you too have dead to bring out head over to Gardening Without Skills and join Kate in bringing out your dead.


  1. Wow, your tomato plants are so tall! I think corn is cursed!! We've been buying it also. For me they were either not pollinated or they were okay looking, but also inhabited by little worms. Grrr. I pretty sure I won't be growing it next year, either. I hope your tomatoes recover. Mine are looking terrible, but there still alive. I hope yours are spared.

  2. I'm sobbing for you. Corn isn't up my alley either. It's too bad, because it's the only thing the boy requests.

    Feels good to air our dirty laundry, doesn't it.

  3. Oh, Daphne! I hope it's not late blight. And the poor corn... Gardeners are gluttons for punishment. It's just that the upside is so UP we keep trying.

  4. Oh dear! Daphne you sure have had your troubles in the garden.

  5. Hey Daphne, greetings from Wyoming!

    I've sadly been plucking off tomatoes with BER. Oh.... it is so sad... What I didn't understand was that BER can be caused from "under watering!"

    Oh my goodness. I have come to the realization that I have NOT water my garden ENOUGH! I had traditional gardeners (we have clay soil here) telling me... "You're watering too much!"

    But... in actuality, I have not watered enough...


    Sorry about your corn. What about trying some diatemaceous earth for the earwigs?

  6. Oh Daphne I can't take that much death, it is like a horror movie...

    Have a great weekend - xoxo

    Greetings from Vaxholm/ Tyra

  7. I do have a number of deaths to report in my garden, but nothing to show unless I could get ahold of the stomach contents of the offending bugs, birds, bunnies and rats (got one of those). I guess I could show the stumps of the romanesco and bean seedlings. And I still have half of a hollow kohlrabi.

  8. Oh dear. It looks an awfully lots like late blight to me. Sorry about your potted tom, I hope it recovers fully, and doesn't catch the ick.

    Good Luck!

  9. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    I had some blossom end rot too. I feel like such a bad vegetable parent!

  10. BER is more, I think, from irregular watering than not enough. I had to actually KILL off some buttercups, which I posted about for GBDD, but have my fair share of fatalities, too. Enjoyed your 'parade' of dead-veg!

  11. I have lots of four lined plant bugs on my potatoes, they are full of holes. They don't seem to bothering the peppers yet. Good to hear the tomato is coming back, poor thing. I keep forgetting to water my window box and it has looked very similar a few times.

  12. OH bummer, after all your hard work and good early harvests! Seems the weather has not been kind to you in the NE this year. We got all your sun! Too much, if you ask me. My mom mentioned reading something about late blight afflicting a lot of NE gardens due to all the rain you've been having, and the cool temps. Can't fight nature too much, sometimes you just have to throw in the towel as you have with the corn. I really limit myself to a few crops that have been successful for me, I get too frustrated with the others. Gave up on peppers, zucchini, beets, carrots, melons, and a few others, and now mostly stick to herbs, snap peas, and string beans plus a few fall crops. Maybe I'll try the others again someday but there's only so much bringing out of the dead I can take! This summer might be a "maybe next year" one for you.

  13. Ohhhhh Daphne. I'm so sorry you were able to participate again. I dream of a month where every single thing is full of vim and vigor! Sorry about the tomatoes and the BER, but I'm impressed you still have tomatoes in the summer! And the corn - how sad. Although I'll admit to LOLing a bit when you said you'll have a two sisters garden next time. Nothing like a pre-emptive sister bumping! Thanks for participating in GBDD!

  14. Lzyjo, they are very tall. At least the potted ones haven't outgrown their supports yet. The Sungold grew many feet over the tops of their cages then in the first windstorm, blew over onto the peppers. I had to hack them all back. Yeah corn is cursed. I've tried growing it before. I've had limited success, but have eaten some ears out of the garden. Not often. I have to quit trying, but it is so hard.

    Ribbit, I grew it because it would be one of the few things out of my garden that my husband would eat. That and the potatoes and tomatoes once they are made into sauce. I do like to laugh at all the mistakes. Laughter always takes the pain away.

    June, sadly I think it is. I had it on my potatoes a month ago. I was doing a good job keeping any part that might grow spores off of the plants but the plants got too thick to get into at some point. I'm sure the spores are multiplying now. I probably ought to cut out the lower potato branches and get some air in there. The potatoes seem to be doing fine with blight though. They are Kennebecs and a little resistant.

    Keewee, except for the appearance of late blight, I think of the deaths as pretty normal. Something always dies. Something always lives. I just never know which ones before the fact.

    Toni. BER is caused by the lack of calcium uptake in the tomato. This can be caused by two things. Lack of calcium in the soil or the plant not being able to take it up. It won't take it up if you over or under water your plants. This year the potted tomatoes have had both problems. I've found a good solution to the problem is to feed them eggshell tea (lots crushed eggshells left in water for a day or two). I just water with the tea once a week. I haven't done it this year though. I ought to get my eggshells out again. BTW it is really smelly. I did try DE on the earwigs. It didn't seem to slow them down much. Some died. Others took their place. The place is just swarming with them this year. I've never seen them so bad before.

    Tyra, it is a black comedy really. Especially with the corn. So many things have gone wrong with it. The earwigs were the last straw.

    Michelle, I would have taken photos of stumps left in my garden, but I always forget.

    hembogle, yeah. I'm pretty sure it is. Sigh. I'm just wondering how long it will take before they are all dead. I hope they last a while. I haven't even tried a couple of the varieties.

    thedroolingvegetable, I try so hard to be a good veggie parent, but my inattentive ways get to the plants sometimes. Just wait I'm leaving for a week soon. I wonder how much will die in my absence.

    Muum, yeah, too much watering or two little will do it. I'm glad you enjoyed the death ;?

    Dan, they haven't attacked my potatoes at all. They have gotten the peppers and earlier the squash.

    Karen, the late blight was not just from the weather, though that exacerbated it a lot. The big box stores were selling infected seedlings from one nursery (in GA I think). So the infection was spread around the whole area very quickly. Between the two we really got hit. My seedlings were all grown from seed, but since the spores can travel miles and miles it doesn't really matter. The whole area is inundated with spores. I've given up on crops before too. Then I forget how terrible they are and try them again. Sometime it works and sometimes not.

    Kate, lol there is never a month when something doesn't die or at least get bug eaten like that pepper plant. No worries. I have more peppers. At least something always grows. That one sister though, she is really too much of a drama queen, with her long flowing yellow hair (that comes out of her ears, I mean really, how gross). She's been kicked off the show. The other two sisters are better performers.

  15. Thanks Daphne, I start collecting my eggshells and making a tea with them.

  16. "I feel much better" :D

    That was a miserable bunch of pictures to look at! LOL! So much gloom and death in the air.

    Blights are a pervasive and common problem in our area. Often the plant will produce a reasonable harvest before finally succombing to the disease. I tend to trim away the yellowed and affected leaves and stems and keep the plant going as long as possible to maximize potential harvest. It's important to sterilie the garden scissors after cutting into the diseased tissue. Clorox wipes work really well for that.