Bring out your dead. Does anyone else really miss Kate from Gardening Without Skills? She created Garden Bloggers Death Day. A day to laugh at your mistakes and cry over how Mother Nature is treating you. But she hasn't posted since March. So this post is an ode to her.
I'll start with the easy things and then get into the really nasty. The first up is aphids. Oh my word do I have aphids. I have black aphids; I have green aphids. Above are my fava beans which are a sacrifice to the lady bug gods. I have found some ladies in the garden. This morning I found one right near these aphids on a leaf. It was one of the smallest lady bugs I'd seen. The other was on my chamomile and that sucker was huge. So far I haven't seen children, but I've got my fingers crossed. With zucchini I can hand pollinate, but with lady bugs all I can do to speed the process is provide a free meal.
The worst damage that the aphids have done so far is on my plum tree. If I'd noticed it earlier I could have helped it more. But the plum tree is not in the garden proper so doesn't get looked at every day. I noticed the leaves looked funny one day. Oh the poor tree. I took the hose and sprayed them down and checked the other trees. The apple tree had some too, not as much but enough that I needed to wash them off. I'll do it again in a week and every week after as long as I find a bad infestation.
Second up are my squash plants. They have some sort of fungus attacking them. I'm not sure what it is. So far no cucumber beetles, so I'm counting my blessings there. These will have to get sprayed, but the plants seem to be holding up OK.
The last is the worst. It is hard to describe how bad it is. Above is my pepper patch. It doesn't look all that bad does it? Yeah the lower leaves are all gone, but still things look green. I grew most of my peppers from seed, but I had germination issues. So I bought one six pack from Pemperton Farms down the road. Oh how I wish I hadn't. The plants looked fine. I really don't put them under a microscope since I've never ever had an issue with pepper diseases in the past. Peppers seemed safe.
Well it turns out they had bacterial spot, which whipped right through the peppers before I even noticed there was a real problem. Bacterial spot can wipe out the crop. I may or may not get any peppers this year. I'm trying to control it with two things. One keeping the peppers clean of any leaves that are infected. And two spraying with Serenade. Serenade and keeping infected leaves off is how I got a good harvest of tomatoes in 2009 when late blight went through the garden. I can only hope it works this time. Serenade is a biological. It is a bacteria that kills fungi and other bacteria. I read the list of which one it controls, but honestly I haven't a clue what bacteria it is that has infected the peppers. I speak Latin for plant names at times, but not so much for bacteria.
One of the reasons bacterial spot is not a big player is that it doesn't live long in the soil or on plant debris. It can last up to a year, but as long as you rotate your crops you should be fine. Except for one thing. The disease can be carried on seed and you can buy infected plants brought up from the South. So I won't be saving any pepper seeds this year. Which is too bad since I wanted to save quite a bit. None of the pepper plants will be put in the compost and the solanum rotation is every three years. So next year I ought to be fine. But I hope to get peppers still this year. I might not. Time will tell.