Friday, June 21, 2013

Bad News in the Garden

The first bad news was about my cabbages. I had to harvest these because of my vacation timing this year. I think they could have used more time. I had one head that was a good size, but all the others were tiny. So sad. I pulled them all out along with the turnips that were in this bed. I also had some Brussels sprouts but the seedlings just didn't do anything. I knew they would never produce so they got pulled too.

I was supposed to plant another succession of my beloved Tigers Eye bean (bush dried bean) in this vacated space. They mature fairly quickly for a dried bean so I thought they had plenty of time. I went inside to get the seed and couldn't find it. I looked everywhere. Sadly I think I'm going to have to plant something else. I've got some Jacob's Cattle beans left over from last year. I might have to plant those.

And speaking of my Tigers Eye beans, the first planting was doing so well. But we had a long stretch of rain. I went out to weed them this morning and found out that rust was getting a foothold in the plants. I get rust here often closer to fall, but this is way too early. If it spreads to my other two bean beds (or the new one I haven't planted yet), I will lose a lot of beans. So instead of weeding I went in and clipped off all the leaves I could find that showed rust (I'm sure I missed a lot). These were not composted, but trashed. The poor things looked so sad afterwards.

Then to give them a chance I sprayed them with some fish emulsion. In fact since I had the sprayer out I sprayed all the beans, my fruit trees, and my roses, melons, and sweet potatoes. As I was spraying my fruit trees I noticed a couple of trees and my plum tree in particular had some really nasty aphid infections. They looked pretty sad. The plum tree's leaves were all yellowing. Luckily most of the trees were fine. So after the others were sprayed, I added some insecticidal soap to the fish emulsion and sprayed with that.

But that wasn't all the bad news to be found. I had seeded my cucumbers twice. The first time I only got three plants where I wanted about 8-12 of them. So I had seeded again. Only one seed had come up of all of them. They are all being eaten down from something, probably sow bugs or earwigs. Though after all that rain it might even be slugs. The spring was so dry we just haven't had all that many slugs. But the are starting to reproduce now.

I was out of the Cross Country seed. So I seeded yet again with the Calypso. It means I won't be able to save seed (though the first two on one side of the bed might flower first and I could save from those if I pay enough attention at the right time). I just hope this seed comes up. I put three seeds at each spot I want a plant. I do have a few left if I have to seed yet again. But I hope the third time is the charm. I used to always do starts inside for just this reason. But I hadn't had much trouble at this house getting cucumbers to come up so I had been direct seeding. I might have to go back to the old way. Too bad. It is so much easier to direct seed.

In good news the rhubarb had to be beat back again. I made some rhubarb cookies. I liked the cookie OK, but I thought the cream cheese frosting was pretty mediocre. And today I'm making a big batch of strawberry rhubarb jam.

The snap peas are also coming in well and I've been picking. I've tried freezing them in the past and haven't been successful. So I'm trying it yet again, but I'm blanching it in small batches which can cool down faster. I really hope it works. I've frozen four cups and have one test pea that I'll defrost tomorrow. If the pea is decent I'll freeze more. If not, well the frozen peas are still good in soups, but not much else.


  1. So sorry to hear all the bad news. I know exactly how you must have felt. After discovering what the groundhog did to my cabbages and peas, I went back to bed and just curled up I was so sad. I hope your beloved beans will make it.

    I've found fruit trees to be much more challenging than vegetables. There's an organic spray you can use on them called Surround. It's a clay-based spray supposed to be effective barrier against insects, but it leaves thick white residue on leaves and fruits, so it doesn't look pretty. It washes off with water, though.

  2. How frustrating. I started my cucumbers inside really early cause I always have trouble. These are the first cucumbers I have gotten to take off in two years.

  3. I had sow bugs attack my cucumber seedlings this year. They killed one outright, and were feeding on the lower leaves of another one. It's too bad about the cabbages. The plants look great in the photo.

  4. You are just not having very good luck this year! I hope your cucumbers male it this time. So discouraging when things like this happens. Nancy

  5. And the cabbages were starting to head up so nicely! This seems to be a really bad year for insects and having to replant, I blame the strange weather.

  6. I have four hills of cantaloupe and only one seedling to show for them. It looks like something is chewing on it, so I've given up hope they will grow. I've replanted twice now, I think I'll give up and hope the one growing in a pot at least gives me a few melons to enjoy. Did you make cabbage soup? Are you planting fall cabbages for your beloved coleslaw?

    1. I'll plant some fall cabbages when I get back from vacation. And no, no cabbage soup. It has gotten hot here so now soup doesn't sound as good. I'm going to make some slaw.

  7. So sorry about your Tigers Eye beans. cucumbers and the necessity to harvest your cabbages early. I hope the first planting Tigers Eye survives the rust and provides a good harvest for you. I had problems with cucumbers last year too and replanted several times before giving up. Only one plant grew and produced only enough for fresh eating no pickles. It sucks when things don't go as planned.

  8. I have had some problems with my cucumbers too. No issues with germination, but two of my six plants have been afflicted with Sudden Death Syndrome! I pulled up the corpses and found their roots to be riddled with tiny millipedes. I'm not sure if they caused the plants to die or if they just moved in to take advantage of some rotting vegetation.

  9. We've faced some challenges with germination this spring as well. Not sure what's going on but we've had challenges with cucumbers, beets, beans and greens. Re-sowed/sowing this weekend. Fingers definitely crossed!

  10. Glad there was some good news to round off the string of not such great news. My brussel sprouts all bolted on me this year. I am going to have to pull them (sadly). I lost most of my spring spinach and a fair amount of the snap peas I planted (to rabbits and birds). Thankfully (so far) most of the other crops seem to be holding their own.