Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

So many things have changed since I got back. Some good, some not so much. The flowers are bursting open. My backyard is filled with the scent of lily of the valley. I even cut some to bring in. I love the look of my chives right now. I swear I love the plant in bud more than when the blooms finally open. My peonies are in bud as are my lilacs. My dianthus is slowly getting more and more buds. Everything is just so pretty and green.

Yesterday you saw my pretty spinach. Well the brassicas are going like gang busters too. The photo seems a little deceiving to me. It makes things look small, but the plants on the right are cabbages and the plants in the back are Komatsuna (mustard spinach). The Komatsuna is about a foot tall. it is not a tiny little thing. It is huge. The only insect so far to find my brassicas under the row cover is the slugs. The flea beetles haven't yet found an entrance. Last year they did, so I'm guessing this year they will too, but so far so good.

The bad in the garden is the arrival of the cutworms. Last year this happened on May 8th. I was gone at the time so not sure when they started. They will get worse before they get better. You can't see a cutworm in the above photo, but if you look in the bottom right corner you will see that I'm missing a chard plant. There is a little bit of one left. The growing point wasn't cut off so it will grow back. But the cutworm systematically cut off each of the leaves and ate them. I found the little nasty worm in the soil near the base of the plant and squashed him. Over the next month I'll find more and more. Hopefully they won't cut down anything important.

I have several ugly things happening in the garden. The tomatoes from a distance don't look that ugly, but some disease has started already. You can see a little bit of it on the right most plant. It was mostly in the 60s and drizzly when I was on vacation. Tomatoes don't like that much so they aren't fighting it off well. I've clipped off a few of the most affected leaves. I hope it warms up soon.

My tomatoes that are under the row cover and in real soil are faring better, but some are still affected. The peppers that share the row cover are a bit too close to the fabric. We had some wind when I was gone and the fabric bashed against the poor pepper plants. The above photo shows one of the poor bashed plants. If you look closely you can see a leaf on the ground that was banged off the plant and the growing tip is distorted and turned.

My basil is pretty ugly too. I thought I had hardened it off sufficiently. I had it out slowly over time for a week. It looks like sunburn, but there wasn't much sun while I was gone so it is probably a reaction to the cold. Basil hates cold. Though it is ugly and will slow the plants down a bit, I really doubt this will kill the plant. If we get some warm weather the basil will perk up and outgrow its abuse.


  1. I've had problems with cutworms in my garden too. I haven't actually seen one, but their damage is not pretty! I put straws around the base of mine, so they can't wiggle their bodies around it and hurt my plants. So far, it has worked great.

  2. Copycat ;-) My ugly is uglier than your ugly, so neener-neener! I really think we are all on the same wave length. I've titled my blog (unknowingly) the same as others on more than one occasion.

    I'm battling cutworms, too. They seem to have abandoned the peas now, but my precious borage (seed from Cheryl, not Daphne LOL) is disappearing one by one.

  3. This is totally weird...I had a post titles the same thing today. Also about pests!!!! Guess we are on the same wave length today!!!

  4. DP Nguyen, I've heard of people using straws. I use sticks. This year is is old hosta flower stalks. If you look at the basil you can see two sticks on either side of the plant. I really hate collars and haven't used them in years. Sticks on either side of the plant works unless the stick gets moved for some reason. I don't protect everything, but you can bet my tomatoes and peppers are all sticked.

    Annie's Granny, oh your ugly so beats mine, but I've used the same post title before and I think that one rivals your ugliest. It was a green tomato on the ground and ripped to shreds by the evil chipmunk. I'm hoping the chipmunks can't climb up the pots.

    I'm so sad your borage is getting cut down. So far I've only found two. One in my chard. One in my carrots. I keep a sharp eye out this time of year and try to find them before they damage something good. I have a lot of self sown dill, cilantro and parsley. They love the last two and I can usually find them before they make it to my real plants.

    Dirt Princess, lol yup it is that time of the year when both sides really show themselves.

  5. My poor lima bean hates these 45-degree nights even more than my basil! But my Swiss chard looks way worse than yours---the cats sat on it! Sigh.

  6. I burn plants all the time, weather it's sun or wind burn I don't know. I am too impatient at times :-) Looks like your plants did well in your absents.

  7. The good is good the bad oh quite bad but ugly....no.
    I think your veggie pictures looks great Daphne.
    I have harvested my first asparagus for this season! They were so good.


  8. Hi Daphne, nothing ugly in this post, since you didn't show the cutworm! It all looks great. We never get to harvest spinach, it bolts every time as our heat comes so fast after things begin to finally grow. Your potato setup looks interesting, I have been trying to figure how to build up around mine. Should have made the contraption before they were planted. I want to apologize for not seeing the award sooner too, it will be placed on my awards page. Thank you.

  9. Daphne,
    It looks as though you are off to a great start. I haven't had a problem with cutworms as of yet. A couple years ago I had cabbage worms on my broccoli so bad that we didn't even want to eat them despite a very thorough washing. Are cutworms and cabbage worms the same thing?

  10. You'll think this sounds evil, but I love reading when other gardeners have little garden problems too. It makes me feel less alone. I read so many garden posts about bountiful harvests, so hearing that someone else gets mystery diseases and cutworms makes me feel better about some of the nuttiness that happens around here! Great pics though and looks like your garden will be awesome when it's in full bloom!

  11. our friend Ben, at least I don't have cats to destroy anything. My dog keeps them all away. And hopefully she will keep those wild turkeys out of the garden too.

    Dan, I was surprised by how well everything grew when I was gone. It is shocking to see all the growth at once.

    Tyra, well I didn't do as well in the ugly category as Annie's Granny but I have plenty of time ;>

    Frances, you're welcome. I've seen your awards page. It is impressive.

    Liisa, No they are different worms. Both nasty but one eats leaves above ground. The cutworm cuts the plant or leaf off and drags it underground where it feeds. That is how I find them. There is a weird cut off leaf sticking out of the ground.

    Kate and Crew, lol no I understand. Sometimes it seems like everything is going wrong. Right now I just have my normal issues. Every spring the cutworms come. Every spring the tomatoes get ill. At least I get my revenge against the cutworms and the tomatoes will most likely outgrow the problem. If I spray like last year they will have a better chance. I just haven't had the time yet.